BY ALI NAQVI –
Amid social uproar and criticism Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had prohibited the airing of Coca-Cola “Inteha Pasand” TVC.
The notice released from PEMRA Headquarters, Operations Wing is addressed to all satellite TV channels licensees, all FM Radio Licensees and all distribution service Licensees.
The notice states “whereas, it has been observed that Satellite TV channels, FM radios and distribution services licensees are airing a TVC of “Coca Cola”. The content of the advertisement is not only offensive but also tantamount to demeaning Pakistanis, as a Nation. PEMRA is continuously receiving complaints and criticism from general public through Pakistan Citizen Portal and PEMRA Complaints Call Centre on subject TVC.”
The notice further said that the ad is promoting a negative perception against Pakistan and Pakistani nation, the world over. Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan is also sighted in the notice which guarantees freedom of expression subject to certain restrictions.
Freedom of speech is a very important right that each individual or organization has the liberty to exercise but it must also be kept in mind the issues of national importance and integrity.
Freedom and liberty always come with responsibility. Brands that have a network spreading over continents must not neglect the responsibility they have for the country they operate in. Negativity begets negativity. There can be nothing good about extremism.
Creative license is a liberty to unsaddle the horse of imagination. Let it run wild and discover new horizons of beautiful possibilities. Bad ideas can never coexist with the good ones in harmony. They will always be in conflict with one another.
We are unable to harvest good ideas maybe because we have not yet sown the seeds yet. Brand communications can play an important role in inculcating positive ideas in general public. It also benefits the brand in creating equity.
The prohibition of Coke ad by PEMRA is unfortunate in a way that it reminds us that we as professionals have not yet gained a level of maturity that should have been shown by a brand like Coca-Cola.