19 March, 2009

Irresponsible advertising

Which is the most dangerous place in the world ?

Iraq ? Afghanistan ? Darfur ? Gaza ?

Wrong.

The most dangerous place (actually the second most dangerous place, but that's another story) in the world is the Indian road. About 100,000 people are killed each year. 2 million people are seriously injured. India loses 3% of GDP due to road accidents. It claims more victims than Aids, TB and malaria combined. Click here to read about this depressing state of affairs. There are more people killed on Indian roads than in the war in Iraq, than in Afghanistan, than in Darfur, than in Gaza.

Anybody who's been to India knows the complete insanity on the road. This post is not meant to address the traffic problems in India. My focus today is on an unlikely villain.

India has the largest two wheeler population in the world. More than China. India produces some excellent scooters and motorcycles. The companies that make them are professional and world class. And yet what do they do ? Remember their ads ?

Zip Zap Zoom

Traffic Cutter

There's not a single responsible two wheeler ad I have seen in India. They are all about high speed. Daring tricks. Wide eyed babes staring adoringly at the guy who's driving like a maniac. Wind in your hair, music in your ears. All that is fine provided you live to tell the tale.

Of course, these ads sell. Nobody wants to buy a bike to get from point A to Point B. They buy it for the sex appeal. Fine - but should companies be really promoting irresponsible driving. Nestle has been hounded for baby food advertising. Cigarette companies are ostracised for advertising smoking. Does it need a law to force two wheeler manufacturers to advertise responsibly ? I haven't seen a single safety ad from a two wheeler company.

Yeah OK. I am a old foggy. I am a killjoy. But at least, I am alive.

Drive safely today. And tomorrow. And for ever. Wear a helmet. Drive slowly - its not an affront to your manhood. You owe it your family. You owe it to yourself.


PS - In case you are wondering, the most dangerous place is the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can't even begin to imagine the nightmare there.

2 comments:

Athivas said...

These ads are like the mutual funds/cigarette ads, where they give a cautionary warning in the smallest font possible, placed at the unseen corners of the advertisement. Just curious to know: Is there really a censor for such kinds of ad? Are there any rules?

Ramesh said...

@athivas - Yes there is a law stating in what minimum font size these declarations have to be made (trust the babus in India to legislate on that). Every company puts in the least font size that is allowable !! We actually measure it with a scale before the pack goes out !!!