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Is This Not Racism ? June 17, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in advertisement, Advertising, Blogging, Business, Celebrity Endorsement, Commerce, Culture, Economy, india, Ponds Skin White, Racism, Writing.
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Turn on the channels and what do you see. Advertisements. For that matter, look around and there they are – on hoardings, magazines, shops, windows. They catch your eye because of humorous reasons.

Some because they are funny. Like the Mirinda ‘Paagalpanti Bhi Zaroori Hai’. The recent one at the mandap, Indian father and daughter getting emotional at the bidai of the daughter and then viola the daughter scaring the father with an attack / gesture to his knees which makes him jump.

As kids we used to do that a lot to scare people. It instantly brings a smile to your face.

Welcome to Ad Novellas – commercials that tell a story – chapter by chapter.

Welcome to Ponds White Beauty Range.

This one is doing heavy rotation. One featuring 2 superstars of Indian cinema Saif Ali Khan and Priyanka Chopra also featuring Neha Dhupia.

Some time back a teaser started to air which looked like a teaser for an upcoming film Kabhi Kabhi Pyar Main without revealing the association with the product. Very interesting people would say and wait for the big reveal. Then the reveal happened.

Saif and Priyanka looking appropriately sad, romantic and heart-broken part ways. The diptych locket is halved and Priyanka comes face to face with a shop-window and its beautiful products – Ponds White Beauty Range

I don’t even want to go beyond. Most would have guessed.

Here is an international beauty pageant winner – apparently a woman who should set up an example for the woman of her generation – that’s what they profess in all the their interviews, being bought over by an MNC (Unilever India) to endorse a skin cream that will make you white – which is the accepted color of success in all spheres (personal, professional – remember Rakesh Roshan, in another such socially meaningful, discovering the commentator ad?).

Saif too has been paid millions for this ad I am sure and everybody loves millions.

Pullela Gopichnd too was offered millios after he won the All England Badminton championships. By both Pepsi and Coke. He refused. Saying both the drinks were health hazards. He had knee injuries and some would say his career ended prematurely. He runs an academy in Hyderabad without any huge sponsorships.

There are other creams for men now which assault you day and night. Is this not Racism? Is this insidious celebration of all things white not indoctrination, conditioning of young minds by MNC’s using successful people to sell their products? Is it less harmful than Shah Rukh smoking on screen? Is it any less regressive than the soaps that Ekta dishes out to the Indian audience daily and whom we criticize endlessly?



1. gudus - June 17, 2008

but we are racist. probably more than any other country in the world today. any doubts?

2. astralwicks - June 17, 2008

no. no doubts guru. its all around us. its a shame. and we don’t learn. we don’t care.

3. gudus - June 17, 2008

I hope we care, and learn and some time in the process of evolution we do change.

4. V - June 18, 2008

ya its very sad… a person like priyanka chopra doing an ad like this; but i dont give much credit to her… look at her in any film and she is trying to look white… in krish she looked white washed… i guess she is blind or something…

yes we are racist; when i was a kid my mother’s friend thought that i’m the maid servant of the house becoz i’m dark skinned…

very shameful… and these people talk of ethics and morals… its rubbish… i think they will do anything if the right amount of money is offered…

5. astralwicks - June 18, 2008

tall, thin, convent educated,father government servant and WE we are servants of the color WHITE.

6. gudus - June 18, 2008

matrimonial ads are such a clear reflection of our society.

7. beylee - June 18, 2008

yeah we are racists tho specifically speaking, our attitude is one of subservience to the color white.. maybe coz for the last few thousand years, fairer skinned people from the west came, pillaged, raped, owned and enslaved; while we surrendered nearly always. maybe its some kinda profound conditioning where in we associate fair skin with superior faculties; Our racism is unique in that it rejects its own. Strange bloody country..

8. astralwicks - June 18, 2008

will any interviewer ask them why they endorse such products – don’t they believe that it is wrong and harmful? why play cloak and dagger games – all socially conscious in front of cameras and then wham servility to the corporations. or it is an ideology of convenience a la aamir who sits in solidarity with the NBA activists and goes ahead and endorses coke.

9. gudus - June 18, 2008

what a difference it can make, if celebrities actually show some spine

10. V - June 18, 2008

they never will…

@ astral
i really think amir was stupid… perhaps he did not understand or know what narmada bachao andolan is about… or was reeling under the effect of rang de basanti…

11. astralwicks - June 20, 2008

@ v i think a bit of both. @gudus the one’s who show spine, sohw more than that – guns and violence. stupid.

12. anna - June 22, 2008

racist and of questionable morality. saw an ugly hoarding of the same ad on my way to the airport last nite. and it struck me then, not only are we saying fair is good, but also, that all is fair. are we also advocating cheating on your spouse? it’s fair as long as she’s fair.

13. astralwicks - June 22, 2008

@good point anna cheating on your spouse…especially if she is not fair. unfortunately there are no protests. nobody even writes or discusses. we are all in the loop to hell.

14. Jazz - June 26, 2008

Exactly, never expected a Miss India to do that.. I mean how they endlessly blabber diplomatically about how proud are they are of being “indian” and now how they deny the fact that indians are “brown”… And wow… A woman who’s said to be the representative of “Indian” beauty – Aishwarya Rai hardly looks Indian..And not that she cant help it.. She makes constant efforts to look White and behave british or whatever… Even at Cannes, she wants to just be part of the crowd by wearing those cleavage-showing gowns … how she sported a fake accent at the David Letterman show , disgusting!

15. astralwicks - June 26, 2008

@jazz welcome, thanks for commenting. Yes, its ridiclously shameful. Most of them do Hindi films and talk in an Oxbridge accent. No wonder our films are pathetic, without any roots because we are ashamed of who we are, where we come from and what our history has been. We are in apparently and of course we don’t want to be out. I am sure she speaks with Tulu with an accent. White is Right.

16. fruitymind - July 11, 2008

I have written on the same lines of ethics… quoting both Shahrukh and Pullela..Here it is http://mindflirting.wordpress.com/2008/06/13/ethics/

Please read and do share your views…
Good you shared about Priyanka Chopra’s stint with a fairness product of all things- O lord…Anyways for me she was never a Ms india/World..her winning was a lucky streak..her answer was a big joke!!!
She is as dumb as a hindi film heroine can be….Its not her fault!

Good share…thanks for remembering a legend like Pullela..

17. astralwicks - July 11, 2008

thanks @fruity and i appreciate your self-criticism in your blog. many had asserted then that it was a part of the consmetic industry conspiracy…it is a marketing device to push beauty products in countries that are just discovering their spending potential…support them while winning and use them later to push your products…how well they have learned their MBA lessons

very few know pullela but ya he has spine

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