Freedom to Watch:
‘Freedom’ is a word which is associated with various situations, e.g. Freedom of speech, freedom to write, freedom of expression etc. etc. but here I am going to defend a new type of freedom, which I will call “Freedom to watch”
Who am I?
It is my right to see, what I want to see & what I want to watch. But before going in any debate it is important to define who I am?
I am a common Muslim Pakistani, but I am not a hard line Muslim, my approach is moderate, yes I see multiple TV channels & get education according to the current market needs. But my life style is based on family values, where I have to live with certain define & undefined boundaries. My interest revolves around my family, my society, circle of mine friends & my religion.
The values of my family & society teach me that I have to keep certain level of relationships with my parents, brothers, sisters & other family members. I am morally not allowed to certain activities in presence of all above mentioned relationships.
I should be very careful about my tone & language when ever I involved in any discussion. The overall atmosphere of my family is extremely friendly based on confidence & respect to each others.
My society & parents also give me a guideline when ever I chose my friends to whom I am little bit more open.
But the truth is that all these boundaries & limitations developed my personality which is more productive for the society.
My Life, My right, My Choice:
I should also be careful in choosing television programs & channels. Undefined values & moral boundaries of my family & society, established certain parameters in watching various TV programs.
Yes, it’s my life, it’s my choice, it’s my right, it’s my freedom to decide what I want to see & what I don’t want to see.
I love my culture, my values, my traditions, my norms & above all my religion. I belong to whatever socio economic class, being a Muslim & being living in a thickly Muslim populated country, I expect others to respect my beliefs & directions of all mighty Allah.
I believe on my friends who belong to the advertising & brand world that they are more genius than me & can understand the true dynamics & basic integration of the society.
Engro Chemicals to Engro Food:
Engro Chemicals, which has fertilizer business recently moves towards business diversification & launched its Consumer division with the name of Engro Foods.
In the initial stage they launched Oliper milk and then cream & now they launched Olwell is High calcium Low milk category Milk which is targeted to the upper segment which believe in consuming Low fat milk. The target audience for such milk is always different then the normal milk consuming segment.
Olper has tainted its all guns towards Nestle and its market share. it is carefully planning its every launch against Nestle premium category's but actual sales suggests that Nestle is way way ahead in terms of its sales and revenues. But in any circumstances Engro food would continue to thereat Nestle premium brands in near future. First its was Olper against milkpak then it was Cream against nestle cream and latest is Olwell against Nesvita.
The TV commercial of Olwell:
In that TVC which is based on Western life style, Engro foods brand management showed a man who put off his clothes & remain just in his inner garments or you can say in his undergarments, or half nude lady in a cat walk or men admiring the figures of a lady in mix gender health club.
In this (pg 18) ad they are creating association with the brand through the stripes, which is a highlight of Ollwell packaging. Half naked studs and chicks have been shown with tattoos of the same stripes in order to show that they are loyal consumers of Ollwell. Also, the talent, situations and locations connects well with the ad to give Ollwell a premium positioning.
The brilliant marketing people of Engro Foods failed to analyze is the Market, which is Pakistan, where practicing Muslims reside, who have strong religious beliefs. I think all they were focused on, is to make an ad that should give the brand a most premium look and feel amongst the target consumers but on the other hand they were least bothered about the ethics, religious beliefs and cultural values.
In short the ad. is perfect from aspect but it is definitely not for the Pakistani Market, I mean I would be having no complains if would be watching this campaign in some foreign non Muslim country or from any foreign based channel.
My family boundaries:
The marketers & advertising agencies should realize that in Pakistan overwhelming majority of ladies take dopatta / chadar / or Hijab. In presence of these family members, I can’t see this add.
In our society males members of the family can never come or live in homes in their undergarments in-front of their parents or sisters & Engro people are showing a man in his bedroom, where he is trying to be get rid of his clothes (just like west).
