Friday, August 07, 2009

Kinley Ad: 'Vishwas kar'

We were told something about emotions manipulated in advertisements in college. These days, I am seeing more and more such ads that are targetted on unsuspecting, sentimental, rather foolish people who have a lot of money to spare.

Take the new Kinley advertisement for example. It starts off with a rucksack-totting young man in some village where little boys are having a gala time at a tubewell, bathing with absolute relish. This youth looks thirsty but unsure. Then an old man gently calls him to his shop and hands over a Kinley bottle. Problem solved, the best of human bond established. The young man holds that bottle close to his heart for the rest of the journey. Trust, motherly love perhaps and all the good things in life packaged in one bottle of water. Give me a break!

Let me tell you how trusting one bottle of Kinley won't put the problems of a huge chunk of people at rest.

In Kolkata, on my way to office, I come across at least five roadside water pipes lined with jerry cans, women waiting in queue. Forget roadside, even in my building, which is huge, the water supply is far from good. It is full of iron and the dal used to take a long time to cook even with the Aquaguard and iron-nil. I, and many others, have got a RO machine to solve the problem. Many people get a supply of those huge Bisleri jars every day or two. Some send their maids to a water pipe near the main gate to get 'sweet water'.

But, this is the easy way out, the kinds you and me can afford to take and take. What about the rest whose monthly income equals less than my restaurant bill? To supply good drinking water is the government's responsibility and it has since long washed its hands off the issue. May we assume that a huge nexus of multinational giants, RO companies and bureaucrats is working hands in glove to further the manipulative economy of clean, sweet water? Ah, that reminds me of the famous question MP Hema Malini asked in the Parliament. Read Hema Malini in soup over water purifier ad

After Aila struck, an acute crisis of potable water was highlighted by major dailies.

(Access article on e-paper Water Crisis Deepens in Sunderbans on page 4, TOI Kolkata, issue dated June 25, 2009 to view story and accompanying photos)

The fact is, and it was duly covered, that the Sunderbans had a pathetic network of drinking water facilities much before Aila struck. Women and children had to walk miles, they still have to, to get a pot full of murky water pumped out from a tubewell.

Read on e-paper Sunderbans: Island of Despair on page 3, TOI Kolkata issue dated March 17, 2009.

Move on to Murshidabad. The district faces an alarming crisis of arsenic content in water. Most of the villages rely on hand pumps to get their supply of drinking water. We saw quite some photos of boys having fun, bathing and drinking water from the hand pump in Murshidabad villages, quite similar to the scene depicted in the idealistic ad. But not all can trust (or afford) a bottle of mineral water to solve their problems.

Read e-paper article Poisoned Water: Dying on False Promises on page 2 of TOI Kolkata issue dated March 22, 2009

An expert voice to sum up this article. Sunita Narain: Bottled water costs us the earth

The article mentions how the mayor of San Fransisco banned the use of bottled water in government buildings and how the mayor of Salt Lake City asked public employees to stop supplying bottled water at official events. Narain goes on to say, 'But in India, bottled water is growing as an item of necessity: private industry is meeting the drinking water demand left increasingly unfulfilled by public utilities. In most cases, people are paying prices that they cannot afford to because they have no alternative source of clean drinking water.'

The Kinley ad, and many other such manipulative commercials first fool me into tears and then wake me up to reality. As I write this post, I wonder what my rant will achieve? But then that is what we can do best. Write our anger off, spread our indignation to more and more people and hope it boils down to something concrete. Journalism cannot propel issues beyond a certain point. But within those boundaries, perhaps it is our duty to get frustrated and spread the word, even if it may seem as mundane as ads that anger you.


feddabonn said...

@the advert: bang on. it is disgusting how advertising/marketing constantly feeds on our emotions, turning every relationship into another way to sell. we need to speak out against this, if only to tell the marketing wallahs that we are tired of constantly being sold to.

@what will this rant achieve: have you read the poem 'september 1, 1939'by w.h.auden? set in the 2nd ww. what i love about the poem is the last two stanzas. if nothing else, may our writing always be ironic points of light!

feddabonn said...

[delete this after reading please]

the title- did you miss an L in kinley?

Gauri Gharpure said...

baruk-- there was another mad ad tht went something like, 'pyas lagi hai to juice piyo' as if trying to repalce water altogether!
i read the poem and liked the lines 'me and the public know, what children learn in school...' a lot along with the last two stanzas.. thanks for pointing out the bad typo.

IndianPundit said...

Interesting post.
Yeah emotional manipulation in the advert is rightly pointed out by you.

But emotional manipulation is a part and parcel of our lives.....thats the truth.


Mumbai City said...

I saw your blog its nice video and place!

Indyeah said...

LOVE this post and the way you ahve written so very concisely and strngly about this.

Yes the KInley advertisemnt struck me as absurd in the extreme!

this emotional manipulation is disgusting to watch!

As I write this post, I wonder what my rant will achieve? But then that is what we can do best. Write our anger off, spread our indignation to more and more people and hope it boils down to something concrete. Journalism cannot propel issues beyond a certain point. But within those boundaries, perhaps it is our duty to get frustrated and spread the word, even if it may seem as mundane as ads that anger you.
it will achieve a lot Gauri..the lines ahred by feddabon say it all and I too want to say the same..

atleast the next time so many of us watch such ads we will pause and think about it..and think of your lines here...and also think of our gullibility

@Feddabon :- can I just say that those lines say all that I strongly believe in?
they are my favoutite
thank you for sharing them

feddabonn said...


@gauri: see? points of light. :)

manju said...

Yes, emotional manipulation it is.

And if people see the ad often enough they start believing that everything good is contained in the bottle of Kinley water!

Solilo said...

Emotional manipulation plays a huge part in our advts., music and movies.

