Monday, January 5, 2009

Pears soap

There's a TV ad for Pears soap that never fails to annoy me . Shows a girl of 5 or 6 years who on waking wants to see her mom first . She makes her way through a crowded house with her hand over her eyes . Along the way she bumps into her grandmother . She opens her eyes and makes her irritation apparent in a shrill sort of way and continues walking till she finds her beautiful mother - who has just stepped out of the shower having bathed with Pears soap. She indulgently asks the daughter what the matter is . The girl replies that ' I have an exam today so I wanted you to be the first person I see because 'your face is lucky for me' .

This would not be the first ad that thrusts adult idiosyncrasies on children ( nor is it likely to be the last ). The way it is shown it looks quite innocuous . I guess it's intended to be cute . It may even appeal to mothers who may quite like the idea of being idolized by their children . Cut through the physicality of the ad - it reveals not so pleasant underlying assumptions / context for the ad to be what it is -

- this child of 5 or 6 years takes exams very seriously - the notion of success , failure , competition deeply entrenched in the mind of this child . So seriously that the kid has figured out good omens from the not-so-good 
- the relationships are utilitarian and transactional - while the child may go to the grand mother/other family members for love and caring - on the exam days everyone other than the mom is to be shunned in the morning .
- the mother is quite happy to hear of the child's viewpoint . She is not worried about the world view the child is developing nor about the disrespect it implies to other family members or even the child's lack of belief in her ability to do well in exams irrespective of whom she sees .

What kind of a household is this ?Does it matter what soap they use ?

Ads like this one are representative of a wider phenomenon of using synthetic emotions in an attempt to sell the product. Ads which are visibly fantasy type are at least honest to that extent.

1 comment:


My my!! Get your lawyers lined up. You are likely to get one call soon..