Mar 162006

I saw an ad yesterday which really struck me dumb. It was for SBI Debit Cards. It paid a backhanded tribute to a number of hindi films. The ad looked like something out of "Do Bigha Zamin". An emaniciated BPL (Below Poverty Line) man doing a variety of heavy tasks. The film is shot in dark hues of earth – that look granulated – increasing the impression of dreariness and hopelessness. The camera follows the man as he goes about his tasks, focusing primarily on his sorry state of life. There are his phate purane chappals. There is him as he tries to drink water from a dry tap – a tribute to Jagte Raho maybe. There is him pulling a laden hand cart. There is him working as a beast of burden carrying up heavy looking sacks up a construction site – a tribute to Nirupa Roy maybe in a Deewar. And finally the camera settles on him eating – devouring some chapattis. And the tagline comes on SBI Debit card – for a cashless society. When the Ad began i honestly thought that it was for the EGS or a PSA on behalf of some NGO or the other. I was zapped when it turned out to be a banking service. I was even more appalled when it was from India’s largest Bank. I was talking about this at work this afternoon – the lack of sensitivity on the part of those who conceptualised and commissioned this when some pointed out that the man was supposed to be a former pick pocket. I missed that bit in the ad. Possibly because – a) it was not prominent, b) the visuals were so stark that i missed everything but the logo at the end. Someone somewhere has a fairly warped sense of humour that they have tried to inject in this ad. In anycase, using such stark poverty to sell a product seems stupid. I am not sure that the average viewer is going to see anything humourous in the ad. I, for one, am not going to be picking up my phone in a hurry to figure out about the service. [tags] India, SBI, Advertising [/tags]