An Advertisement: A few observations
The text of the two files ,if considered together as a single piece, compels us to stamp it as an“ADVERTISEMENT” of a marketable commodity. Advertisement ,itself, is a creative genre in these postmodern days of thinking and creativity. At best, the first piece may be taken to be a literal description of the artifact while the following one is a sort of analysis where the pros and cons of its influence on the society or on the future times have been dealt with , to some extent. However, this genre of advertisement is of utmost importance in today’s consumerist world.
If the given pieces are to be marked as anything of immediate concern , the popular tags that come along immediately are as “pornographic advert” or “advert with sexual overtones.” Such terms are quite befitting as we find the women who are running from different topographical extremes have svelte, well-maintained physique with attractive sexual appeals and the man on the beach stands armed with AXE perfume to attract more such women by spraying more of the heart-smashing fragrance! If sexual excesses are not used deliberately , then why has such slogan been floated in the air: Spray more, Get more?! Is it not somewhat pornographic , tickling the horny men more with the open bait of winning quite an armful of femme fatale at one sprinkle of AXE?! Why again a horde of belles are needed with immense sexual charms if no sexual implications are aimed at? When a condom or a bra or a lingerie is advertised , for example, on Amazon.com are we not driven to feel horny on seeing the beautiful damsel covering her buxom breasts with a nicely-embroidered bra or displaying the beauty of her slim thighs on putting a hip- hugging lingerie? Hence ,the advert too can easily be porn, soft or hard, that being a separate issue. Thus , if categorically the artifact is to be judged , then it is a piece of advertisement in the first place and then it is pornographic i.e. an advert with sexual overtones.
But , in my view whatever nomenclature may be piled on the term “advertisement”, it is a creative way of presenting an object or a commodity or whatever! So I would like to call it innovative or creative advertisement. If we move a step further we will be able to see that innovative or creative adverts apply all sorts of business tricks to catch the consumer young. That is to say, there is no humming or hawing even if a salacious picture or video clipping is used in order to make a commodity attractive to the target audience. It may appear denigrating in the eye of a few thoughtful , conservative people , but to hit the bull’s eye [of consumerism] it is a weapon, a necessity, the need of the hour.
It is not applicable only in the case of consumers’ items, but , in case of emotional intents and purposes too. The novelist or for that matter any sensible litterateur may try to add an authenticity to the emotion he is trying to build up in his characters. For example, D. H. Lawrence in his much-debated novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover could find no other way of portraying Oliver Mellors’ maddening love for Lady Chatterley but expressing it in these naked terms :
“She lay quite still ,in a sort of sleep ,in a sort of dream. Then she quivered as she felt is hand groping softly ,yet with queer thwarted clumsiness among her clothing .Yet the hand knew ,too, how to unclothe her where it wanted. He drew down the thin silk sheath , slowly, carefully, right down and over her feet. Then with a quiver of exquisite pleasure he touched the warm soft body , and touched her navel for a moment in a kiss. And he had to come in to her at once , to enter the peace on earth of her soft ,quiescent body. It was the moment of pure peace for him , the entry into the body of the woman.”[Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, p-123]
Perhaps, the above quoted passage from Lawrence’s novel is a taboo to some readers as it is considered “hard porn” by them in lieu of a piece-de-resistance by him. But, if a second mature thought is spared on this issue , it comes clear that Lawrence had to create such artifact only to make the situation more lively and the characters credible and the emotions they had harbored within perfectly. Thus, is it not innovative display of an idea that needs veritable expression?
If we now consider an advertisement shown in the Indian TV the idea will be crystal clear. A man is shown to wear a particular brand of underwear [EURO] and in an instant half a dozen girls hug him from all corners and shower kisses on his broad chest. The man , at last , simpers to himself gratifyingly when even the picture of a woman on the magazine comes out from the cover-page alive o redden his chest with the final kiss. What does it imply? Get more kisses from beautiful women by putting on the particular brand of underwear?! Perhaps NO!!The manly attraction gets enhanced or his personality gets a flick of extra charm, that’s it. An innovative method of advertisement , once again.
In Singapore TV a popular show has a character who loves to braggart his love for myriads of women and his rejection of almost all of them save the woman he was talking to. This is popular method of duping the ladies, who tend to believe each word of the man as she feels pampered within.
If we veer our attention to movies, example galore will come up in support of our viewpoint. Take for example, My Fair Lady. There Audrey Hepburn had fallen head over heels in love with the Language Professor who gave her shelter in his chateau but the reciprocation needed no hugging , no display of kisses but only the comeback of Prof. Higgins to Audrey, the new woman , being enlightened under the tutelage of the Professor[based on Shaw’s Pygmalion].Thus, here the innovative method lies in diction. Not in physical gestures. But , in Titanic, the young lover does not falter to draw a nude of Kate Winslet in a semi-prostate posture. Is it not again an expression of unreasoned yet mad love?
Thus,we are sure to find similarities with the above-mentioned examples with the two pieces of given texts. In all the cases, there is a dire necessity for selling the idea, either of the program-executive [in case of adverts] or the author[in case of the novel]or the director[in case of movie] for that matter. If we look at the pejorative aspect of these presentations, then nothing substantial can emerge.
But, if we add up all of these snippets into an integral whole, no doubt, a healthy pattern may come to our view. And that is innovative creation. And thus, the beautiful women running madly after the charming fragrance of AXE or Lady Chatterley and Oliver Mellors finding the acme of happiness in physical union or Prof. Higgins finding he meaning of life at last —all lead to the same theory: catering the proposition in n innovative ,rather, daring manner. This is where lies the success of the artist, the thinker, the advertiser. If we have squint in the eye, everything will appear tilted, distorted, awry.
To conclude, it must be kept in mind that the mode of expression must be true, clear, lively. Peering the unsavory through it is the murder of Art the end of Creativity or innovation , to be precise!!
Lawrence, D.H.:1978,Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Penguin, London.
My Fair Lady:20th Century Fox, 1973.
National TV ,India.