Advise of my liberal minded friend:
When I expressed my above mentioned feelings about Olwell TVC in an internet forum one of my liberal minded friend (Tariq Ziad Khan) advised me in following words ,
“What is sad is that every time someone does so in the Pakistani context it seems hat we jump the gun, be our usual judgmental self and start screaming on the Virtues of kurta, duppatta and the hereafter. What we need to do is once and for all have a healthy discussion on what constitutes Pakistan's culture and by what definition do we decide on our cultural leanings. Breaking the clutter is part and parcel of advertising
The fact is that we should see the ad for what it is... an ad. For people like you, I would say that you have a TV remote so shut it off the next time it comes and save yourself and the family from Vulgarity.”
He also added that,
“The fact is that in Pakistan, we have a society that has huge disparity in all conceivable measures of lifestyle and income levels, and as much as we may deny, an increasing number of people do sit in their innerwear (even less) in the privacy of their bedrooms, do carouse around in western wear and do aerobics in mixed gender sessions and even if it is 2% of the population that makes them a sizeable 3 million odd people, which is definitely a viable target audience for any packaged milk.”
He supported Engro foods & appreciated them,
“As far as I am concerned, more power to Engro, while the jury is still out on whether the approach will work for their brand but at least they score marks in my books for trying to do something with some semblance of difference in what we all constantly complain is a dead advertising scene”
On Tariq’s opinion the reaction was very strong amongst the group. Here I am quoting few of them.
Henna reacted in following words,
“The first time I saw this ad, I was sitting with my grand parents... and well the remote was in my bro hands who was bizzi in talking and I felt like awwwe --change the channel maaaan--. I thought at this moment he is logged on Star Plus or some other western/ indian channel. But well nooo at the end it revealed Olwell, another from Olpers.
The ad definitely imparts its message through the creative execution but well all could be done very well by not showing the semi nude men and women on screen.
Tariq, you are very right that many people sit in their room in whatever shape...but well thats their own business. But, that should not be shown openly on any TVC or on any billboard. We do are an Islamic country, and well if the ad people eyes at hitting the jack-pot, there are several ways of doing it... we have a list of awesome commercials lined up...and well most recent Ufone, Warid and MCB are brilliantly done.”
Henna Arshad also outright rejected the idea that HCLF milk is only for premium class,
Consumers of Pakistan have lot grown-up --esp in urban areas--, they do use diet drinks and skimmed milk...and with the penetration of early osteoporosis I know many users of Nestle's Nesvita.... they didn't belong from a damn hi-fi flashy class, but well they are educated, modern and a regular person like me and may be you...Today, consumer has become lot educated and mature especially the teens and educate young adults and they influence the family they live in. Ollwell is not an --asmaan sai utree-- product neither its any Diamond nor Beer to target the so called 'premium' category.
Our friend Ahmed wrote,
Tariq! I agree with Henna, as I had a similar shock to begin with, and when the dust settled it was more of a celebration of what we call "Roshan Khayal Pakistan".
Remote is certainly not the solution....it might be your way of running away from reality that is biting you every bit, left right and center. Does that also mean you can show any thing, westernize yourself in every way and say that you have cleared the clutter? Well I guess not, let this be my opinion the way I have to surf the channels.
The said so called Target Market does lot of other things, not necessarily you focus on them only to get the attention. Why not create one of our contemporary ones? Am sure there are better ways to clear the clutter without striking such chords
My another friend of the forum put his opinion,
‘In short the ad. is “OK” from every aspect but it is definitely not for the Pakistani Market, which I am sure will badly get offended after watching it. Tariq raised a point here that the ad is justified considering its been target towards the premium class of Pakistan. Sir, I agree with this point only. But that doesn’t mean anything and everything (I m sure you know what I mean) can be shown on TV through an effectively communicated ad (with vulgarity and nudity) only because it is for a certain audience. Not to forget that when an ad is aired it catches an eye of every one, so the point of switching the channel and saying that it is for that XYZ audience cannot be justified.’
Nisar Ahmed Shaikh also added his view point,
“Even if we agree to the assumption that the target market is westernized and they can take this TVC, one should not forget that it can offend the masses who are also viewing this TVC, along with the intended communication target market, and I think that this TVC can potentially hamper the good Engro image built through earlier Olper campaigns.
