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Monday, February 4, 2008

What are you tonight?

‘What are you tonight? Strawberry? How about Mint? Vanilla? what you want to be…Sensation’. The frosty female voice murmurs in your ears while saxophone tunes play in the background. Probably it will not take a wild guess to visualize the product being advertised so much lately in TVs and also in radio channels. Your experience and expertise with the product promoted by SMC must have given you a clear hint that the ‘frosty female’ had been advertising for our very own and essential—condoms (can you read this text? Ssshhh…don’t read out loud). But I wonder, why do they stop short of saying that Sensation is a condom? In the TVCs, although the text appears as c.o.n.d.o.m. but the voice does not read it. In the radio ads as well, the saxophone keeps on setting up the mood, the voice keeps on giving hints about different flavors but none just says out loud (or soft?) and clear that it’s a condom. I wonder if blind men have sex or not…or know what Sensation is, a blind viewer or listener of the sensational Sensation ad would stop short of guessing right that the ad is for contraceptives. Does SMC has special promotional campaigns for the visually less able? Who knows. Remember the Hindi movie ‘Cheeni Kum’? Where an elderly lover (played by Amitabh Bachchan) meticulously tries to communicate through sign language to the vendor that he was looking for condoms. Perhaps if Big B and the vendor had seen the ad of our SMC, he could have simply asked for ‘Sensation’, and the experienced vendor would have handed him a pack of it, without even murmuring the name of the product, lest people around stare at them.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hahaha..its really true...and its really wonderful how you have presented the fact. well I support you in this case...I had an embarrassing story in my childhood regarding this Pad business. I could not understand what is this and why people use it. more over I asked one of my elder who is sister in law to my sister's. well she define me This is actually for girls because when girls got sick by the rolling up her guts, so she had to vomate. And I was too little that I believe her and then I just gave a winner smile and shouted infront of all the inlaws of my sister that what is that PAD means..
This happened because of blurry of advertisement as well as wrong definition. In Canada there is rules regarding this ad..that in advertisement there should be 80% facts should be true else they cannot broadcast any advertisement about their product. So if we now compare with canadian advertisement, you guys can guess what will happened. anyway..why we should taboo about these staff which is belongs to our life, sex, condom, pads, BRAs, pregnency etc. This is no crime so why we feel so shy about it. anyway hope fully Bangladesh will forward with the Openness of the Facts.
Thank you