Thursday, March 09, 2006


Recall value

When I read Thennavan's view about how 'pulli raja' campaign has a great recall value, I was reminded about this incident which was an obvious result of the 'recall value' of such advertisements.

It must have been December of 1990, when I was about nine years of age. My grandmother swathed herself in woollies, even before the temperature dropped to the thirties. She gets to sport her Kashmiri shawls only during the Margazhi get-together in Chennai. So, no matter what the temperature was, she would carry them on her throughout the month. It was also that time of the year when the market felt the extra need to advertise on the importance of protected sex which invariably had popular jingles and slogans that refused to lose power on the mind. Singing the jingles along with the TV was a favourite routine for all of us. One odd advertisement was one in which a couple in a boat with satisfactory experience looked at us and smiled in an intriguing manner, when a sudden silence fell in the room. Then, gradually the singing along restarted with "Valarum Payyan ivan, uyara uyarave Thullubavan...I am a complan boy." Apart from Tiruppavai, ven pongal, carnatic music, winter holidays, Kashmiri shawls and captivating advertisements another main occurrence marked the onset of Margazhi ... my grandmother's cold!

One afternoon when my cousins and I were playing a game of scrabble, grand mom called out for us. She said - "chamathono?" Whenever she started her sentence with this endearing Tamil word, we knew she was bribing us for some impending work. As predicted, she continued "could you get me that sachet of herbal cough syrup . . .?" Since it was a regular phenomenon, we knew what she wanted when she had cold. So, we whisked the Five rupee note and sped to the medical shop right around the corner.

On the way, we held serious debates about how to put the excess of rupees two and fifty np to best use to derive maximum benefits. At an undecided state, we reached the shop. The others were lost in looking at the Eclairs and gems in expectation, while I hit the counter with a loud bang and spurt out - "5 Nirodh 90"...

The two pharmacists looked at each other and exchanged an uncontrollable sarcastic chuckle. "Yaar paapa kettaanga?" enquired one of them, when my answer "ennoda paatti" put them in fits of laughter. I had no clue why they were laughing until I scrutinized the pack of herbal cough syrup on my way back, which read in big bold letters - Nivaran 90! The couple in the boat looked at me with the same sly smile in my memory and said - "Sukhi aur vaivahik jeevan ke liye - Nirodh." Damn! I got difference, albeit a little late.

iam reminded of the same ad but a diff incident..where one of my chottuncousins promptly asked eppadi ubayohikarathu as soon as the ad finished off with "niroth ubayohiyungal"..and left us the elder of the chottus embarrased..we gave our 'equals' a side on look and giggled..
so this niroth has so much impact,eh??
:)), A lot of impact, indeed!
there are many more radio and tv ads which come to my memory...but the nirodh / nivaran confusion is way too funny.
I have company i guess. I remember the remotest of commercials for some weird reason. Tell me any product name and I seem to remember the jingle or something realated to it.
The funniest is "Ivan dhan my son. Ivan podara banian jetti bison". Do you remember that radio ad?
LOL...No, I havent heard this one before...but it is meaningless, therefore funnier than many meaningful ads!
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