Monday, August 2, 2010

What Were They Thinking?

We at Cafe Pyala have sometimes been accused (unfairly) of cynicism. But none of our pointed barbs can ever hope to plumb the depths of shameless opportunism that the following two commercials currently running on our television screens demonstrate.

Here's Habib Oil Mills and part of the late Madam Noor Jehan's family - specifically eldest daughter Zille Huma and granddaughter Sonya Jehan nee Rizvi - exploiting the memory of their legendary mother / grandmother to sell... ghee.

Okay, we know that singer Zille Huma and actor Sonya Jehan owe their entire careers to the memory of the illustrious Queen of Melody - Sonya even changed her film industry name to remind people more squarely of her roots - and that another of Madam's daughters, Hina Ejaz Durrani, had also recreated one of her mother's songs for a video sponsored by Mobilink. But boiling down (or should that be frying up?) intimate personal memories to the brand of banaspati the matriarch used looks just a tad like cashing in to me. Especially, especially if this story is not even true. Keep in mind that Dalda Banaspati has been a market leader in the ghee business for ages and the Habib Oil Mills' current position as a major force in the edible oil market has come about only in the last 15 years or so. I'm ready to stand corrected but I'm not even so sure Noor Jehan was such a loyal customer of Habib Banaspati.

The second shamelessly exploitative ad for ghee - what is the deal with hydrogenated oil and shamelessness - features the ever slimy Aamir Liaquat Hussain in a Mezan Banaspati ad that preys on the religious sentiments of the upcoming month of Ramzan.

Does Mezan really need the smug face of a rabid, phoney "doctor" to sell its oil? And isn't this what Aamir Liaquat's been aiming for all his life: making money off religion? He probably made loads from attaching his name to Haj packages but that probably didn't satisfy his desire to have his mug on television. The ad's enough to give anyone indigestion in my opinion.

Actually, I prefer seeing the ending of the alternate version of this ad - which you can see here - in which Mr JaahilOnline tells you about the savings you get (no noble hook about feeding the hungry) and mouths the famous Mezan slogan: "Har cheez Mezan mein achhi lagti hai" (Everything is better in Mezan). It gives me the pleasure of imagining him in a vat of bubbling hot oil.


Anonymous said...

AND they used Khurshid Anwar as a soundtrack for selling ghee. I am in shock. Glad the poor guy is dead. Does this come under the blasphemy law?

Shahid said...

Not Ghee but Moblink have exploited religion perfectly in that Naseem Hameed ad.

Magnum said...

Both these ads were disgraceful.

nayyares said...

i am not shocked, Sonya's legendary grandmother even ended singing for uncivilized Punjabi films... she was use to swim at army General's pools, so whats big if her leftover are selling Ghee?

Liaqut can even appear in condoms commercials... "ee putar hataan te nahin wik dey... tu lub di pihray hazar kuray" ;)

Ammar said...

What were they thinking? Well they don’t need to think as religion sells in Pakistan with clergy who has clearly political ambitions so if one wants to sell cooking oil in the name of Islam that is just simply excellent marketing!

Isn’t it ironic Bangladesh has matured enough to remove religion from politics and curb on hate speech and here we are selling cooking oil with religious vigor!!

RJHouston said...

Why is this "Aalim" polishing a wine glass?

nayyares said...

@RJHouston, those chicks will serve it with Aab-e-Zamzam ;)

Rafay Alam said...

Appalling. We all know about the phony doctor, but the Meezan/Nur Jehan ad. I believe if you wikipedia "sell out", you'll get a link to that ad.

Anonymous said...

Well I see the point of the post. But its the new market dynamics, everything is for sale if you can pay the right price for it. Right?

Anonymous said...

good one.
also, there are hardly any personal memories between zille human and sonia. sonia's mother, florence never got along with noor jehan's clan and given any oppurtunity, there were the infamous verbal brawls with both sides leaving no stone unturned in taith punjabi and 'highly refined' french.
sonia had a strained relationship with her father, photographer akbar rizvi. zille huma was closed to her brother and held sonia responsible for his death when she married a hindu (much to the dismay of her father). also, sonia has time and again said in her earlier interviews that she did not mingle with her father's side of the family. also, given the way this woman puts in an extra effort at highlighting how she is not much of a pakistani, she might as well leave this nationality.
seems like the creative guys at the end agency visualized this ad after watching a 'happy happy' episode of some indian soap.
get your facts right or else stop selling us dreams to a sound track of good old noorie.
bet noor jehan is turning in her grave after watching this local version of kabhi khushi kabhi gham.

Anonymous said...

Ghee isn't the only product sold with a religious twist during Ramadan. Everyone does it, and soon the glorious religious based commercials from MilkPak to "All you can eat buffets" will flood our television screens for an entire month. One could gain around 10-15lbs just watching happy, religious families gathering around a food laden table (prepared by foundation caked Pakistani women)all in color co-ordinated clothes, smacking their lips because Soya Supreme is second only to God.

