Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Thursday, March 24, 2005
I am sure you have read about the hoo ha in our Parlimen about the Ugly Malaysian. In fact, some of the Members of Parliament were sure it was about the Ugly Malay.

The problem with commercials, more so TV commercials is they tend to make people emotional. Good ads are designed that way. They are supposed to stir some emotion in you. If the ads have the same effect as peeling paint, then they are not good ads.

The other thing about commercials is, they have many messages. It is not just about why you should use a particular brand of soap. That is the primary message. There are more messages in an ad that sometimes the scriptwriter didn't even think of. Ok, let me elaborate a bit. Just think of a drink commercial where the actor or actress drink straight from the bottle. The primary message is it is cool to drink the drink. The other message is, it is cool too to drink straight from the bottle. Forget what your mom told you about pouring drinks into a glass first. Then there were a few commercials from a soft drink company where an adult was painfully played out by a group of kids. In that commercial, the primary message is it is fun to drink that particular drink. The other message is it is alright for kids to make fun and bully an adult. Now you are getting my drift.

Back to the offending Ugly Malaysian/Ugly Malay commercial, maybe some people got the message that thin -goateed, tie-wearing, Mydin-raiding young man is uncaring and selfish. Some thought the message that all Malay young men are uncaring and selfish. The Medium is the Message, said McLuhan. By the same token, how many of you got these messages from the same commercial:
1. All Indian women on LRT are pregnant
2. Chinese Ah Sohs are kind to blind people
3. All blind passengers are fat Malays

Think about it will you?

Apologies to atok and other friends overseas. Click here for backgrounder.