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A nation of slogans

Last updated: 16 March, 2011
By Dinesh Kumar

So what do I do? I order a double large and gulp it to finish it by the deadline.

We are a sloganeering nation. And believe that through slogans pasted all over the walls and hung over lamp posts, the results will follow. So, slogans come in various forms and lingoes on the same subject. Don’t drink and drive, better be ‘Mr Late’ than ‘Late Mr.’ The fact is that we have one of the worst road safety scenarios in the entire world. We know by now how successful our ‘we two, ours two’ logo has turned out to be. Slogans without results create a credibility gap. I can’t even remember how many times I have run into a live electric wire hanging low between the trees minutes after reading a very wise statement. Safety saves. What else is safety supposed to do? Harm?

Same thing happens in the business world. You find a mission and values statement, hung ornamentally in the reception rooms which read: the customer is the very rationale of our business; customers first always and every time. Then customer is kept waiting for an hour after the appointed time before he is called in and then his interview is interspersed with many incoming telephone calls. We believe that by shouting on the top of our roofs, results will follow.

We get exactly the opposite results. The word speed works like adrenaline shot in the arm of the youngster and he or she goes racing. Our parks are full of these notices: ‘Obscene acts in public places are punishable by law.’ Obscene act is not explained. Is winking obscene or does a blown smooching come under that category? All I know is that right under these warnings youngsters get into ‘catch me if you can’ mode.

When slogans fail to produce results which resort to control psychology which produces exactly the opposite results to what we desire. Close the bars and restaurants is the fiat given by our police. Last drink to be served at 11.30 pm. What an idea, sirji. So what do I do? I order a double large and gulp it to finish it by the deadline severely effecting my blood alcohol levels. Without these inane limits, I would have nursed and enjoyed my drinks keeping my sanity intact.

Those amongst us who have travelled overseas will confirm that the parks are open until late at night. Here many are shut down between 10 and 4 pm. The result: With a small felicitating fee paid to the watchman (which I do by handing over a packet of biscuits or a couple of bananas for which I also get a salute), you can have entry to the park and have exclusive environment made to order.

If quality of a product or service can be achieved by slogans then all we have to do is to paste ‘build quality products’ and paste all over the place.


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