Secondly, as Olwell is more of a functional product, the use of life style platform shows that Engro is trying to attain something else here, some thing more than building & selling Olwell.
In the last, I agree that we should behave with a lot of responsibility and we must respect our cultural values. We should be fully confident that we can always build & sell brands without going over board with the western life style”.
Khurram fro Lahore briefed us,
As far as the concept of TVC is concerned that is full of life. But it has destroyed the ethical and moral values of a Muslim culture. If you look at the vertical hoarding at Sher Pao Bridge - Lahore Cantt... An almost nude smart chap looking at you with a pack of
OLWELL placed at his waste height...
1- I don’t understand the placement of the product.
2- If that man is pointing out that by using this milk you will be Smart and handsome like me.
I am sorry Nestle did it in a very decent manner and have a good market share no matter if their market is using it on purpose or they just want to relate themselves to a specific class.
Zeeshan fails to understand the purpose of Olwell TVC,
Well...I am fail to understand mob mentality of the guy who propose it, then guys who accept it and those who aired it... one can easily sense the channel of "Azeem loog"
Kashif was talking about innovation in advertisement,
What it looks that there is need of innovative ideas & fresh thinking. Stereo type, conventional, western impressed approaches should be avoided. Welcoming all foreign cultural based, short cut, block minded ideas can't help in breaking of clutter. Yes it may start controversy but it can't help in building any brand positioning.
Zaheer Alvi also showed his reservations,
Freedom or Liberation comes with responsibilities, massive ones. ! Freedom of expression doesn’t means or constitutes that nudity is or should be the idea.
Better off if the AD start starts with a warning “PG-13” for Pro-West ads
We are Muslims and we are suppose to express ourselves in a manner which clearly symbolizes a Muslim Culture not an imported / imposed one, the idea of Enlightened Moderation, is 100% about Education, belief in coexistence and ????
Who ever is willing to push the envelope, should bare in mind that we are Muslims of Pakistan and we are suppose express ourselves accordingly, even when it come to men, they are bound to cover themselves and by the way, when I first saw, I thought Jockey than Victoria’s Secret and some where in middle it was Nike or Rebock or may be Adidas, I thought I was watching Star then I realized I am watching Aaj.
My Singaporean resident Pakistani friend once said to me, he is very well aware what his children (minors) are watching on TV and most children in west watch TV on specific time period during which Ads and other promotion aired are according to the audience while since we are now at the mercy of Cable Operators, and with an absent minded, ever sleeping, rudderless PEMRA, we and our children are exposed to so many absurdities in the garb of newly acquired Freedom of Media, we need to have some sort of a watch dog, sooner the better, as I see it’s a or the race to fetch the Book of Deeds in our Left Hand on the Day of Judgment.
Don’t give me damage:
Positioning is very important & plays vital role in marketing, but it doesn’t' mean in battle of marketing you are allowed to damage the core of society based on " Sharm-o-Hya" which is essential for both the genders.
If you people have no problem with this stuff, OK keep it & limited it to yourself, we have no problem, but kindly don’t try to impose on us.
Engro can fight to Nestle to take market share but Please don't put your guns against our culture, society, values & norms.
PLEASE don't try to earn some coins at the cost of mass destruction of norms of our society.
My sincere appeal:
Through this, I want to draw the attention of all current & future marketers /advertising personals, that all of u have GREAT responsibility at your shoulders, for any brand when ever you develop any campaign, keep in mind that there is a life hereafter also, we have to prepare ourselves for the everlasting life, we should not develop any thing ( at the cost of damaging society norms) which damage our cultural & religious values, otherwise someone is observing every movement of our lives & he is the best judge. In Sura -e- Noor Allah has clearly condemned those persons who want to spread vulgarity in Muslim Society.
Verily, those who love that indecency should spread among the believers deserve a painful chastisement in the world and in the Hereafter. Allah knows, but you do not know. (Al Noor: 19)
So WHO have COURAGE to face him after doing all this?