Media Watch ‘MAA’vellous Tales: Ever-Growing Obsession With Mothers In Advertisements

‘MAA’vellous Tales: Ever-Growing Obsession With Mothers In Advertisements

This repeated use of the mother figure in advertisements forces a moral obligation over real-life mothers who apparently don't possess supernatural skills like that of the multi-tasking ad-mother.

Soaked up in sweat with hair still dripping with fragrant shampoo’s water, the ‘Maa’ hops around the house to prepare oats for breakfast with all the nutrients in equal proportion. She knows how to do that because apparently, she is also a paediatrician, a part-time dentist, a world-class cook, a career counsellor and a general physician who has done her PhD in kitanoo (germs) science.

Donned in white creaseless clinic coat, she tells the prodigal son about the mosquito repellent creams, body lotions, hand-wash liquids and hand-sanitizer soap, because the ever-busy ‘Dad’ has left the house early in the morning and he’s too ‘busy’ to help with housework.

After playing with the baby and imparting some Shishu-Suraksha-Gyaan to non-existent beings, she collects all the white clothes to shove it into the washing machine because apparently, only white clothes need cleaning. The surf whisks her midriff leaving a trail of sparkling white colour and voila! The clothes are done.

Ting tong! Along comes a muscular stranger (with a blue cap) who wants to check the bathroom in the middle of the day. Maa wears the white coat again and comes out with a big magnifying glass to show the 0.01% germ on the toilet seat to prove her cleaning skills.

The muscular guy smirks and takes out a radiant blue bottle of toilet cleaning bottle overlooking the 0.01 figure. Maa rejoices because perhaps the guy will now clean up the shit. He laughs at her and hands her over the bottle and woof! he is gone.

Why has the advertisement industry turned mothers into such a unique selling point?

As ridiculous as it may sound, but the advertisement industry loves to place mothers anywhere and everywhere. Ranging from energy drinks and toothpaste to mosquito repellents and mattresses, mothers are everywhere with their domestic supernatural powers fixing everything around them.

From preparing the best breakfast with the right amount of nutrition in it to keeping the floor clean and tidy, mothers know it all (as per these ads). Good day had been selling the nutty and buttery biscuits for so many years until one day, the creators got stung by the mother’s bee and sprinkled some ‘Mom’s Magic in it.

Aashirwaad Atta has also recently undergone a mom makeover and has nicely turned wheat flour into a mother’s blessing (Aashirwaad! Get it?) because fathers are busy making their ‘lives large’ with sparkling energy potions.

Also Read: The Humiliating Model Of Motherhood In ‘Aradhana’

The extent of creativity reached its zenith when All-Out came up with an ad slogan which equated mothers and their vigilance with its new fan induced model which drives out the mosquitoes through its power. In a nutshell, the aim is to bring in mothers in any way possible because you can’t add bouts of emotion into your advertisement by simply talking about how good your product is, can you?

The trick is to think of analogies that can be placed on motherly emotions. So mothers are vigilant, adept at multi-tasking, ever ready to make sacrifices for you and will always be there with you no matter how good or bad the situation is.

Now replace all these characteristics with any merchandise’ features you wish to buy in the supermarket. How about a winter body lotion which keeps you warm all day and protects your skin from harmful radiations? Nivea came up with a similar idea where the mother is shown smearing white lotion on the kid’s face promising that she will always be with him.

Apart from this, big brands like Bournvita and Sleepwell took this motherly affection and vigilance to a yet another level by turning them into undying machines who are always on their toes and not ready to compromise on anything when it is about their child’s well-being. Sleepwell promised to provide mother-like warmth with their mattresses and showed mothers as night owls who enjoy staying up all night. Bournvita has been consistently showing mothers toiling hard with her son’s rigorous practice sessions with taglines like- ‘Jab tum giroge to mai bhi girungi‘ (when you fall, I fall).

Strange how only mothers are willing to fall down and bear the burden. It is apparently unjustified to show fathers as dispassionate guardians who don’t like helping their sons with their marathon practice early in the morning.

The unwanted burden of housework

Why are only mothers so concerned about the germs on the floor, utensils, clothes, child’s mouth and armpits? Where are the fathers in those advertisements? Why don’t we see fathers asking their kids to keep their hands clean? Are they not an equal contributor in the procreation process and the household?

So mothers are vigilant, adept at multi-tasking, ever ready to make sacrifices for you and will always be there with you no matter what.

Alas! we rarely see fathers fighting kitanoo attacks in the advertisements. They are only found racing through the hills in fancy cars or using the wrong toothbrush with bristles positioned at incorrect angles or just making their ‘lives large’. On the other hand, mothers are seen fighting germs, preparing healthy and tasty snacks or just sanitising every nook and corner of the house. 

There is no denying that mothers always go an extra mile when it comes to fulfilling their child’s never-dying desires and it is her duty to attend to her child’s requirements. But the responsibility of rearing a child needs to be shared among other family members as well. This repeated use of the mother figure in almost every advertisement forces an unwanted moral obligation over real-life mothers who apparently don’t possess supernatural skills like that of the ad-mother who works incessantly for her family’s well-being.

Also Read: Femvertising: How Corporates Co-opt Feminism To Sell Us Things

Featured Image Credit: Twitter

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