Responsibility and Liberty in Advertisements

Airtel recently (March 2016) launched a series of Television Commercials (TVCs) bringing out the benefits of it’s 4G network.

This followed by a slew of Ads featuring the Airtel 4G Girl (if you don’t know who, then Google this). So now, apart from claiming a lifetime of free telephone bills (I don’t know how many people did attempt the Airtel 4G Challenge), the new set of advertisements talk about how broad and wide the reach is of the Airtel 4G network.

The Airtel 4G Himalaya Ad

Take this ad for instance –

The Ad claims that Airtel is be India’s widest 4G network. However,  if you have been an Airtel user, then even in the middle of the city you will be facing network outages.

The Real Deal

The truth of the matter is that all telecommunications networks in India are providing extremely poor coverages in both rural and urban locations.

Coverage is a factor of how many towers can a company erect, each tower costs a fair amount of money (capital expenditure) and every time an organization such as Airtel (or Vodafone for that matter) spends efforts on building infrastructure instead of acquriing more sales, their bottom line takes a hit.

In cities, the private organizations are not allowed to erect as many towers due to a mutlitude of reasons. In the end, all the networks in T1 cities are pretty much providing the same shitty coverage. I can say this with a fair degree of confidence since over the past decade I have shifted from Airtel to Vodafone to Idea, and nobody … I repeat not one of these operators have complete coverage in my city (Mumbai).

Is this about Coverage?

This is not a bitching post about the bad coverage I get on my phone. I have Twitter for that!

However, the way we see ads in almost all mainstream media, it makes you think, should’nt organizations or media take some kind of responsibility into what’s been shown to people lately?

What’s to stop someone from selling Snake Oil through such a TVC … oh, wait … we already have Infocoms being airted during graveyard shifts.

The Responsibility

The minute a channel, a media publication, a celebrity or an organization sends a message to the masses endorsing a particular product or service, there are gullible pockets of audiences who for some reason believe that message and purchase that product.

Case in point – this ad above, another one that comes to mind – SRK and IIPM.

Does having access to such large a base mean blatantly monetizing services or products you personally do not believe in? Is there not a responsibility that such channels (losely using the term here) take up to ensure that fraudulent services or promises which are clearly blatant exaggerations not shown to the masses?