For all seasons and reasons

Sankranthi, Ugadi, Ganesh Chaturthi or Deepavali the message is Buy, Buy, Bye!

The flight is finally airborne after a considerable delay due to fog. I take up the in flight magazine as I settle down in my seat. The cover page welcomes me on board as it offers discounts on winter bookings. “Christmas and New year is the time for a happy vacation. Book now and fly to your favourite destinations,” says the smiling model as she invites travellers to make the most of the discount being offered. But I remember having seen the same advertisement earlier.

Ah, it was in June. It was the ‘monsoon offer’ then. The rains offer a different experience, according to the copywriters. They say Goa in the rains is not the same as the Goa in summer. As per the ‘summer offer’, ‘fun, sand and the waves of the Goan summer’ with the “swaying palms, the turquoise waters of the Andamans with their crystal clear shallows and schools of multicoloured tropical fishes” are a perfect getaway for city tired folk.

Undoubtedly, every place has its own attractions and maybe, even appears different according to the season. But what is striking is the manner in which it is projected by the advertisement agencies. Summer, monsoon or winter, the message is the same; just modify the wordings to suit the season. Yes, I know, that is the essence of marketing strategy – to project the known in a new light and to create a need where none exists.
Saree and jewellery sellers bank on the trusted ‘ethnic and traditional Indian’ concept. A beautiful model showcases kaleidoscopic Kanjeevarams and other silks against the background of a temple with its splendorous towers and carvings.

One can almost hear the rustle of the silks and inhale the scent of the jasmines in her well-oiled and pleated tresses. Never mind the fact that in real life, long, oiled and pleated hair is considered unfashionable! The heavy necklace, the dangling earrings and the glittering bangles add to the ‘Indianness”.

Sankranthi, Ugadi, Akshaya Tritiya, Gowri Ganesha or Deepavali, the message is the same. Buy, Buy, Bye! Again, a well designed ad campaign, appealing to the ‘Indian’!
Next, that most basic of human needs – food. A sturdy Punjabi sits on his charpoy, his tractor behind him in a dhabha as he downs his lassi after a hearty meal of aloo paratha and sarson-ka-saag, inviting you to this hotel for their Punjabi food festival.

‘Flavours of Rajasthan’ induces salivation as rural womenfolk from Jaisalmer, in their colourful dresses, hold aloft platters of savouries. Even the ubiquitous darshinis have mouth watering photographs taken by professionals of their otherwise ordinary idlis and dosas. Yes, I know it’s the packaging that is important!

Big hospitals, especially corporate-managed ones, have advertisements when a specialist joins their team or when they set up a new facility or when they procure an advanced, state-of-art medical equipment. The only thing I have not seen till now is an ad that urges “eat more of fats and sugars, smoke more, exercise less, come and experience our world class treatment!”

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