Shameless advertisers

There are some wonderful advantages of living in a democracy. But since all systems developed by us display our own weaknesses as much as our strengths, democracy is no exception. I am talking about the freedom of expression without the responsibility of consequences especially when it comes to advertising strategies. The current trend by the advertising community to promote different brands of two-wheelers based primarily on slick images of rashly driven vehicles must be moderated before more of our kids suffer in road fatalities.

Where is Prasar Bharti when the only criterion for two-wheeler advertisements on television seems to be speed and stunts? Nearly every brand of motorcycles being advertised seems to bombard young impressionable minds with images of drooling women ogling at the speed and acceleration of these bikes. Never mind the alarming rise in road fatalities in India, especially by kids and young men rashly driving two-wheelers.

By some estimates, India tops the list of road fatalities in the world. 80,000 lives are lost each year with over 1,30,000 people being crippled for life. Majority of these fatalities involve two-wheelers driven rashly by young people. According to Loss Prevention Association of India, a two-wheeler rider is five times more prone to an accident than someone in a four-wheeler. Can we ignore these figures? I think one of the undeniable components of the causes of these accidents is the immature and irresponsible advertising being done to promote these guillotines with wheels.

Almost every advertisement for motorbikes displays total disregard for road and personal safety. The imbecilic rash riders are shown as icons of youth and popularity. The women shown in these advertisements drool enough at these icons to start a flood and promote an image of men that make Conan look like Einstein. Brainless brawn with a mania for speed and recklessness. Isn’t there another way to promote these bikes than to aid in the death or maiming of its owners?

And what about the helpless pedestrians? Its not ok for these kids to kill themselves let alone the poor people who share the road with them or just happen to be walking on the sidewalk at the time. Yet the subliminal bombarding continues. The government seems indifferent to the plight of those left behind, usually the parents. The advertisers should be held accountable for the nature of their promotions and the implications it may have on the minds of the young. Even without government intervention, there should be enough social responsibility by the manufacturers of these bikes so that they promote road safety through their products and not make them instruments of suicides for our youth.

Democracy does not mean irresponsibility if no one is pointing out the obvious. It is implied in democracy that individuals will not harm another or cause another to come to harm. Democracy is not the freedom to take life. It is not the freedom to cause another to lose his life or limb through self-indulgences of gratification and monetary profit. Where is this fundamental principle in today’s advertising? Have we become a nation where the products must be sold no matter what and the rise in profit margins become more important than the lives of buyers. How difficult would it be to try and sell these bikes by promoting road safety and responsible driving? A responsible customer for forty years is always better than a irresponsible customer dead in a year.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.