Critique on Use of Women in Indian Television Commercials

Posted on May 7, 2010 in Media and Culture

Sanjukta Majumder:

Since the inception of television in household, advertisement has been the primary tool of manufacturers to showcase their product for fruitful consequences. The foremost role of advertisement is to run a economic and demographic survey of its target consumers, educate the section about the product and also to create new demands out of the potential demand present for the product, all of which are rendered effectively at the cost of making women, a commodity.

The heavy burden of carrying a product to make it reach its sell-able best is placed on the slender shoulders of women. Be there the need or not, every second product today is placed along with a female model in it. Whether it is a menswear or undergarment, shaving-kit : right from razors to cologne to a deo-spray, the best result of each can only be demonstrated when juxtaposed with a woman! The basic premise being men using the products are the most popular among women or women on their alluring best to seduce the fittest man, who is the person adorning the advertised products. Even electronic goods like frigde, who emphasize their ‘USP’, for instance, the freshness of fruits and vegetables that remain intact in it can only be understood when caressed by the cheek of a girl or the pulpiness and taste of a drink can be effectively portrayed only when a girl gulps it down in rain drenched clothes.

Recently a reputed cement company featured a scintillating scenario of a female lifeguard emerging from the sea in a swimsuit indicating and captioning the strength of its product. The basic question that comes in here is not morality but relevancy. How far is the above-mentioned advertisement justified? Does it somewhere not indicate perversion present in every individual? Or is it somewhere indulging voyeurism? Or more significantly are we running out of ideas and creativity?

The current circumstance remind me of a scene from the legendary film-maker Tapan Sinha’s ‘Golpo Holeo Sotti’ where the famous theatre personality RudraPrasad SenGupta admonishes the visual designer of his ad-agency with the reason that “it sells.”, when questioned about the justification of ‘lady’ wrapped in a tie, advertising the latter. Does it somewhere then refer that all our claims to be a progressive lot with each new generation is nothing but a void voice and that we are still thriving on primitive taboos?

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Nice writeup..
But i have some issues..
First, the title does not go with the content.. “Feministic Critique” has nothing to do with this issue so far as studies in Feminism go.. Its not like wherever one writes about women, it has to do with Feminism.. Feminism is more concerned with empowering of women and highlighting their exclusion than such issue of commercialization..
Next, to your question in the last sentence. I think that even though there are claims to ours being a progressive society, in practice – and when it comes to hard reality – we are still not ready to take it..

rohan gupta

the aim of any advertisement is sales and it can only be done when there’s a pleasant ambassador for the product. when we go to buy a car, our decision is largely affected by the personality of the sales person (man or woman). while the cement add you mention may be considered absurd but i dont see the problem of using women models in ads of other products.

a major reason why men use grooming products is to woo women.

the drink u refer to has a demographic of young women and hence to criticize it would be to say models should not be beautiful.

further even good looking male models are used (sometimes in their underpants, sometimes showing a nipple- SRK in the lux ad) yet the issue of objectification is considered a female problem (even if i am to concede that it is a problem).

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