Rehman said...

WHO is unfairly accusing you of cynicism? Cafepyala! Give me Their adress...!!

Anonymous said...



nayyares said...

@Anon(1:36PM), the agenda was, a dead Hen, few good looking chicks, Ghee, and a Jahil!

Anonymous said...

very uncalled for and unjust criticism based on prejudice
wft is wrong is Sonia or Aamir liaqat appeared in a commercial ? do you guys really think that all the other commercials appearing on TV depict reality ?

seems that people are getting jealous that why others are getting work opportunities

if you can take your head out of your rear than you might be able to look and think a bit beyond condoms

nayyares said...

@Anon(1:29 PM), Hi liaqut bhai, since when you lost your balls? you are scared of showing your identity in public!

where you felt, we were trying to snatch your adds business? you were looking pretty nice among those colorful chicks :p

i never knew you got offended using condoms :)


Anonymous said...


just as I suspected, you just can't take your head out of there and keep thinking of balls and condoms

nayyares said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
XYZ said...

@nayyares and @Anon129/622: Please cease and desist. Any further silly attacks on each other will be deleted.

Btw @nayyares, your earlier comment was also in rather poor taste. I don't quite know what to make of your "uncivilized Punjabi films" comment but if you mean merely 'bad' cinema, it should be pointed out that despite the overall quality of films plummeting (both Urdu and Punjabi) in the 1980s, some of Noor Jehan's songs from that era are still brilliant. Secondly I have no idea where you have got the "swimming in Army general's pools" claim. I am not aware that Madam swam at all, in army generals' pools or anywhere else. But more importantly, the comment betrays a certain lewd insinuation that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Yes, Madam was a colourful and flamboyant character and that's what made her who she was, aside from her voice. It is something, in my opinion, to be celebrated rather than denigrated by petty conservative morality.

Nabeel said...

"Mr JaahilOnline tells you about the savings you get...and mouths the famous Mezan slogan: "Har cheez Mezan mein achhi lagti hai" (Everything is better in Mezan).

It gives me the pleasure of imagining him in a vat of bubbling hot oil."

Haha, I LOVE that last line! That is indeed something many just might want to see, morbid and disgusting as it is.

Samz said...

Who owns Meezan ghee? XYZ girl

nayyares said...

@XYZ, the idea came from several articles written on her history, for instance,
[3] (must read yahya khan part)
[4] i even recall something written in Shahab Nama (Qudrut ullah Shahab), correct me if i am wrong!

i give due respect to her, just as a SINGER! with all indo-pak media/screen related pros & cons!

btw, XYZ Noor Jahaan has two different character in Pakistan people's mind, one as a legendary singer & a star of 1964 & 1971 wars because of her motivational songs, but then the other, in which she is glamorous women holding relations with head counts of the country at her time!

do you think an average Pakistani will wish to have a daughter with Noor Jahan's character?

i am sorry being really conservative :(


Vagabond said...

@ nayyares: Firstly, the post was not even remotely related to Madam Noor Jehan's character. Rephrasing XYZ's comment, it has absolutely nothing to do with what the post is about.

I fail to understand why you'd bring in the argument of an average Pakistani wanting to have a daughter like Madam Noor Jehan.

Anonymous said...

would an average Pakistani want a condom obsessed son like you ??????

Vagabond said...

@ XYZ: Engro Foods has been cashing in on this formula for the past three years now. Every ramadan they come up with a huge, extravagant ramadan campaign for Olpers. From what I think, Olpers should have been the victim of your scrutiny, considering its not just 'seasonal marketing campaign' rather an opprtunity for Engro Foods to capitalise on the Holy month, by paying millions to Atif Aslam ( A pop icon) to recite naats.

Meezan, from my knowledge, started this year as opposed to Olpers that has been 'preying on the religous sentiments' for three years now and have really learnt the tricks of this trade where they use their huge budgets to make the ad more acceptable to the more observant audience like yourself. Meezan will get there in a few years and will certainly elude your scrutiny.

As far as my opinion is concerned, I see nothing wrong with all this. If you talk about 'personal memories to the brand of banaspati' not being true, 80% of whats shown on tv, especially in ads, is not true. Thats just brand endorsement, even if it involves using personal memories. Think about Moin Akhtar endorsing Soda White. Its all just deception. Remember, we're living in a society where our PM is fooled to give cheques to a fake medical camp, where the PM fooling the fake patients with the fake cheques (probably), where people get their hands on fake degrees to get into National Assembly.

All the aforementioned issues in a failed society like ours make these markteres sound like little innocent kids, fooling to make some money to buy candies.

Its all just deception, eventually, coming down to who deceives the best. Meezan and Habib oil will hopefully learn this soon.

Natasha said...

Paisa phenk , tamasha dekh.