All's not fair

All's not fair

There was a time when advertisements showed that it was cool to be deceptive.

There’s something about advertisements that has always intrigued me. Or baffled me, as some of them have. Personally, and more specifically to the point here, some of these ads really push the boundaries of creativity and the supposed freedom that comes with it. All’s fair with an ad?

Creating a need for a particular product or brand or service is an idea that makes things sell. This is especially true of beauty products. There are those that declare that aging begins at the ripe old age of 25. By the time you’re 30, you’re a dithering old woman who absolutely needs to smoothen out the all too visible and painfully obvious unflattering wrinkles. Because if you don’t, the all-important significant other is going to find himself other means of amusement. Never mind that he never needs anti-aging products. Men don’t age. It’s a proven fact.

Then there are the fairness creams. One cream takes care of all fairness needs. Within days of use. Or was it hours? In any case, a fairness cream is the ultimate solution to a range of staggering dilemmas. Like getting a job. Or becoming popular. Never mind that the models used for these fairness cream advertisements are half European. It’s the thought that counts.

And the shampoo ads? Models and actresses toss their impossibly gleaming tresses in multi-coloured bliss. These shampoos are phenomenal. They can stop everything from hair fall to an all-out war with dandruff.

There’s nothing the omnipotent shampoo cannot do. It makes your hair shiny and straight and curly and long and thick and black and brown all at once. More than once have I been tempted to try these wondrous elixirs for the hair. Needless to say, I hate the resultant insta – frizz.

On a serious note, many of these representations of what could be if a certain product is used can be slightly…misleading, for want of a better word. A soap that claims to make skin soft and smooth like butter rarely does that. It’s more likely to take off a layer of skin and leave the user scrambling for lotion. Using a fairness cream or an anti-aging serum for the sake of capturing attention is feeding off a poor victim’s insecurities. Or they create insecurities. The glistening, silken hair of television is mythical, rarely can a shampoo do as much as its advertisement claims. Adding hair sprays and various other concoctions to the hair may replicate the TV effect. No thanks to the shampoo alone there.

There was a time when advertisements showed that it was cool to be deceptive. Especially to people that trusted you. The use of hyperbole is immensely effective. The trouble here is, sometimes, hyperbole is mixed with a range of other ideas and visuals that attempt to sway public opinion. Creating a need for something is not bad. Creating insecurity, surreptitiously leading one to believe one must dramatically change or remain ‘uncool’, however, is.