Omore – Indecency Commercialized

Guest Post by Saeed MOriginally Posted on the Author’s Yello.Pk Blog

Ever get the feeling that you’re slipping down a slippery slope, and there is not a handhold or a foothold in sight?

I remember that billboard for Jazz, put up at the intersection of KalaPul and Shahrah-e-Faisal many years ago, with a lady talking suggestively on the phone. Every time I would pass by it, I would wish that someone would do something about it. I did nothing about it. One day, I heard that it caught fire. Stories went around that some disgruntled fundos did it. And I wished I was one of them.

For some time, the ads became a little more decent. And then the deluge began. With cell phone companies leading the way, mattress peddlers, soft drink makers and just about everyone else began TV ads, billboards etc with women giving the come hither look to the poor unsuspecting men, just to sell some airtime minutes.

Soon to follow, Indian movies moved out of drawing room VCRs to our cinema halls. And women anchors on TV talk shows wearing T-Shirts. And then, women in tight clothes were all around, going to schools selling Red Bull, approaching you in shopping malls selling shampoo, and so on….

I thought the women’s liberation movement was all about liberating women from the exploitation of men. But I look around me in the year 2010 and I see beautiful women being used to sell wares. This selling is not through intelligent persuasion but through subliminal targeting and manipulation. So this is liberation?

This probably sounds like a tempest in a teacup to those who don’t remember the days before that Jazz ad. Indecency does not shock us anymore, because it is everywhere. Much less than stopping it with our hands, or speaking out against it, we often neglect to even think of these as bad in our hearts.

If things are to change, we need to be that change.

There is an ad campaign on TV these days selling Omore ice-cream, in which young men and women in tight clothes do gymnastic dance moves, to sell ICE-CREAM cones! I find it distasteful (the ad – haven’t tried the ice-cream). Yet, I was complacent. Then I received an email from a friend, informing me of a kind soul who started an email campaign to urge Engro Foods to pull that commercial. And I did the same. And I felt like it was the first blow I struck, insignificant as it was.

If we are to stop this exploitation of our sisters and daughters, we must speak out against it wherever we see it. And to back up those words with actions such as choosing a competing product in protest.

Image Courtest PakMediaBlog

If you share my view, kindly write a polite email to Engro Foods, asking them to pull the ads because they offend our religious and cultural sensibilities. You may send these to Mr. Rehan (rkhaliq@engro.com). Please remember to be polite but firm. Kindly send a Bcc to kashifhaf@gmail.com, so that he can monitor how much pressure we are exerting. And spread the word to your circle of family and friends, so that they may speak up too.

Being silent is not an option any more.

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17 thoughts on “Omore – Indecency Commercialized”

  1. I cud’nt agree with you more and i hope u are successful in this campaign. InshAllah !!

    but i have to say that in my opinion this add that you’re talking about is nothing compared to others that are aired on a daily basis all across our dear country.

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    1. Omer

      Thank you for your comment. The point here is that Omore is one example of a decay that has set in. Indecency Commercialized Part Deux (being put up as we speak) will highlight some more ads like this.

      -Aly

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  2. I found this ad to be totally pointless. It’s pretty obvious that they have targeted the youth over here. If our people knew how to market products tastefully we would be miles ahead in the game now. PS. The girl is pretty so that got my attention.

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  3. Omore isn’t the first one. We see indecency in almost all the ads now, these days. All ads have some element of dance or music in it – from candies to real estate even! One cannot avoid music even if desired, and same, with indecency (seeing it around). It’s just become so common.

    A great lecture by Sheikh Yasin Khalid, on ‘liberation of women’

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    1. Jazak’Allah Khairin Tehniat for the post and the video. With the constant bombardment that the media is doing we are now getting used to things that 50 years ago would never been seen.

      -Aly

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  4. “…with women giving the come hither look to the poor unsuspecting men..”
    Oh please!! I guess you are one of these ‘poor unsuspecting’ guys who can’t help but stare at the billboard every time you drive by? Hahaha, this is precious! Oh we wicked women..Please refrain from stopping short of cursing our very souls next time, dude..are we to believe that men had nothing to do with these ads that use sex to sell?

