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Wednesday, September 20

Inhuman Billboards

Today was not the first time that I had noticed them - the men squatting/standing on the sides of streets sporting hand held cloth/ vinyl banners. In the past they have launched newspaper brands and waged mobile wars in the city. Today, it was for a car brand.

Often they are smartly dressed under-paid teenagers with brightly coloured caps. Today, they were the Dharavi poor. Perhaps, it was a quick job with impossible deadline for the agency. For a petty sum of money, these bill-boards would stand still under the hot sun and high humidity.

Their unshaven face, hungry looks, and near bed-raggled clothes were in stark contrast to the bright artwork of the banner. The logo was big and clear. The brand is among India's most admired ones. That's what the JD Power study had shown. The message/ copy was readable from inside the air-conditioned car!

Something was very amiss. It was this 'inhuman bill-board'.
Like life in Mumbai, it had two faces. The shining and the dark.
One riding on the other. Blissfully unconcerned. Long live the brand!

4 comments:

Jigs said...

Hey Manish, i see them almost every week near Mahim Causeway and hv thought about the exact same point which ur talking about, a lotta times. But then this is what i tell myself.

From a marketer's p.o.v, it's not a bad investment, the humanitarian angle not withstanding, cos this medium attracts eyeballs. And from the view point of the youth who hv been employed to stand there in shifts, i think it's quick money which they could use it to grab a bite of their dream Mac and take one for their mom too. Better than the guys who beg any day, I convince myself.

What's right, what isn't? Still wondering.

Manish said...

i know what you mean jigs! but it's demeaning to those who are doing it out of desperation. They are akin to the Calcutta hand rickshaw pullers. sometimes being aware is enough. maybe awareness spreads at a psychic level and some good happens... cheers

meraj said...

new ramblings, some from the heart (as this particular one)and some from the mind. am enjoying catching up on the 'rants'.

this stoicism is absolutely expected from these money-making machines. yeah...i am beginning to sound like a friend of 'karl da' but i guess i'm designed that way. in fact, going through your rants, one will start to have the same ideas about you too. am glad we dont have a McCarthy here.

a very well written piece, straight from the heart!

dharmendra said...

I feel that from the brand perspective the association of inappropriate media ( the kids who are holding the message become part of the media ) is also a cause of concern.