My blog is at risk of sounding like a paid promotion for Philips. A day after writing about buying Philips LED bulbs, I am now writing about their new ad campaign to promote self-examination for breast cancer. Rest assured, though, that it’s just a coincidence, and do consider that I have been blogging so little that I don’t think Philips would even bother paying me.
Anyway. I saw the campaign being mentioned on social media about a week ago, at which time I quickly scrolled past. Then I saw a print ad on the weekend, and successfully ignored that. However, this evening, I heard a radio spot, got intrigued, and came back to look for the video spot. Here it is. It combines some of my favourite things: communicating without speaking, yuppie couples, and kitchens.
The radio ad I heard this evening isn’t quite as impressive. For starters, the husband in the radio ad seems far less competent. Unlike his counterpart in the TV ad, he can’t just make food by himself. He calls up his wife to ask for the recipe for dal. This left me wondering:
- Why on earth do you need a recipe for dal of all things?
- If you have to call up your wife to get instructions for making dal, don’t you end up wasting almost as much time of hers, and possibly more, as you save by making dal?
- Seriously, why couldn’t he just look up YouTube, any of the multiple food channels on television, a cookbook, or just search the internet for a non-video recipe?
- Will this incompetent chap who doesn’t even know how to learn how to make dal eventually follow in the noble footsteps of Samar Halarnkar and Max da Vinci and become a married man in the kitchen on a frequent basis, or is he just going to do this whenever his wife needs to self-examine?
- What about lala couples who have domestic help to do all the chores anyway?
- What about ladies who are widowed, have husbands who are living away from them, or aren’t married at all?
And, along with all of this, well, good for Philips India, but what made them decide on this good cause in particular?
I suspect that the whole point of the campaign is not to get more women examining themselves for breast cancer (though that would be a nice and positive side effect if it happened), but to get more husbands doing chores (which is valuable for its own sake and would also be excellent if it happened).
Now, telling husbands to do chores only for ten minutes a month may not seem like a lot as far as the wife is concerned. There is of course the possibility that the husbands will discover (to their own surprise) that they like doing things for their wives on a regular basis, or even that they enjoy doing the chores for their own sake. (Don’t knock that last possibility. Ironing is extremely relaxing.) And even if they don’t really enjoy it, maybe husbands will do it out of sheer competitiveness if they see other husbands doing it and bragging about it. Let us wait and watch.
Why, though, does Philips want husbands doing household chores? What’s in it for them?
My conspiracy theory is that they are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, a desire for less breast cancer, or a desire for more equitable marriages; but to sell the household appliances they make. What Philips is probably counting on is that husbands who have never done chores before will, once finally exposed to actual housework, realise what their wives have been going through and then rush to automate all these tasks as much as possible. Having realised the difficulties involved in getting ironed clothes, warm daal, or clean floors, they will at long last get better tools to achieve these, and immediately purchase mixies, vacuum cleaners, air fryers, or steam irons; to name but a few products in the Philips India range. Meanwhile, their wives, who had been wanting better equipment all this while but couldn’t convince them, will probably roll their eyes, grumble a bit about how long it took for the husbands to wake up to reality, and afterwards, hopefully, enjoy the benefits of increased automation, even if not the benefits of their husbands doing the work regularly.
If my conspiracy theory is correct, clearly somebody at Philips India is extremely subtle and patient in expanding their market size. Respect, I say. Respect.