    And come on, in the specific Omore ad you mention, neither the dancing nor the music is distasteful. Singing and dancing are not diabolical! They are very much a part of my culture..my Pakistani culture. Sorry if it doesn’t fit in with your definition of Islam, but I feel these arts were important in forming the identity of my countrymen before my country came to being. And should be given importance now, as well.
    How come you didn’t mention Omores’ Tarang ad? Because it showed women dressed in subcontinent garb? Hey they’re still dancing for no reason. I think you didn’t like the people dressed like westerners part, perhaps.
    Maulvi sahb, I am a Pakistani Muslim, but I wear jeans.
    I am a Pakistani Muslim, but I dance.
    I am a Pakistani Muslim, but I respect the womens liberation movement, especially since it has so far to go in Pakistan.
    I am a Pakistani Muslim, but I think its important to value my culture for what it actually is..rather than what a handful of people think it should be.

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    1. @Maliha

      Your comment has been forwarded to the author (Saeed M) who is currently not in Karachi.

      My own thoughts on your comment are as below:

      1) The author meant to highlight that the said ad (and others like this), utilize sex to sell product. Nowhere in his article does the author blame women or declare men blameless. He criticizes the whole idea of using a woman’s (or a man’s) sex appeal to sell a product.

      2) He didn’t mention Olpers’ Tarang ad since the purpose is not to compile a list of such ads but to voice an opinion on a trend of marketing. The exclusion of said ad has no concern with whether the dress code is Eastern or Western.

      3) If you read the author’s other post titled Indecency Commercialized Part Deux, you will see he has tried to highlight other ads that promote indecency. Again the list there is not a complete but the idea is to start a trend of voicing the consumer’s opinion on what s/he appreciates in ads.

      4) Regarding the issue of whether singing and dancing are Islamic or diabolical, the answer best rests with scholars who have written volumes on this. Yes, difference of opinion exists but the orthodox view of Islam is against music and dance. However, the author does not try to press his beliefs on you as a reader, but states merely that those who consider music etc are un-Islamic should voice their opinion.

      5) Culture, if within the allowance of religion, is to be cherished and treasured. But religion must supercede culture as Islam is meant to be a way of life, once declared by The Creator as the Complete Way of Life. Ultimately, Islam should be the criteria by which certain parts of culture should be judged as acceptable or un-acceptable. Culture should not be the criteria by which certain parts of Islam should be judged as acceptable or un-acceptable.

      Every person is entitled to their opinion, and the author voiced his. Whether you as the reader choose to accept his opinion or stick to your own is entirely upto you. Neither has the power to force the other to accept his opinion, merely highlight their case in the light of their evidences.

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  5. @Maliha and AlyB:

    My brother Aly has eloquently voiced what I would have said.

    Sister Maliha, I would be grateful if you avoid judging me without knowing who I am. You are welcome to criticize what I have written, but please refrain from criticizing what I have not written.

    I did not mention Islam or religion in my piece, objecting only to the exploitation of women by the advertising industry. Many secular people would share this opinion.

    However, since you are criticizing MY ‘definition of Islam’, I must share my view.

    Islam is a Way of Life given to us by our Creator, Allah SWT, through His Scriptures and His Prophets. The rules of the game are given to us, not for us to invent. Being a Muslim comes with a set of responsibilities. Whether we choose to own them or shirk them is our free will.

    I would be interested to see ANY scholar of Islam condone the ad mentioned.

    You are free to not write to the company if the ads did not offend you, or if this trend of marketing is not alarming you. However, if the case is otherwise, writing to those who make decisions is the least we can do.

    Judging others without knowing them would be considered unwise in most religions and cultures. If you disagree with me, I will happily agree to disagree.

    Peace.

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  6. Miss Maliha i think you should appreciate the fact that writer has chosen an ad that impinges on our CULTURAL identity, and not merely on our RELIGIOUS identity.

    If you are in for culture, as you seem you are, then you should be understanding that even distinct from religion, our culture has this tendency of clothing up more conservatively, and that jeans are not part of eastern culture.

    I did not like the fact that this ad tries to make us own a culture that we do not belong to.

    Very good thing that you are a Muslim, but i did not see the point of bringing it up.

    Thank you.

    Like

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