Dear Advertisers, no, we do not start dancing in the streets when we sip on tea!

Published: August 28, 2014

From chewing gums to cell phones, the dancing glitz has now become an integral part of our advertisements.

A few days back, while I was on my way to college, I came across the road near Expo Centre, where the traffic was choked. Naturally, I flipped my hair and smiled at the people in the neighbouring cars; and what do you know, they smiled back!

After that we got out of our respective cars, started dancing in the middle of the street with cups of tea that magically appeared in our hands. We danced and swirled while others clapped and hooted. Then, all of a sudden, the traffic opened up, everyone got back into their cars and drove on happily to their respective destinations.

Ah! What a perfect day.

Isn’t this what our advertisement industry shows us every day?

Of course, the above mentioned incident never really happened and never will, not in Pakistan, not in America or even in some remote corner in Africa; it will never happen anywhere, because no one does that! No one thinks that dancing in the middle of the street, on a busy weekday, whilst sipping on cups of magic tea, is normal.

From chewing gums to cell phones, the dancing glitz has now become an integral part of our advertisements. Here are a few examples where there was absolutely no need to add dance numbers and yet the directors seemed to feel the need for the redundant dance to take place anyway, making some utterly senseless advertisements.

A cellular network advertisement

The TV commercial starts off with the line,

Yun chalay kay ballay ballayInternet kay mazay tu kar lay!

Seriously? This is the 21st century and we’ve been using the internet for a decade now, so I don’t see why this ‘exciting’ piece of information calls for a dance routine and over-the-top celebrations. I fail to understand how any of this will help increase sales for the company.

A specialised tea whitener TV commercial

Before I describe how preposterous this advertisement is, I want you all to know that it has been shot in Turkey and has employed a huge budget in its making, which makes it all the more ridiculous.

Since we, obviously, don’t have terraces, colourful rooftops and small houses here in Karachi, the crew decided to go to Turkey to shoot this ‘brilliant’ (read: lame) advertisement, where everyone decides to ‘beat the heat’ by going on to their respective rooftops, standing directly under the hot summer sun, with, what I assumed to be, piping hot cups of tea and dancing away in hideously bright coloured clothing. What’s more ridiculous is that the advertisement shows this random guy, passing through in his ridiculously lavish car, who decides to join the tea-dance brigade. Someone must definitely have sent him an invite, because he was dressed just like the rest of them.

A chewing gum advertisement

Before you consume this gum, please turn over its wrapper and read the ingredients. I am sure it has some kind of hallucinogens mixed with sucrose. Why? Because this renowned actress, in the advert, bursts into a strange dance moves as soon as she starts chewing it!

This TV commercial, too, is a colossal waste of money. The crew was flown all the way to Thailand just to shoot an advertisement about dancing chewing gum-addicts.

The advert begins with college students, who are already dancing for some godforsaken reason and in the midst of this ‘tiring’ routine (who can blame them? The steps are beyond normal) want to feel revitalise and refresh themselves. At that moment, the renowned actress walks in and, even before tasting the gum, starts dancing, jumping and punching the imaginary punching bag in the air, showing off her rather unusual dance moves.

I still don’t understand the logic behind this advertisement. I don’t think I ever will understand the link between a piece of chewing gum and a rather karate-chop style dance routine.

A tea company’s advert

This advertisement starts off with the view of a really sophisticated place where a man dressed in an ugly yellow shirt is sipping tea. But as soon as he takes his first sip, as expected, the caffeine rushes straight to his twinkle toes. He gets up, starts singing and dancing, and all of a sudden the waiters arrive and open up dozens of yellow umbrellas (to compliment his lovely shirt and dance number, I’m guessing?!)

With people peeking from their balconies (because they have nothing better to do), traffic policemen and random strangers also join the dance and start moving with the tune of the song.

I never knew that a simple cup of tea could have such an effect. It truly is magical.

Another cellular network advertisement

This is perhaps the one advertisement that misinterprets the Pakistani youth to its fullest. We have such intelligent, young adults who are successful in academics and extra-curricular activities alike, yet the only image this advertisement insists on portraying is that of young people whose lives revolve largely around social media, relationship statuses, dancing on the streets and singing songs.

That is not what we, the youth, do.

Dear advertisers, there are so many ways in which you can make a TV commercial creative to endorse your brands; dancing and hopping across the street to some noisy tune isn’t helping. Instead it is annoying your consumers and portrays a rather rude and superficial image of Pakistan. I promise you, intellectually stimulating advertisements will most-definitely up your sales.


Rakshinda Mujeeb

Researcher by profession, writer by choice. She also works as a content writer for an NGO. She enjoys the impact her articles have on readers.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Volas32 .