It is young vs. old, rich vs. poor. And always black vs. white. It is never gray.

Sara said...

I agree that the ad uses emotional manipulation, but the success of an ad is to strike a chord with the audience and to make them remember the product advertised.On that grounds,this ad is brilliant.Ads are never honest-did Shahrukh Khan/Juhi Chawla ever touch Lux soap?
At least this ad is not dishonest.
And Gauri,I share your concern 100%,providing clean water is the responsibility of the government and they shrug it off like many others!

mesjay said...

@Unfair emotional manupulation and us majority ready, no, dying to be hoodwinked. The book Q&A (Slumdog) mentions how tap water is sold as 'mineral water' at stations.

Cilantro said...

I have not seen the Ad, I agree providing drinking water to the people is the Governments responsibility. But there is scarcity of water in major metros and the population is to be blamed. In India, population is the root cause for all the problems we face. BTW drinking bottled water has become a fashion.

Gauri Gharpure said...

Indian Pundit, Mumbai City..-- thanks

Indyeah-- Thanks! your (and baruk's) special reference to the last para has touched me..

the word gullible that you have used is bang on.

as an advert, the ad is quite good, you know. i was talking abt it with M and he said such ads, based on a peg that seems completely way off from talks of quality, price, etc (here the peg is trust) can only be attempted by a product that has reached its mature level. and i thought, the product has reached its mature level here so thoroughly becuase may be we are not making enough noise to get safe water for free, right from our taps..

Solilo-- quite true, most of these insurance ads bank heavily on emotions like pride, love for old parents, concern for kids, etc.. and even before you know, you start recognising a certain product for the message it shows on tv..

Sara-- Completely agree, as a standalone ad, it is great work. as I wrote in reply to Indyeah's comment above, seems the kind of ad of a product tht has its huge, certain share in the market, has reached a certain maturity. the ad also has a very high recall value, as you have pointed out. but honest, i am really not sure.

even I was taken into the emo bit myself for a nano-moment. But then, the presence of the bottle at each single place, the finish of a race, during the mother-son meet, at a dharna, etc irked me..

i am curious if using an emotion as trust as a metaphor can be justified ethically/professionally.. for then, nothing can be so foolproof to guarantee complete trust

i will formulate my irritation and arguments in a much more in-depth form when the time permits..

Mesjay-- yes, even i thought of the entire parallel industry of refilling used many times we have paid for a Kinley, or Bisleri, or Aquafina, only to find a strange, unmineral-water like taste..

Cilantro-- to see the ad, pl. see the youtube video i have attached with the post. yes, population is an issue that affects almost all other problems, be it pollution, education, etc.

Fictitioustruth said...

Gauri for a change, would choose to disagree. Yes there is a manipulative ad, working on your fears, emotions, but in the end fact is product is addressing our need.
Every business is based on a need or rather lack of something. In this case lack of clean water. We do need clean water, i doubt there is any argument about that. Now government has not provided clean water, and they have failed in many other areas also, to take a random example education. Can you compare government schools with those fancy private schools. We have no qualms sending our kids to such schools, why because we want to offer our kids the best. No compromise there. But do not forget those schools are also brands. Just like Kinley. And those also fulfill a need or lack of something. Education is just one random example.
Just as in education someone not trusting that and trusting a private brand, similarly in water there are many who want clean water for themselves unconcerned about the masses. And in current scheme of things they have a right to drink water and kinley have a right to sell clean water. When the larger trust has failed, kinley delivers something. honestly. and they give a choice not to buy and drink the water given by the chosen government.

And we humans can learn a lot from the effort, time and money brands put in delivering consistency. Consistency everytime. anywhere.

such sentiments would be stronger if display consistent behaviour.

Just a parting thought, if you boil the water that comes from your tap, there are millions who do not even have that luxury.

indianhomemaker said...

The ad had annoyed me too. I feel exactly the same, and maybe many others do too. Just now I wrote the same thought in response to Piper's comment on my blog... what I wanted to say you have conveyed so much better!
Loved these words, they touched a chord because that's exactly why I blog too... "Write our anger off, spread our indignation to more and more people and hope it boils down to something concrete. Journalism cannot propel issues beyond a certain point. But within those boundaries, perhaps it is our duty to get frustrated and spread the word, even if it may seem as mundane as ads that anger you"

Gauri Gharpure said...

Truefiction-- I nowhere doubt that the ad, as a product in itself, is good. it is a brilliant piece and i have said that in my replies here.

the rouse is the state of affairs in which such an ad can find mass appeal-- lack of basic facilities..

while kinley may not be directly held responsible, i feel there's a huge nexus of big brands and govt. agencies to allow lack of basic facilities so that business giants can prosper- be it drinking water, education, transport facilities..

i loved the point about consistency that you have made. taken..

IHM-- thanks! :)

Darshan Chande said...

Good post. At first looking at the title I thought you liked this ad and have written in favor of it. But I am delighted after reading it. I share the same view. It's a misery that a commodity as common and freely available in the nature is selling in the market and we are so unfortunate that sometime we have no choice but to buy it -- thanks to non-availability of pure water!

Some years back I had seen a mineral water bottle lying on the street. The label read: Now 25% extra, FREE! How ironic it is! Free!! I still can't forget that bottle.

Gauri Gharpure said...

Darshan-- your comment made me google (the two links are given below) when packaged drinking water made its way in india. though i didn't get the exact dates, i got to know tht Bisleri (then under the Parle company)was the pioneer.

your sentiments, about a 'free' thing being 'sold' was the initial reaction of many a people then. i guess till the 90s, the idea of buying water was alien. huge milton jars filled with water were taken on train journeys. slowly, mineral water, so widely available, replaced this so-called 'tedious practice'.,,70_a_a/index.html?_sort_by=default