Even before the start of the month of Ramadan, we see religious, emotional, and deeply pious sentiments being reflected in the majority of advertising campaigns. Peek Freans Sooper Biscuit Ramadan TVC is a fine example of subtle sentimentality and profound emotions.
What makes the TVC compelling is the excellent melody of Dua-e-Taufeeq and, of course, the immersive expressions of both Fawad Khan and the legendary Nadeem Baig. On the surface, the ad is good, even excellent. If you stream the TVC on YouTube and scroll down to the comments, you will realize that this ad is perhaps the best ad ever made. But if you have a thinking mind and a tendency to search for deeper meanings, you may stop and say, “I beg to differ!”
First of all, we as people are hypocrites. Lies, falsehood, fraud, corruption, and exploitation form the core of our social values. But that is beside the point. The point is that we are still not out of the subjugated frame of mind. We want someone to come to our aid and help us in any way possible. The country that is virtually bankrupt is still seeking financial aid from other countries. My question regarding Sooper Biscuit Ramadan campaign is, why is a seller of bangles dependent on the lights of the adjacent shop? Why is he relying on someone he is not supposed to rely on? The story attempts to sell deprivation and helplessness in order to establish moral virtue.
We have made it a habit to celebrate deprivation, destitution, and misery. The idea is intended to show kindness, but deep down, we are telling people to expect help from others when it is not due. We want to be kind, but we don’t make any effort to encourage people to be responsible and self-reliant.
A person with a stall selling anything is a businessman of sorts. A businessman, no matter how small, is far better off than a salaried person in Pakistan. In the private sector, which employs the largest chunk of workers, there are no annual increments. Increments in the public sector are also nominal when compared to exponential inflation. Even in such a dismal state of affairs, sellers do not compromise on their profit margins.
Sooper Biscuit’s Ramadan TVC will be remembered as a great ad, a perfect ad that shows the concern and caring attitude of a Muslim for his fellow Muslim, enough to moisten the eye and soften the heart with compassion. Emotions could be overpowering, and feelings could be irreplaceable, but in the absence of thoughtful ideas, societies collapse under the weight of their own ignorance.