Anil Thakraney: Gujarat ad: Work of a lazy art director

28 Nov,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Congress’s chances of making any sort of impact in the upcoming Gujarat elections already appear less than feeble. And to make matters worse, they’ve gone ahead and scored a self-goal.


The Gujarat Congress party workers released an ad in the local dailies to highlight the rising incidence of child malnutrition in the state. Nothing wrong with that, but the image of the child they used in the ad wasn’t shot in Gujarat, it was pilfered from a Sri Lankan refugee camp! Haha. Mota bhai Narendra Modi must have guffawed so loud, children in his state would have momentarily forgotten all about their hunger pangs.


The Congress reps have been doing the only thing they can do when egg has hit the face very hard: To try and justify the ad, by suggesting that the visual was only a ‘symbolic representation’. Of course, no one’s gonna buy that. I actually feel sorry for these guys, because the culprit in this case is the advertising agency that created the ad. And that agency needs to be punished.


Here’s what must have happened, and I can say this with some degree of confidence, having worked in ad agencies before. Art directors do lift visuals from various sources for presentation purposes. These visuals are only used to give an idea to the client of what the end product will look like. Once the concept is approved, the art director is supposed to carry out a fresh shoot.


Now, either because of laziness or perhaps because of the desire to cut costs, the art director in question Photoshopped the Sri Lankan picture and ran it as an original. In his/her mind, sure that the little chori will never come to light. After all, how many of us keep an eye on Sri Lanka’s food problems? And the client, in this case the Congress party, must have assumed that the pic is original. Well, someone did spot the cheating, and now the Congress netas have to pay for no fault of theirs.


And I must add here that this is a wakeup call for all lazy art directors. Guys, it’s never a good idea to Photoshop. Always shoot, even if the client is in a tearing hurry. Because a picture tells a thousand words. And a pilfered picture tells a thousand lies.


PS: Marc Jacobs has pushed the indecency envelope even further. They have featured a male model masturbating in public. And this is an ad for their sunglasses, which has nothing to do with the man’s ‘activity’. Shock for shock’s sake? Or brand attitude? You choose.




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