Now, those seemingly uncomfortable questions.
1. The main line in exhibit 1 is ‘The best of our relationship is…’. Which relationship does the TVC/brand want us (the audience) to believe? The real-life relationship between Kareena and Saif Ali Khan? Or the fake one played out for the TVC, between Kareena and Salman Khan? If the product’s aim is to symbolize true/real love between a couple, is it ok to use an on-screen couple faking their relationship? At least unknown models could pass off as a more authentic couple, I suppose. But they do not carry star value, of course.
2. In exhibit 2, we have a new wife and a brand new kid for Shah Rukh Khan. Is the product’s promise as hollow as this fake couple?
3. In exhibit 3, we have a doctor, who is a model. I mean, he is not a doctor, but acting like one and is even named as Dr. Kumar in the TVC. But he is just a model and not a doctor by profession. Is the brand’s promise (whatever it is) as fake as this fake doctor?
4. Why are all TVC disclaimer warnings in such small text that they are consistently unreadable in common TV sizes? Is the intention not to let us (the audience) read the warning? Or is it the assumption that we know what these warning/disclaimers are usually about and it is pointless to dedicate anymore screen size on them? Or, is it just a clever way to adhere to the law, include a disclaimer, but make it adequately unreadable?
5. Why are these disclaimers only about things that affect the life, limb or health of consumers? How about non-physical impact of these TVCs? Like the first 3 questions above – should a TVC having a fake doctor add a warning, ‘The doctor used in this TVC is a professional model and does not hold any medical degree/certification. He makes for a very handsome doctor and we strongly assume you will believe a good looking doctor’?
Or, should a TVC featuring a fake celebrity couple, acting in it like any other movie project, include a disclaimer, ‘The couple depicted in this TVC profess everlasting love only for the sake of the money we paid them. We strongly urge you to emulate only their actions without going into their real life, personal backgrounds’?
6. Advertisements that are obviously fake, funny and put-on are a bit more…well, obvious. But this is a country that votes for actors as heads of state, in the assumption that their on-screen antics are real. With such levels of gullibility, is ‘buyer beware’ alone enough? That works for the actual purchase, but what about all the obvious faking in the purchase inducing tactics adopted by brands?
7. If you go by all this, is advertising just entertainment? If people trust that entertainment and buy stuff, good enough; but if they don’t, at least we were entertained, huh?