Marketing Real life

Hatred in advertising, Mumbai’s dark Mirror

Dark and fascinating advert here for the Mumbai Mirror, made by Taproot India found thanks to It shows how the Mumbai Mirror newspaper is hated by those up to no good. We see a doctor conducting illegal organ harvesting, a pair of sex criminals, a woman prostituting young girls and the public scandal of train platforms leading to injury.

It takes a good deal of confidence to market a product as being hated, even if it is by the bad guys. This falls firmly into what I call ‘real life’ territory with its grim black and white world and glamour-free casting (and, by the way, the performances strike me as excellent in this).

Of course real life territory is as artificial as any other. For life as lived by real people is utterly diverse. And here is the Achilles heel of this approach: for it to work, the life it depicts has to be recognisable. Elsewhere this can mean that banal moments like getting wet in the rain, or missing a bus become its currency. The desire for common experience means that gritty realistic portrayals can drift into cliché. But this advert, perhaps because it is from India and a visual culture I am not so familiar with, seems to me to excellently sidestep the expected in a compelling and confrontational way.

By Peter Kenny

I lead a double life. Identity #1. A writer of poems, comedy plays, dark fiction and the odd libretto. Identity #2: A marketing outlier, working with London creative agencies and my own clients as a copywriter and creative consultant.

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