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Tourism Ministry finally hits the bottom (with their new safai advert)

January 5, 2015

The horrible advertising so often coming out of radio has found a new low: The Swachchh Bharat or Safai advertisements from Tourism Ministry.

‘Singing a dirty song’

When I heard the first one, it started with someone singing in a really pathetic manner (they dragged on for a while too), and then the narrator came in talking to the audience about the song being ‘ganda’. Which is supposed to imply bad as opposed to ‘saras’ which would mean great in such a context. At that moment I couldn’t guess where it was going. Then came the twist… “The song may ganda (un-clean, the other meaning of ‘ganda’), but at least keep your surroundings clean.” Issued in public interest (read torture) by Ministry of Tourism. Bad copy writing, and nothing more added by the way it was made.

‘Giving safai to others’

I survived that one, somehow. Then last week, came one even worse. Like the first one, it had the element of surprise, about a person having to give ‘safai’ (explanation) to others and to self all the time. So it started better than the earlier one. But again, the twist feels like being hit by a moving train. “If you are so interested in giving safai (offering explanation of your acts), why don’t you clean your surroundings?” Issued in public interest, again, by the same guardian of public interest-the tourism ministry.

It doesn’t connect to the audience, it doesn’t connect to the core content of cleanliness, it doesn’t brand the advertiser – Simply put, it just doesn’t make sense.


So, there is a tiny chance that this campaign was an oversight of massive proportions – in which case, we wonder why it is still allowed to continue. Or, more probably, it was made on half a shoe string budget. By a team that didn’t spend on that ad even that half a shoe string worth of effort or money. It is oh so sad to be out of money and out of talent at the same time. There is, also, a third possibility – that this is an orphan forced onto someone who didn’t care much about it. Just afraid of, or, trying to please the superiors, by spending the budget.

I give better marks to the young team that made Swachchh Bharat ad, reviewed @

From → Advertising

  1. This is a shocker!!!
    While on this please read my post on “Some recent Stand out ideas in Indian advertising”. Feedback most welcome.

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