Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Vest'ed Interest

If someone asked you, “What’s common between Sunny Deol, Salman Khan, Govinda, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty and Hrithik Roshan?”, I bet you would NEVER say ‘chuddi-banian ads’!

Now that’s a trend which escaped your roving eye isn’t it: The hosiery industry’s celebrity endorsement fixation.

The earliest recollection that I have of a celebrity in a chuddi ad is Dalip Tahil (VIP underwear). The ad featured a rather hirsute Dalip Tahil leaping off the balcony to karate chop an impudent rowdy who was trying to act smart with the leading lady (all this happened in a dream sequence of the leading lady, by the way).

The underwear in question was seen flashing from beneath the folds of his dressing gown as he leapt off the balcony (it was a bottom up shot and you really wanted to pluck your eyes out with a stick after seeing it), and in the final shot, where he brazenly displays his Rin-white underwear by guiding his gown nonchalantly away as he strikes a one-hand-on-own-hip-and-one-hand-around-lady-waist pose. I forget the punch line, but it was quite cheesy ~prize to anyone who remembers~.

The first serious threat to VIP’s undisputed mind leadership came with Rupa underwear. Rupa started roping in more main stream celebrities (sorry Mr Tahil, but you know what I mean) for their advertising. Govinda, Sanjay Dutt, and now Hrithik are all Rupa brand ambassadors.

Lux Undergarmets burst onto the scene around the early nineties and followed the same industry trend. Lux has been banking on ‘macho men’ Sunny Paaji and Anna Shetty to peddle their products. Ofcourse their iconic “Yeh andar ki baat hai” line has been the source of much mirth and double-entendres for some years now.

Most of Lux advertising shows the model doing great acts of courage and heroism in the baniyan (I guess it is assumed he is wearing Lux chuddi also).

Sample this from Lux: Anna in action. Notice the humiliating call to action from women who are watching a free style boxing match ~where are these women in real life!!??~ to the ‘cool’ comeback of Anna who, after beating the living daylights out of the baddie, puts the impudent, mocking girls in place with a “Yeh andar ki baat hai” line. Fascinating stuff…

Rupa too comes up with interesting stuff, all capped off with their long running “yeh araam ka mamla hai” line.

Sample this ad featuring Govinda.

Notice how the recent trend of giving up ones hard earned sobriquets (Binani for BigB and recently Bad Man for petrol) was actually started by Govinda by bequeathing his Hero no 1 title to Rupa!

Rupa also recently shot one of the most hi-tech ads I have ever seen with Hrithik, all to sell their new ‘Macro Man’ chuddi-baniyans. And our man is delighted with the endorsement, I quote:

I am excited to be associated with this collection. I can identify with the brand on a personal level, as it is everything that I am.

Everyone was hoping he would elaborate a bit more on what he means by that exactly. But no such luck. So I guess we are supposed to assume that he is macho outside but 'Rupa’ inside. I tell you this metrosexual wave is going to ruin all that was male and good.

Well the point of this post was to answer the question that popped up in my mind is: “Why do chuddi-banians use celebrities?”

I have a hypothesis, but would love to hear your views on the subject (Is anyone reading this???) So write in on why you think celebrities are required in chuddi-banian ads, and I will share my hypothesis, once the responses run dry….


diya said...

Intriguing I must say, I also detest people of the stature of Amitabh Bachhan campaigning for hair oils and SRK declaring that a powder is like an AC! Why did they agree to do these ads? The answer is the money honey! The same reason they perform at marriage parties. The hosiery industry is doing quite well in India I guess that's why they can afford these guys, and the guys are in it for the cash!Howz that for a plausible theory?

Y said...

yee ha! a post from you!

i am too sleepy to theorize on this subject.

yaawwwn...carry awwnn...

Shome said...

Well my own sense is that when you are selling MEN'S underwear and your brand is called RUPA, you better have some celebrity hunks endorsing it. Otherwise tthere is no hope in hell..

Lux probably just did what hte soap did - use celebrities..

Anamika said...

Nice title to the post! But I figure EVERYONE wants to use celebrities in their ads if they can afford it. And oh yes, I remember Dalip Tahil flying off the balcony and the gown flying open too, to reveal...It's supposed to make you say 'Thank God he wore (VIP) Underwear'!

And I heard from a friend about an underwear ad painted on the walls near a railway station, it said 'gundami te thansha'. I can never forget that!!!

Sue said...

I think they use celebrities so that the jokes that are spun off their punch lines pack more power. Something that has Govinda in it as the subject must necessarily be more amusing than a plain Ramu, na?

Primalsoup said...

Heh, funny. I think it is mostly a conspiracy of the chaddi manufacturers. They want to let the world know that the celebrities will endorse anything at all! :)

Neelkanth said...

The best one though was the "Roopa kya pehnegi" starring Amit Kumar (or was it a lookalike?)