Haath, Muh aur Bum iss brand me hai dum!

When I first saw the ad, I was pleasantly shocked. How did this trusted old brand which has been around for as long as I can remember use the word “bum”. That too on main line television with millions of people watching in a family set up. This word has never been used in a family targeted campaign or in any other advertising context before, even for toilet paper (where it makes sense) in any part of the world.

The problem is how you publicly deal with mentioning it, err… Derriere is a civilized way that does not offend, buttocks for example is a non sexy word used by the medical profession and associated with injections, back side is associated with a kick in the … and of course the A word falls under the unmentionable cateogory.

Considering the creative problem one understands the difficulty of using a decent word to refer to the posterior. The way the word bum has been used in the Unilever ad context is to be appreciated. Kids playfully pointing to their Derrière and smiling innocently simply takes the perceived offence out of the word. Any adult saying the word would have looked crass and vulgar, moreover the moral police would have shouted from the rooftops and forced the company to withdraw the ad. But none of this happened because the creative team took a calculated risk and given the context of the swatch bharat campaign initiated by the government all seems to be well with this piece of communication.

As usual, one person told me that rural India does not know the word bum and would feel offended if they knew the meaning. Anyway, as they say, what’s done cannot be undone and one hopes more creative teams take this cue and kick some creative backside in the days to come.

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