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OP-ED: Re-writing scripts

  • Published at 08:04 am August 12th, 2021
time hourglass

Everything changes with time

Creativity is to be encouraged. Stimulation of the mind by what happens around us, seeing through happenings, enhances outputs. That applies to opinion-based creativity that gets other grey cells working. Literati have through centuries followed this tracing new ways through changing trends. 

Universality is no longer unbound by time, for all that dissenting views might argue. Isms too, have changed from a century ago. The hide and seek of shadowy overt and covert plagues in ways very different. The definition of a brand too, must change from mete muscles attributes. That must also lead to difference in how and why brands are presented. This is where creativity that sends the wrong signals have to be restrained.

Censorship is frowned upon by creative minds. Unfortunately, like it or not, that too is a necessity in certain times and cases. If the Sergei Skripal poisoning case can be censored from inquisitive media follow-up on security grounds, so can brand communications on misinformation and psychological considerations. “Whitening” creams are now barred for the inferiority case they breed. Claims of “studies” proven to physically, mentally, and size-wise improve a section of children over others didn’t hold good in a court of law and has been discontinued. 

If making unproven claims are wrong, so are visualizing anti-social activities. That a particular energy drink can prevent extortion is laughable. 

Whether that particular drink can lead to intoxication should certainly be mentioned as disclaimers. That it isn’t leads to suspicion about the intent of the advertisement. 

Colloquialism is a newer form of creative communication provided it’s not derisive and doesn’t lead to casting aspersions on other similar products. Is the cupboard becoming bare, or are creative persons not given time to think things through? The impact of such communication on growing minds can probably be better explained by psychologists. 

Regulatory restrictions do constrict creative thought and there are some great examples, especially in the telecommunication sector where even with restrictions, messages can go through. The galling bit is the often illegible small print advisories that say “conditions apply.” The time that consumers must take to unravel those “conditions” are unfair additions to selling a product or service communication. 

The home delivery of services often leaves consumers high and dry either through wrong items or delays. A pizza delivery company overseas is confident enough to say if they don’t deliver within the time-frame committed at order time it’s on them! 

The pharmaceutical companies are essentially barred from communications on drugs in most countries. Their marketing has been shifted to groups or one-on-one sessions with prescribing physicians. 

Creativity has led to having their medical representatives crowding chambers and actually asking unassuming patients which medicines were prescribed. Medical records and prescriptions are bound by doctor-patient privilege only to be disclosed in a court of law. 

There has been either a slackening of rules or a quiet violation that some products can actually be communicated. Perhaps the biggest fraud is committed on the man on the streets. 

Dubious concoctions and cosmetics portending unusual efficacy are sold, at discount (sic). Produced, probably in more questionable conditions, there’s nothing to prevent them from selling merrily. 

England has introduced regulations that prohibit fizzy drinks and sodas from being advertised till late at night. 

That and a “sin” tax on sugar is designed to prevent undue exposure among children in a country where obesity is becoming a worry for physicians. 

The creative minds don’t come up with adequate advisories on the longer term demerits of consuming too much sugar. Fast food is as guilty in obesity but hasn’t had the axe cull them yet. 

The universality of equality, fraternity, fair-play and all that flowed from the pens of the revered stopped long before. Their successors in the mission seem to have lost their way, writing to make a living than to help people live. Literary-wise or commercially, the script needs to be re-written.

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.

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