We need innovative, creative adverts

I read with keen interest, a reader's comments which appeared on the letters page of the Daily Graphic of Tuesday, January 27, 2015, concerning an advert being sponsored by tiGO,  with the slogan, "Drop that yam!".

The writer found that advert ethically wrong and in bad taste for attempting to make a comparison between one product and another. I could not but share his sentiments and that of many other Ghanaians that a good number of our adverts lack innovation and creativity.

Central message

You can watch a video clip of an advert from the beginning to the end without getting the central message as to what product or service is being marketed.  You will be asking,  is it the music, the overfed women wriggling their bodies or their costumes and heavy makeups?

It is even worse on radio when the listener is subjected to a dialogue sometimes in obcene language with background music without the benefit of knowing what  the subject matter is.

Most of the advertisers have also chosen pidgin English as the vehicle to carry their messages to their prospective clients.  I do not know if this is an admission of the high illiteracy rate in the country.   Whatever the reason, this trend is not healthy for us as a country whose educational system is battling fallen standards, especially in the written and spoken English.

Foreign and local products

Ours is a country overdependent on foreign goods and this is reflected in the type of adverts that dominate our television screens.  Take an affluent family enjoying a meal and the food is considered delicious simply because the ‘madam’ has used tomato paste imported from China and the rice from the same country or either Thailand,  Vietnam,  Brazil or somewhere beyond our borders. 

Latex Foam Valentines Day Promo

The only local products that somehow try to compete with foreign ones for advert space, it appears,  are herbal concoctions of dubious make and questionable efficacy which are marketed in flagrant violation of the drug laws of the country. 

Next in line are alcoholic beverages that share the same common characteristics of 'bitters'.  They all have the power to elevate the spirit of customers in general and the sexual potency of men in particular.  This is reflected in the names they bear.

The open and massive advertising of hard liquor on radio and television makes nonsense of any laws on the sale and consumption of alcohol in the country.

We know we are a humour-loving people.  In fact, it is our sense of humour that has kept us sane even in the case of extreme deprivations and tribulations.  We find it convenient to joke with serious matters just to ignore or dull the pain. This is what advertisers have over exploited by the excessive use of comedians for all manner of products including medications.

Smartphones and yam

There is no physical semblance between smartphones and yam and they do not share anything in common.  That is why the choice of this national staple which has graced our dining tables for generations for ridicule in that advert baffles the mind.

Is it another way of telling us that yam, which is one of the few things we can proudly say we produce here should be treated with contempt as we have done to other locally-produced and manufactured items?

In any case, no matter how much we worship smartphones,  like many other things in our shops, they are not manufactured here.  Not even the type labelled as yam could be produced here. We have always been consumers of things we do not produce.  This is nothing  to be proud about.

We can choose to be proud agents of products from China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore,  Brazil or any other foreign country.   But let us do so in a more innovative and creative manner.  In advertising,  you can say anything nice about your product but without making reference to another. 

Our yam is our yam and we shall never drop it!

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