Brands are known to be very image-conscious. They have to constantly keep an eye on the changing trends and social issues of the world. As marketing and PR are what matters most, brands have to make efforts to show their alliance for what the public is most interested in.
In Pakistan, drama serials are one of the most talked-about things. Dramas not only get the highest ratings for the channels but they also get millions on views on Youtube. Seeing this, some brands choose to sponsor shows either on TV or when the shows are uploaded online and in some cases on both mediums. It’s a profitable venture for all the parties involved. However, it’s ironic how the content of the sponsored drama go so blatantly against the image of the brand itself.
The double standards
Ariel, one of the leading detergent powder brands of the country, has been one of those brands that have been sponsoring TV shows. On one hand, the brand shows its progressive side with international campaigns like #ShareTheLoad “Work for home” campaign, while on the other hand, they endorse dramas with stories such as Jalan.
Jalan is a drama that revolves around the jealousy of one sister towards another. The drama’s protagonist is a character so hell-bent on owning everything that her sister has that she doesn’t stop from even ruining her sister’s happily married life. The drama also shows a questionable relationship between a brother-in-law towards his sister-in-law. Definitely not the kind of “sharing” that the brand is promoting via its campaign.
This doesn’t end here. Ariel was also a sponsor for Jhooti which is a whole can of worms on its own. A show with such a harmful depiction of a woman faking domestic abuse and wreaking havoc everywhere around her.
Then there is Mezan sponsoring Pyar Ke Sadqay. Mezan’s brand campaigns have always promoted the love between all the family relationships with a focus on respecting the said relationships. Pyar Ke Sadqay however has a problematic central plot point where a father-in-law is lusting after his daughter-in-law. Then there’s this development in the drama showing a guy only caring for his wife once he finds out she is pregnant. Before this revelation, he was all but ready to divorce her to get married to his old love. Yikes! A reminder that Mezan has had TVCs centered on supporting the housewives
Our TV industry has been on a constant upward trajectory for some years now. Not just in terms of quality but also financially. One episode of a serial is monetized in five different ways from ads while it’s on-air and the ones on Youtube and all this is beside the specific brand sponsoring a show.
So, something we do not want is this ever-increasing success to stop. However, what should be done that is that brands can be stricter about what sort of content they endorse. Not only will this help maintain a brand’s image but will also be adequate for keeping our dramas in check. Advertisers are what matter most to channels and so they can rein in our channels a bit which they do deserve. It could be a win-win for all this way.