What is that white man doing in BANGUR Cement?


There was a time when an entire thirty minutes slot or even a one hour slot would be dedicated to pure creative content without any interrupting commercial breaks except for technical interruptions! Then came the world of ads which was again reasonably placed exactly in the middle of the program that too only for a short while! Then came more sponsorships and ad time was extended but thankfully all ads would be continuously played giving the viewer ample time to shuttle between other chores before settling back in their seats! But today the ads have outpaced content and one can see more creativity in ads than any cinema or serial for that matter! That the world of ads have annoyingly penetrated everywhere even into the 6inch gadget is an untold digital abuse of the consumer, is another topic for another day yet I cannot stop being amused by the plethora of creativity and craftiness of mind games that goes into these ad making!

The modern day ad has in many ways shunned the traditional concept of stereotype short films of blatant promotion of products, as today, it is not just about selling a product but about catering to the psyche of the consumers and playing with the trending moods. With the specialization job markets and technological advancements, ad making is a great career in itself as creativity is weaved like a bespoke costume, customized to suit a definite audience.

Ads these days are not just captivating but also thought provoking but then there was this off the track ad that intrigued me _the Bangur Cement ad where a Gora serves as the mascot of credibility of the cement with his authenticating line in firangi accent ‘Sastha nahi sabse accha’!

I wondered what the f… is that white man doing in an Indian cement ad?

Why does it take a white man to vouch for the credibility of an Indian brand of cement? Okay the fact that I am talking about this ad has already served the purpose of the ad maker which is to catch the attention span and remember the product. But JK cement was no less when it comes to grabbing eyeballs when they chose a bikini clad model to walk out of a beach to promote toughness of their product! Ads have always banked on glamour and white skin but only until Ramdev baba broke that myth!

The Bangur ad frustratingly tells of a fair skin obsessed society where the ad makers reiterate that Indians tend to believe in whatever a white man says far more easily than their own brown brethren.

The western constructs might have by and large influenced us so much that perhaps our mindsets are today toned or tamed to unquestioningly accept their version as ultimate truth and tend to castigate away voices within. This I say  because I find that even today during the discourse of many TV debates or generic casual talks remains that ‘the Americans say so’ or ‘the Wikipedia says so’, we often refer to some event of the west and try to authenticate our facts or base our logic on some western instances or beliefs. I am amused to see people sharing whatsapp videos where white westerners are found talking and reaffirming our scientific or spiritual matters that we Indians have been saying all along but it becomes a standard validating mark only when a western concurrence is seen! We hear more carefully and believe more easily when a western scholar confirms something what our scholars had been saying all along. Of course we are gradually changing and  unlearning all that we learnt in history classes that only the west gave us great inventions but the phenomenon of unlearning is not yet complete, as there is this frenzied obsession about the white skin that is hard to shun, not that it is wrong to have a white skinned model or a liking for fair skin but the catch in the ad is all about establishing credibility of a product which the ad makers have vehemently tried to persuade a vast brown audience by getting a white man to vouch for it as if we still naively believe in all that glitters is gold and I cannot help but coin this white obsession as Bangur syndrome henceforth!