    I totally endorse your argument.
    Advertisements doesn’t make sense at all these days. Instead of being allured i sometimes feel against that sentiment.Recommend

  • JayMankind

    Have you ever tried flashing a benign smile at a total stranger? The effect is really energizing.Recommend

  • Shafaq

    Truly said………..Good observation.Recommend

  • BBM

    Thanks :) at least someone realizes that these adds are unrealistic and useless. Good oneRecommend

  • Haider

    Our advertising agencies have no bright or innovative ideas in their minds. The only way they know to advertise is to sing and dance. (obnoxious)Recommend

  • Queen

    There is a need to understand the type of consumers who are being targeted through such advertisements. The marketing team must have had done some research to understand the mindset of potential consumers before approving such advertisements for their brands. In today’s world, where people have so many problems, such ads provide few seconds of escape into a world where everything is serene and beautiful. But yes, I agree that there is no need to involve dance moves in all advertisements.Recommend

  • JB

    Nicely elaborated. Your observations are exactly what most of us feel. At times it is even difficult to understand what exactly is being offered in the advert.Recommend

  • WB

    Never read such crap about something one doesn’t understand.Recommend

  • Jutt

    Ha…nicely written, I remember back in my uni days we coined a term “JUTT-BUTT-TISING” a localized word for advertising. This word defines the Paki advertising scene in the best sense. What I presume that they are not targeting the educated and civilized part of the community as most of us can decide whats best for us and what is not, they are rather interested in creating a need among the people who fall for the glitz and glamour and would go ahead and embrace it with a feeling of becoming a part of the upper class.Recommend

  • Working woman

    Every word is a truth . So damn True. Thanks for speaking up.Recommend

  • Saad

    I don’t know what you’re talking about I do it every time when I drink liptonRecommend

  • Mobi

    Dew na kia to phr kia jia?Recommend

  • ayesha
  • ayesha.a

    Dear Writer. we advertisers cannot portray the reality of chewing gum or drinking tea! you wouldn’t like to see that either. nor can you expect our masses to like creative ideas that meet your intellectual level, which by the way you are more than welcome to suggest.Recommend

  • Prof

    “This advertisement starts off with the view of a really sophisticated
    place where a man dressed in an ugly yellow shirt is sipping tea.”

    My son really likes the tune of that ad and the simple dance steps. In fact I’m humming that tune in my head as I type. You know what… I think I’ll go have a cup of tea with him.
    And that is how advertisement works, its not about the song, dance, opulence but about making a lasting impression that the advertisers hope will turn to an affiliation with the brand.Recommend

  • Naeem

    Superb Effort!!!Recommend

  • farhan saeed

    Once i had written same kind of blog on advertisement in pakistan. The reply was ” wanted to let you know that we will not be taking this particular piece, as we have already taken many pieces on this topic, but would love to hear from you again.”Please can ET tell me what is your criteria of publishing articles and blogs. Now don’t you feel that this topic has been published many times in the past.Recommend

  • Pol Priy

    Trust me it’s not the agencies. It’s the advertisers. They are very conservative and don’t want innovative ads. Dancing and singing are considered safe ads and they prefer those.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Agree……most of our TV advertisements are totally devoid of original ideas ( exception being the U-fone ones ).Recommend

  • Javeria

    Dear Author have you got something better to do????Recommend

  • javeria

    Ohh finally a much needed article for pin pointing the concept less, effort less TV commercial. Thank you Rakshinda.Recommend

  • Graham Goon

    An article totally devoid of all reasoning and alas! as with all fluff on Tribune that masquerades as intellectual debates, ultimately useless. A real treatise on whether these ads worked or not would have a better article Recommend

  • jojo

    Oh..I think you don’t know, These advertise for Pakistan. Even we don’t know what for they were Dancing :DRecommend

  • Gp65

    Haven’t seen any of these ads and it would have been nice to see links of the ads.

    Anyway, about internet, you seem surprised that they are making a big deal now. But it only now that 3G has been implemented in Pakistan, allowing internet to be accessed from the phone. The ads I am sure are to inform that audience of what can be done with internet.Recommend

  • Appy Fizz

    while i have never been a fan of singing and dancing to sell brands, a “researcher” would know that many modern day brands test several concept boards with their consumers before “mindlessly” making an ad like the ones you’ve oh so clearly hinted at. Recommend

  • Hassan

    Its normal for me to dance when i have my tea. I usually share the joy with people on the road when i am driving the car.Recommend

  • Melody

    oh i love this blog post! way to go Rakshinda!!!
    yes nobody dances with a cup of tea Recommend

  • Akhter

    The crew decided to go to Turkey to shoot this ‘brilliant’ (read: lame) advertisement*

  • Ahmad

    Links to the ads pleaseRecommend

  • abhi

    Your writeup made me eager to see these ads. Can you share any video links?Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    If you advertise frequently when I’m watching something I really like, it is going to make me want to buy your product or service less.Recommend

  • Abdullah Afridi

    Or they could just do what Ufone does, at least then people might actually ‘watch’ them rather than just changing the channel. However, I don’t see how ads might affect sales cause in the end it’s quality of products and services that really matter and it’s something most of these companies seem to be lacking. Recommend

  • Adina Ismail

    This idea of advertisements was actually roaming in my head since the last couple of weeks, and you wrote it. They actually need to work on this. Companies with good tag lines and a bit of poetry are also running a strong business without any dancing and singing.Recommend

  • Zubia Khurram

    There is no big idea to unique the ad.big idea means no one can steal yhe idea…
    y pakistani media going against his culture …Recommend