Changing Scenario of Indian Advertisements


Dr. Uma Krishna
M.A, PhD


This article envisages the stylistics of Hindi advertising by focusing on the changes in the strategies indicative of the social relationship established between the advertiser and consumers over the period of time. Different social, psychological and cultural factor are shown to govern communication strategies and participant rule in advertising. With the advent of multinational companies language of advertising is exposed to liberalization and commercialization, hence a new trend is set in the Indian sub continent, which is popular as 'Hinglish'. Thus multilingual and transliteration concept has emerge in Indian perspective. As brands go global, markets devise their strategies to ensure their brands are tailored to suit each unique market without diluting their core value and imagery.


Advertising strategy has taken a quantum leap beyond just salesmanship of a product in print. It is like a kaleidoscope. Ever time you turn it you get a different perspective alluring, diverse and genuine. The knack of persuasion in advertising is unleashed but advertising has always been adept to changes with time. It is largely reliant on human inferential abilities. Hence the main goal is not just to inform or persuade but also to establish interactive personal solidarity relationship with the consumers as consumers have been seeing visible and tangible improvement in their lives each passing year. Over a period of time, advertising is undergoing morphing changes slowing and steadily with multi facet approach.

Hindi Advertisements have kept pace with various changes taken place in the strategy, in presentation and in its sensitivity to change. Hindi advertising has mastered the art of adapting to the rapidly changing times. While much is known and written about the conventional advertising, their working and wares, there is no or little knowledge about the pre-developmental history of Hindi advertising.

The inception of Hindi advertisement is not known or cannot be stated clearly. In those days carving on the temple walls, rocks and pillars were used to spread messages. Nearly some two thousand years back, Indian Merchant's 'Silk clothes weaver's co -operative association' had inscribed an advertisement in the form of a poem on a wall of a sun temple in Dasapur (now called as Madsour in Madhya Pradesh) which is considered as one of the oldest advertisements in the world. The advertisement is as follows:

(Which means neither cosmetics nor any beautifying equipment can make a woman more attractive as these silk clothes do.)

Words used in this poetic advertisement belong to ancient languages from which Hindi's growth and development started.

The stylistics of the advertisement was not always the same. Based on the requirement it was subjected to multi dimensional changes. During the inception of advertising few printed lines or printed lines along with pictures was considered as the art of advertising. But today advertising has taken a quantum leap beyond mere sales/marketing of product in print. It is an art of persuasion of human minds through a whole range of communication media. The bottom line of advertising is to make sales by creating positive impression about a product, service or a concept.

Yesteryear advertising was not much focused about idealism, objectivity etc. It was working as single sided missionary and was not much interested in feedback also. The stylistics of those advertisements was also not much attractive. For instance, an advertisement published in 'Bharat mitr' in 17th May 1875 issue is as follows-

"Dath ki davayee bahooth beeja lagakar dekhane se haal maloom hoga, ek bathi ka daam char aana."

Advertisements published after 1902 were reflecting the then prevailing emotions of national awareness and swadeshi movement. For instance the Ad "Bharat ke liya, Bharat mein bana" published in 1906 by Dhariwal Mills worked by establishing feelings, associations and memories in relation to the product. This association comes to mind when one thinks about the product, ideally when one is considering a purchase, if he has to have any effect on his behavior.

After 1920 advertising technology moved towards modernization, product identity were being enhanced showcasing the different properties of the product elaborately using idioms and phrases to create a strong identity for the product.

Advertisements published after 1954 were on large scale targeted at larger consumer group with good visuals and pictures. Photograph and typography were given more importance. To attract the consumer's attention and to linger the image of the product different style and visuals were used. Pictorial and dialogue oriented advertisements created special enthusiasm among the consumers. For instance, this style is seen in the advertisement published in 1959 by a cotton mill company.

After 1985 advertisements had poetic style that gave the strategy and the golden glow of creativity. Idioms and phrases enhance the beauty of the language and therefore they are used as a tool for attracting consumers. The language used in the advertisements is enriched with rhetorical devices, which differ from the ordinary course of idea in order to produce a greater effect. Description of a disagreeable thing by an agreeable name is noticed, or a striking opposition or contrast of words or sentiment is made in the same sentence, which is exhibited by the stylistics element of the language used in the advertisements. Rhyme and rhythm creates soothing effect. Which leaves an ever –green print in the hearts of the consumers.

Anchor white toothpaste has film actor Kajol as its new brand ambassador in its just released new ad campaign. Her selection for the role drew from the fact that she is known for her family values and dedication and sincerely to everything she involves herself with.

Due to the liberalization and globalization, advertising was never so focused as it is today. It is getting focused to draw in people at retail points and advertisers have for new apertures to showcase the marketing message. Innovation is also required in the creative usage of the language, the apparent quality of advertising communication. What really matters is that the communication should drive home its point effortlessly in a way the audience can better appreciate. As a result a new trend called 'Hinglish' is emerging as a language most suited for Indian advertising. For instance, 'Thanda thanda cool cool'. Multi-language and transliteration helps people from different regions to understand the linguistical aspects of the language used in the advertisements without many difficulties. It may lead to an impact on psyche of the human being and touches the emotional equilibrium. And finally the customers succumb in this magical spell of 'Hinglish'. Thus 'Hinglish' the new trend in advertisements, tries to exploit the customers psychologically too through the usage of words in both the languages and it finally aim at the consumers in different cultures.

Today digital advertising is not just online marketing; mobile marketing is also a part of it. There are already over 39 million internet users and the number is set to double in next couple of years. Search engine marketing (SEM), a form of internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages, has gown tremendously targeting Indian web users.

Today, advertising is like a spectrum of lights, which is reflected in every field of the society. Bottom lines are no more uni-dimensional and financial alone. Now new strategy of growth is targeted at reaching out to various levels and bottom lines that are taking into account all the stakeholders. The power of technology and specifically internet, has made it imperative for companies to think like corporations and act responsibly, by doing business in a manner that recognizes the role of the various stakeholders of the business. Thus today the one who showcase his brand in right way remain connected to consumer. The people who make this difference stay ahead in the competition.


1. Chatterjea Gautham, 'Advertising Karma,' (2005) Rupa and Co, New Delhi.
2. Geis Micheal, ' The Language of Television Advertising' (1982) Academics Press, NewYork.
3. Kumar Suresh, 'Hindi in Advertising' (1978) Bahari Publication, Delhi.
4. Pandya. Indu Bala, 'English Language in Advertising' (1977) Ajantha Publication Delhi
5. Parameswaran M.G. 'FCB ULKA, Brand building, Advertising concepts and cases' Graw¹Hill Publishing Company, New Delhi.
6. Pathanjali Premchand, 'Aadhunik vigyapan' (1997) Vani Prakashan, New Delhi.
7. Vedic Vedprakash, 'Hindi patrkarita: vividh Aayam" part1&2, (2002) Hindi book center, New Delhi.

Dr. Uma Krishna
M.A, PhD

Source: E-mail April 22, 2008



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