BY ALI NAQVI –
Do you remember the time when ARY launched Jeeto Pakistan a game show hosted by Fahad Mustafa? Well, it was difficult to digest back then, a game show which made little sense. It was also the first hosting experience for Fahad Mustafa. As the years went by the show gained the rating that no TV show had ever achieved. The show is now billed as the biggest game show of Pakistan.
Game shows in Pakistan have been few and far between. The most memorable and longest running was PTV’s Neelam Ghar by Tariq Aziz. Starting in 1975 the show took up different names. Neelam Ghar matured into Tariq Aziz Show and much later Tariq Aziz Show evolved to become Bazm-e-Tariq Aziz. Beyond doubt, Tariq Aziz was the most successful game show host of his time.
It is hard to compare Bazm-e-Tariq Aziz with Jeeto Pakistan. Although these shows are similar in nature yet they are miles apart from each other. Neelam Ghar first initiated the idea of commercial sponsorships in South Asia. There were sponsored questions that promoted branded prizes. Brands like Philips, Hitachi, Jam-e-Shirin, Rooh Afza and many others used to be the regular feature of the show. It took participants months of rigorous Q&A sessions to qualify for the final to win 800cc car. Winning a car in Neelam Ghar was like climbing the Mount Everest. But now the game has changed. Jeeto Pakistan has turned the tables. There are more brands and greater rewards for trivial fun games. If you dance like a mad man, you could win a motorbike. Pick a number, a blind guess, and you can strike gold. It is now as simple as that. The concept of any game show is to have a healthy competition. A participant is supposed to have a certain skill set to actually earn a prize.
Jeeto Pakistan makes a lot of sense if you look at it from the marketing and advertising perspective. The show is heavily funded by advertisers, commercial brands and sponsors. In that sense it is not a game show rather a “show of brands” by Fahad Mustafa. There are brands ranging from food and beverages to household items, electronics, automobiles and more.
In retrospect, Fahad Mustafa’s Jeeto Pakistan is a reflection of how commercialism and marketing has penetrated our lives without us noticing it. The star power of Fahad Mustafa is used to great advantage pulling the audience of all kinds male and female, young and old. But what puzzles a thinking mind is that amid the dazzling advertising stunts and marketing gimmickry are we going barren on the intellectual level? Are we encouraging and rewarding people with the lowest IQ? In a way, yes. No doubt commercial activity and innovative marketing is a healthy sign for business and economy, but it needs to be seen how we keep the spirit of learning, competition and hard work alive in the nation.