Some flash back. 1996. End of SSC Exams. 10 school boys in uniform. One rent-a-car microbus. ‘Dhaka shohor chokkor’. To celebrate the end of ‘torturous’ SSC exam and to experience the transition from boyhood to manhood (or shall we say from boyhood to older boyhood?), we searched to do something exciting. One of our dare-devil friends proposed to perform an audacious stunt. He walked straight into a pharmacy in Mohakhali and asked for a pack of condoms. We eagerly waited inside the microbus and occasionally peeped out of the window to witness the antics of our adventurous dosto. We could see an embarrassed customer (our small short friend in school uniform) waiting with a straight face and an equally embarrassed vendor wrapping up the ‘tabooed’ item inside brown papers. There came out our buddy with a smile of a winner on his face and trophy in his hand. We realized later that probably it was not a good idea to go out buying such ‘nishiddho’ items in school uniforms. But how much do we realize now that although we have replaced our school uniforms with office-wears, suits and boots, how much change has actually taken place in our perception towards contraceptives, their usage and their advertising in media?
Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain much regarding this. Our advertising has come of age. Remember the evergreen ads of white pads being tested with blue liquids and how it enables a bubbly girl overcome (mostly all) obstacles in life? I had a tough time initially linking this innocent ad with female classmates who almost always used to be absent for 3-4 days every month. Thanks to informal education, peer learning, indirect knowledge sessions etc. now I know pretty well the ins and outs of the message of those ads. Then there are the birth control pill ads. Happy smiling family and the narrator clearly says that it is a ‘birth control pill…sholpo matrar’. So there is no doubt that our media has been maturing by the day (or are they really?) in matters of raising awareness about sensitive issues such as AIDS, safe sex, birth control, female hygiene etc. Just a small contrast with that sensational ad of Sensation…probably SMC wants us to buy and use and experience ‘Sensation’ (feeling) rather than experiencing only a piece of rubber. How thoughtful of SMC (?!). Its also very ‘fruitful’ of them to show artistic (!) representation of a woman embracing a strawberry, mint, vanilla etc. on the packaging of their product. Remember some foreign ads of Kamasutra condoms…two real human beings, steamy encounter, broken glasses, clothes in disarray….excitement…and here comes KS. Quite a graduation from the ‘two roses hitting each other’ to a straight forward ‘action-oriented’ condom ad. Comparing to that, we are at the stage whereby using graphics women embracing big strawberries and mints. Not bad, future is bright and full of flavors it seems.
Well, enough of blogging here I guess. Let me get back and figure out what I am going to be tonight…strawberry, mint, vanilla, aam, jaam, kathal, kola…lets see.