The wondrous world of 'badvertising'

If you decide to turn on the TV, be prepared to sit through the mind-numbingly ridiculous ads...

Sana Adnan October 08, 2011
You have just come home from a stressful day of work and decide to unwind by sitting in front of the TV and indulging in some me-time. Just when you find a show that seems to strike your fancy, the channel decides you subject you to a commercial break. You let our an exasperated groan, and the torturous attacks on your nervous system begins.

From shaking their booties to annoying jingles (remember 09-00-78601?) to cheesy plots - Pakistani ads have it all. The most aggravating part is that every channel decides to take their commercial breaks at the same time. There is no respite and no way to escape. You have to suffer the agony of sitting through the mind-numbingly ridiculous ads.

While print and radio advertisements are less painful the ones that run on TV are pure torture. While I do not have a count yet of how many things I  hate about the multitude of commercials running on the idiot box, here are my top 5.


Their big claim is that they get the toughest of stains out of the garment. Well, excuse me for being so bold, but isn't this exactly why they are called detergents?

A ‘different concept’ was recently brought in by a local brand of washing powder showing Shaan and Noor as a couple where the husband hands over a packet of washing powder to her wife in a moment of intimacy they shared. A writer at a major marketing oriented blog gave a thumbs up to the ad for its emotional appeal. You call that emotional appeal? If my husband ever presents me with a packet of washing powder during a romantic moment, I wouldl curtly ask him spend the night on the living room couch.

Cooking oil

These guarantee you a cholesterol-free healthy life – and miraculously, that after eating biryani, parathas, deep fried chicken and french fries. These ads become an even greater torture during the month of Ramazan when Amir Liaquat takes an oath that he will only sell his cooking oil before Iftaar. The only good thing about them is the inner guilt I can easily get rid of after munching on delicious burgers while I am on a diet. After all, they are prepared using the healthy, low calorie, cholesterol-free cooking oil.

Cell phone connection

These guys do not need a concept at all; just rip, rape and ridicule the competitors' version, and consider it a job well-done. However, if I have to choose between their old dance-and-sell ads and the ones currently running, I would definitely prefer the current ones.

Warning: the moment you notice fine pint on your screen which will vanish in a matter of seconds, know that they are lying about the rates they claim they are offering.

Fairness cream

These are wildly popular even a decade after the world has entered the 21st century. God knows what makes advertisers think that only beautiful (read: fair-skinned) girls make it to their dream jobs. Fairness creams are hardly good enough to get one qualified for therishtaa brigade’, let alone a dream job.

 Real estate 

I only discover at the very end of these long ads, that they were actually trying to sell some property. The ad begins with a groom in an awful looking sherwaani who enters the bedroom on the wedding night. Lets not to forget, the sleazy jingle running in the background that is ripped off from some Bollywood song. The bride, in an even more awful looking dress is waiting with a coy smile. This marks the beginning of the family. In the next sequence, the couple is seen eating meals with four kids (proving family planning ads are equally ineffective), when the wife requests her husband:
Hamein bhi Rizwaana Apartments mein apna ghar dilaadein na!”

“Please buy us our own house in Rizwaana Apartments!”

And there you have it; this series of events is supposed to convince you to spend millions of rupees. To be very honest, my 3-year-old cousin's plea for a lollipop is far more convincing.

Like I said, these are only my 5 top picks amongst some greatest wonders in the world of advertising. Unable to tolerate the short commercial break, which in reality is longer than the program itself, you decide to focus on your healthy, low calorie, chicken burger, served with french fries, prepared in cholesterol-free cooking oil. The delicious burger is just about to come close to your mouth when your eye catches the screen;  a camera is capturing images from deep inside of a stained commode.

Sigh- welcome to the toilet bowl cleaner ad.
Sana Adnan The author is a business graduate and a mother who teaches economics and loves to write. She tweets at @sanarites (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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