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Debashrita Dey


Truth in Media-Advertisements and How It Stands in this Post Truth Era

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4 months ago
4 months ago
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“What you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

                                                                                                              -Donald Trump


The exponential acceleration of humbug in the space of social media has blurred the thin lines between ‘Opinion’, ‘Fact’ and ‘Truth’, and has become a cradle for toxic polarisation. Truth being an abstract concept that is valued beyond principle and strategies. We are searching for truth while it is at our hand distance. People are trying to make their counterpart evolve according to the farrago of facts or lies that they compose. It is exasperating to listen to people who boast of untruthful things and sometimes the listeners maintain a masquerade of interest as they drive on truth in media in a manner brewing in the heads of millions these days. Media conducts conclaves to discuss the “truth behind the matters of interest” and not the ultimate truth. In present times, truth is determined by facts whose parameters are fixed by solid evidences and even if these are pre-fabricated, people condone them as it consoles them at least for a short period of time.

The advertisements take viewers into the target points of companies and business magnates enable them to reap profit that raise their position. In the world market, the ads of fairness creams and jewellery and textile shops that overshadows the “faith” we keep, with their trust on their pomp being built on the wisdom consumed by flattery of the society that pretends to be “aware of everything”. The contradiction arises when news channels that boast of existing for truth and conducting prime shows debate “who veiled the truth” or when they engage in conducting talks on racisms and gender sensitisation, and in between have commercial ads which are completely hyperreal during these prime shows.

These advertisements are the ones that make women even more fragile and degrade their position in the society. Thus, such prevalent practices need serious ponderings and one must try raising their voice against such societal injustice rather than getting flabbergasted.

To boost up sales, companies fund sentimental advertisements with taglines resonating with at least one particular human emotion for every product. Thus, the two premises put together unveil the fundamentals of the advertisement industry. One can discern the number of products one can possibly buy following the sheer law of resonance.

In the post-truth times, one hardly looks at the packaging of the consumable products to know the truth of its ingredients. Instead, the reality is suspended for the time being in favour of the emotions that the advertisements evoke. 

In 2009-10, BSNL came up with a brilliant ad. It was a metaphysical conceit, a wired landline compared to the umbilical cord of a pregnant woman. This analogy is irrational, untrue but superbly moving.

With the introduction of foreign car companies in Indian metropolitans in the first decade of the millennium, Maruti Suzuki launched a “pan-India” campaign named “Mera Sapna. Meri Maruti”( My Dream, My Maruti) targeting the rural market to avoid further competition in urban and semi-urban areas. The expanse of truth is the fact that an individual’s life’s dream would be limited to owning a car- is questionable.

When consumers see or hear advertisements, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, and federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence. The modus operandi of Media is to uncover and share truths with the public and to inform society about events, people and issues. However, Media has distorted, manipulated, fabricated, propagandized, exaggerated, sensationalised and over and under estimated the truths to gain name, fame, power and monetary gains. With the advent of internet and increasing ubiquity of social media, fake news tends to shape the public consensus as an “alternative fact”. With corrupt power and media strongly joining hands through the rise of paid, partisan and fake news platforms and with technology ruling the roots, our era is confronted with a new set of facts at each turn without the capacity, means and often the freedom of verifying them. We are entering, therefore into an age of fact-less-ness where either everything is fact or nothing is so and where feelings by virtue of being verifiable, carry greater conviction than facts.

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