There have been commercials; and there have been horrible commercials; and then, there have been those eerie commercials that leave you thinking: is the advertisement good or bad for the product?
Tired of making clichéd lists for the year, I thought of identifying the most irritating television commercial of the year. That award should go to the Lufthansa commercial below.
I own a Star Alliance membership card (warning: this is when I start showing off) that it has Lufthansa written on it. I came close to discarding it.
Let me give an introduction on what the advertisement tries to do: it tries to convince the Indian audience that the airlines is more Indian than German, which means it tries to pass inedible microwaved yellow goo as daal. The authentic German Lufthansa would ask “chicken or pasta?” and serve dry rubbery mush and call it chicken.
Let us look at the video. It involves a kid. They have named him Aryan. They must have tried to send a message across by calling him Aryan; unfortunately, I could not grasp it. This may be some very authentic Indo-German joke that eludes me.
The grandfather and grandson start in a room, walk over a bridge, and stroll past a park to bad-mouth Germans. The punch-line-in-apparent, of course, is “their movies are always gray; probably they have not even heard of Bollywood!”
Erm, the last time I had heard, Indian producers send movies to win awards at Berlinale. It does not work the other way round. I have never heard of German movies competing for the Filmfare.
There is also disapproval about food, though they are not going to stay in Germany. They are going to New York, and, in all likelihood, they would at most have a stopover at Frankfurt. So why prejudice your grandson before he reaches the age to take his own decisions?
They are going to USA (they also ride a Japanese car, but let us not get into that). Should the discussion not revolve around American food and movies?
Let me put myself in the old man’s shoes. Suppose I am flying KLM the first time. Will I try to form an idea of Dutch movies before I fly? Will their Bollywood-awareness become a condition?
Here is a list of what I will try to find out:
1. Whether they are usually punctual.
2. What I can and cannot carry (the list is usually the same).
3. The dimensions and weight of the check-in and hand-baggage.
4. The stopover time.
5. A Google Images view of the air-hostesses (or female flight-attendants).
But even that is not my point here. They are namaste-ed by an attendant; the grandson is obviously confused, given his grandfather’s moronic inputs. They get seated.
Lufthansa plays an Indian movie. They also serve Indian food (I know they are flying business-class, but what airline serves six colour-coded gulab-jamuns?).
Then, the grandfather takes his glasses off in what he probably considers the most reassuring gesture in the history of mankind, and utters: “no, no, everything is fine.”
Think of the child. Think of the poor child.
1. He was told what to expect on flight.
2. He finds that things are ridiculously different from what his idiot of a grandfather had taught him.
3. He obviously thinks there is something wrong.
4. His grandfather tells him that everything is fine, without offering an explanation.
If I were that kid, I would have grown up as the most confused individual ever. I kid you not.