What’s Common Between #SushilBahu, #ZimmedaarPati, #BhaleChacha And #JaagrukGrihni

Max Get More uses 'Adarsh Balak' styled illustrations to define 'sushil bahus', 'bhale chachas', 'zimmedaar patis', and 'jaagruk grihinis', but the posters are regressive and sexist

Max sushill bahu poster

They all shop at Max Get More partner stores and earn five times more rewards. In case you are a ‘Sushil Bahu’ or any of the above mentioned personalities, you would know.

Max Get More is a haven for shoppers with its partnership with 5000+ stores across India, that reward you with points every time you pay with your debit or credit card. These points can be redeemed for products or services: you can book movies, hotels, bus and flight tickets, or even recharge your mobile or DTH.

Inspired by the ‘Adarsh Balak’ posters that went highly viral last year, Max has re-imagined a new character set where the protagonists do things as per what is deemed right for that character set. The posters are reminiscent of school text books of a bygone era, like in Adarsh Balak, but the message is ‘salesy’.

So a ‘Sushil Bahu’ watches dharmik serials on television and shops at Max partner stores. She calls out to her other half with ‘Aji suntay ho’ and shops at Max partner stores. She prepares ginger tea upon waking up in the morning and shops at Max partner stores. See what I mean below:

And then there is ‘Bhale Chacha’ and this is what he is defined as. He folds his blanket as soon as he wakes up in the morning and shops at Max Get More. He wears full-sleeved shirts and shops at the same place. He only plays badminton and only shops at you know where!

 

How can one forget the ‘Zimmedaar Pati’ who is burdened with all kinds of ‘zimmedaari’. He is that guy who loves his children but never expresses it, he is that guy who drinks milk before going to sleep, he is that guy who brushes his hair with a side partition and he shops at Max Get More, where else! Max Zimmedaar pati 1 Max Zimmedaar pati 2 Max Zimmedaar pati 3

Cool illustrations but regressive, sexist, uncool message

An ‘Adarsh Balak’ went viral on the social web purely on the basis of its content – sometimes funny, sometimes satirical but always witty. The definition of an ‘adarsh balak’ and what he must do and what he must not is well brought out in the archaic text book style of illustration. But, merely copying the illustrative concept will not make a brand poster go viral.

Every comic illustration needs to be backed by a relatable story and a witty, humourous caption. Moreover, it needs to connect with its target audience. The so-called ‘sushil bahus’, ‘bhale chachas’, ‘zimmedaar patis’, and ‘jaagruk grihinis’ seem to be a figment of somebody’s imagination and can’t possibly exist on the virtual space.

Besides, the tone is massively regressive and sexist. Wearing full-sleeved shirts, playing badminton and folding your blanket first thing in the morning is what constitutes a ‘good uncle’ while a ‘responsible husband’ drinks milk at night, always flashes his side partitioned hair and does not express his immense love for his children. Is Max suggesting that men who don’t do these are either ‘bad uncles’ or ‘irresponsible husbands’!

The brand has not spared women either. Its definition of a ‘Sushil Bahu’ is out of this world: she should watch ‘dharmic’ serials, make ginger tea for everyone, and not call her husband by his name. Well, I do none of the three and my family is just as happy.

Max Get More has installed giant hoardings all over cities with these comic illustrations. There’s one in the South that tries to stereotype the ideal South Indian daughter-in-law: Her life is all about making fresh coffee decoctions and mango pickles in the summer.

The issue here is a lack of brand vision and a forced attempt at building brand affinity by creating a copy of a viral formula without the required insights. Max Get More certainly needs to get more deeper into the psyche of digital folks and what defines witty, progressive, shareable content.