Television was introduced in Pakistan in 1964. But only in the last 15 years have advertising agencies and production companies actually garnered the potential of showcasing their products on the small screen. After years of struggling, the advertising industry in Pakistan is finally seems to be reaching its creative potential.
Today, if you watch a commercial from Pakistan, it almost seems to be a short film. The commercial will have creative narratives, gorgeous costumes and beautiful scenery, high production values and, last but not least, celebrities from the music, TV and film industries.
This is a great boon for Pakistani society as a whole. A progressive advertising industry can present the Pakistani society as diverse, cultured and all-inclusive and also enhance the image of the country as a whole – something that we seriously need today, considering how Pakistan and Pakistani’s are portrayed in the media today.
According to one of the directors at a leading advertising company in Pakistan “Our films capture a vital sense of place and a lyrical feel for varying periods and landscapes. They are a combination of intelligent concepts, visual beauty, mature directions, fine acting and shrewd casting. The diversity of our work is evident in the range of the commercials and videos we have done. Emotional, comical, earthy, stylish, classical, contemporary, we have done it all.”
The Pakistani advertising industry matches and – in some cases – surpasses its peers in showing audiences how aesthetics and innovative ideas combined can create a memorable commercial, which entertains and highlights Pakistani pluralism. This was recently exhibited by an advert for Cadbury’s chocolate where they incorporated ‘Eid, Valentine’s Day and Christmas in a single ad. This not only shows viewers that there is more than one religion in Pakistan, but also shows that we are an inclusive society.
There are however, always people who delve in the negative. People who complain of the traditional portrayals of family life and gender defined roles in our advertisements. These people should understand that commercials are generally based on reality; only they idealize it. This is the same thing that happens in most of the commercials around the world where a commercial is a means of escapism.
The thing that sets the Pakistani industry apart from others is that it goes a little further than main stream commercialism. What our industry promotes is the most amazing facets of our culture. This power of the Pakistani advertisement industry to blend all aspects of our culture and traditions to showcase a single product gives it its edge and makes it amazingly unique.