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Saturday Musings: Advertising & a tale of two police forces

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Saturday Musings: Advertising & a tale of two police forces

The intention was good, but the choice of words couldn’t have been more unfortunate. One might recall the street children campaign done by Delhi Police, which had to be withdrawn last month following a lot of hue and cry about it. The copy in the print ad read: ‘Help him learn to chop an onion before someone teaches him how to chop a head’.

Child activists’ organisations, along with numerous others, took serious objections to the manner in which street children were portrayed and perceived in the ad done by Bates India.

The ad was to motivate people to donate to the Yuva Foundation of the Delhi Police, which imparts vocational training to street children to help them stand on their feet. However, the words did not quite strike the right chord. The ad was soon withdrawn after the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) raised objections to it.

In sharp contrast is the ‘Mumbai Ke Liye 1 Minute’ campaign by Ogilvy India for Mumbai Police, which comes as a breath of fresh air. The campaign, currently consisting of three TVCs, gives out the message that all it takes is one crucial minute to look around one’s surroundings to ensure one’s security and is showcased through three different situations.

One of the TVCs shows a visually impaired man in a crowded train taking the trouble to check if there is any unattended luggage through the prodding of his stick even as his fellow passengers remain oblivious. The ad strikes the right notes with its slice of real life situation and great characterisation.

Watch the TVC here...

In a city that is known for its hectic life, the value of a minute is of great significance.

The other two TVCs also seek to covey the same message through a pregnant woman in a theatre and an old lady in a library. However, they do not quite have the same impact of the train commercial, which not only strikes a chord, with its effective messaging, but also manages to bring a smile on the viewer’s face.

Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend

There are some forces impacting the way our business works. The IT/ITeS sector has changed tremendously. Platforms like Twitter have made everyone journalists. Smartphones have made everyone a photographer. The trend that we are seeing is one of hyperdigitalization, which is causing the lines between product and services to blur. For example, <a href=

The OOH sector is among the fastest growing, globally. Brands and marketers have realized its potential and impact and begun to craft medium-specific adverts. Self-regulation is not only necessary but also essential to growth of the sector. The industry needs to exercise a certain level of this self-restraint to prove its commitment to maintaining the best standards in advertising.

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