Virtual Suicide & the Case of finding release

A ‘TIME’ article (Jan ’10) read, “….Now you can scrub yourself from the Internet with Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, a nifty service that purges your online presence from these all-consuming social networks. Since its Dec. 19 launch, Suicide Machine has assisted more than 1,000 virtual deaths, severing more than 80,500 friendships on Facebook and removing some 276,000 tweets from Twitter.” Wow! Wish the concept of erasure of things that are despicable, unpalatable, hurtful etc, could be done away just as easily in the real world too. In fact I saw a small peek of this in a not so recent Hindi film titled ‘Jab We Met’. The protagonist Geet (Kareena Kapoor) vented out her anger against her ex-boyfriend who had dumped her on the telephone. Using expletives, flushing his picture down the drain etc. A release of the most painful and humiliating of emotions, she was now ready to move on.

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Human emotions are shedding the power to ‘hold’, and embracing the release that comes with ‘expression’. Expressed in both the online and offline space. Say it with passion, vengeance, with conviction, with desire…say it and sometimes, Just do it (as Nike would declare). A fleeting thought queries the trend explorer in me. Is it the time of ‘No reservations’ and a closure to ‘Self imposed restraint’ kind of behavior, in India too? Look at advertising in its many avtaars. E.g. Telling small lies to get your way through (Virgin Mobile: Girl pretending to be disinterested in boys, to get her parents approval for a trip to Goa with a guy) or then an arrogant controversial style statement (Allen Solly: I don’t like Ugly) or then exploring new possibilities by pooh-poohing commitment in relationships (Fast track S.U.M.O – Shut Up & Move On) etc. It’s refreshing. Indian advertising is coming out of the closet in tapping emotions that raises many eyebrows and makes you notice.

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While the virtual suicide episode is much of a ‘negative mind state finding release’  through an online product, there are many positive, action oriented ‘release’ emotions that are being captured by products. Hippo wafers that has a formidable competitor in snacking namely Bingo (ITC), had to create some disruption when it launched. So they presented their ‘baked munchies’ that are simply ‘a snack & a gap filler’, with a twist on ‘bhook (hunger)’. They elevated the idea to the inherent ‘bhook’ that is in all of us, that is expressed as greed, power, subjugation etc & used the satiating power of Hippo to satisfy the hunger (background score lyrics is aptly about ’spreading love’). Funny twist for a Rs.10/- non-fried snack.

So maybe it’s about time, our advertising took this ‘release’ dimension to a new level. The signals say, ‘push the value system’ meter. Explore not just the puritanical side of Maslows hierarchy but the very flip of that. Maybe it’s about  enjoying the unexplored (before you get security), individuality at all cost (before you start to belong), practicing social harmony (to help you find inner peace) etc. Maybe you need to just look at the mirror and discover what lies beneath.

P.S: I read Web 2.0 suicide…server has been hacked recently, due to sabotage attacks as there were no free slots available!!!!!

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4 Comments

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  2. Hi there could I reference some of the information from this post if I reference you with a link back to your site?

  3. Very innovative marketing idea for Hippo n I am in love with Hippo’s baked munchies!!!

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