Thursday, September 15, 2005

King or Queen?

Lux has completed 75 years in the industry and it seems to be celebrating it in style by roping in Shahrukh Khan for their latest ad. At first glance, I was excited hoping to see a babe in the bathtub filled with rose petals a la American Beauty. But it was Shahrukh saying, "I am going to reveal my beauty secret - LUX", with one those 'provoking' looks. I had every reason to believe Mani Shankar Aiyar would schedule an appointment with him next week.

In an era obsessed with equality of women, every woman achiever is proudly hailed for venturing into fields dominated by men. Here we have an exception on our hands. One man ventures into unexplored grounds viz. a bath tub filled with rose petals that had long been associated with babes like Hema Malini, Sridevi, Juhi Chawla and Ravi Krishna. King Khan stands out. Thank heavens he did not choose to do it literally and was complacent to remain seated in his bath tub. Shahrukh's long hair, which I believed was for some film, started making more sense now. Just that they had to advance the ad shooting by a couple of months.

Beauty has invariably been associated with the female gender. It is nice to see a babe sitting in the bath tub with froth covering the essential areas alone and a smooth soap sliding on her smoother skin. The entire thing has a nice feel to it. It is thus complete injustice to have Shahrukh in such an ad just because he has this smoothy skin, totally waxed chest, long hair and willingness to jump into a rosy bath tub. If at all there is a sequel planned, I just hope they don't make Shahrukh, dressed in his undergarments, dance in some waterfall. Or else he might, for all you know, be forced to lead the protest by Mumbai bar dancers against the government.

An ad targetting men generally needs to cover all the galeej aspects - dripping sweat, dirty clothes, bacteria underarm to name a few. Why this formula, nobody knows. Probably they try to portray men as active and hardworking and show the consequences of being so. All prodcuts meant for men are thus extremely strong, including the red Lifebuoy that was once believed to be used in the construction of Red Fort. Men stink, but are condemned to a worse fate with Lifebuoy and so they stink further while women use fragrant soaps. This unwritten rule was not followed by Medimix and Margo and they ran out faster than Sibiraj films. The Lux ad is thus seen as a breaker of barriers. But replacing this by rose petal filled bath tub? We prefer to stink!

If the trend continues, we might end up seeing a whole lot of innovative ads. Radhika might be roped in for Gillette Mach3 considering she has more facial hair than most men while Murali who speaks in a very low tone might endorse Whisper. Ravi Krishna will be benefited the most with offers from both sides.

The ad was thus clearly an attempt to lure in more men to use Lux. Probably the bathtub could not be done away with coz it held some sentimental value and Shahrukh was victimised. With such a repelling portrayal, they'll get just two new customers - Mani Shankar Aiyar and Shahrukh himself. It would have been a lot better if Shahrukh was applying soap to some babe in the frothy tub. That's targeting the audience!!

King Khan must definitely get out of that tub as soon as possible. Hopefully that happens behind the scenes.

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