Commenting on ‘How ads will look in a world of censorship’, KV Sridhar (Pops), national creative director, Leo Burnett, said, “TV and print can have censorship, the internet can’t.” He added, “Advertising is entertainment, putting rules will be awful, people won’t enjoy what they see.”
He gave a humorous analogy as an explanation – “Imagine ASCI rules as flirting with a woman – if it’s done tastefully, both parties will enjoy; if it’s crude or crass, the man will get slapped; if it crosses the line, he’ll end up behind bars. Nobody wants to be in a situation where the state steps in.”
A lot of work is created ignorance, not from insensitivity. Recounting a conversation he had with animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi, about why animals shouldn’t be used in advertising, her reply was the Vodafone pug created a demand for the breed, and the pugs had to be imported. India isn’t their natural habitat, and they also can’t deliver naturally (they need assistance from a veterinarian). If the copywriter who wrote the ad knew all this, Pops felt, another breed may have been used.
“If we take the trouble to understand sensitivities, we won’t make mistakes,” he said. “The point is to be governed by principles, not rules.”