Red FM, Don’t Be Ridiculous

Red FM Horny Campaign

This morning, when I boarded the office transport, I settled down in my seat quickly. I plugged in my earphones and let music fill my mind, my eyes shut to the world outside. There is a very strong reason I cannot keep my eyes open for certain stretches of the road to office.

Red FM has put up perfectly horrendous signboards all over the road. They scream in cacophonous unison: “Don’t Be Horny. Horn Nahin Red FM Bajaa”. This is supposedly an anti-honking campaign addressed at the impatient city commuters. Now, I don’t deny that we are a bunch of helpless honkers who always presume the vehicle in front loves being stationary. But, but. All that these signboards ever remind me of is a bunch of notorious kids in my school, who got so fixated with the Biology lesson on reproduction that they couldn’t read a single line aloud without lapsing into a fit of giggles.

Back in school, there was a time when the dictionary was everyone’s favourite book, and the “sexy” words would be looked up with single-minded concentration. Luckily, the more humdrum of words hadn’t yet associated with their sexual meanings – “come” was still the verb for arriving at a place, and “wet” brought to mind rain-clouds in the sky. There was secret joy in figuring out that “sex” didn’t just mean gender, and “pant” become infinitely cooler when appended with a “y”. Likewise, it’s so cool that a boring horn can become sexy and attention-seeking when forcefully converted into an adjective. Except it really isn’t. Except we are adults.

Are we really living such sad lives that associating everything with sex will get bells ringing? Well, the sellers of deodorants, shaving cream, vests…(and heck, cement!) would agree. It seems a lot of us have been in time warps ever since we hit puberty, and never grew up from there. What is sadder is that campaigns such as these get adopted by people real quick. No, not in essence; they still honk as if they rule the road. No, the real fun is to harass people of a less “cool” generation, who preferred reading books without hearts on the cover: “Hahaha, Uncle is so horny!” It seems like such a witty joke to make, especially for people who have no idea who the PM of India was before Narendra Modi.

Anyway, keeping my eyes shut temporarily is working for me now. As for what to bajaao, I shall stick to my MP3 player, thank you. The music that plays on FM lately is almost as jarring, if not more, as the honking on the road.


14 thoughts on “Red FM, Don’t Be Ridiculous

  1. It is cheeky!! But, whether is in bad humor or not – I don’t know anymore!! :-/
    I feel I am so out of touch with what’s happening back home that I cant comment

    • Pixie, I understand where you’re coming from. I too often feel a sharp disconnect with a lot of pop culture. Have we grown too old? 😛
      And yes, concepts of good and bad humour are also getting warped very swiftly these days!

  2. I kind of did a double take when I saw this, but I guess India needs to be a little more “tolerant” with tongue in cheek humor… Don’t know about the other ads though. I have given up

  3. Ok I am going to be opposite .. yes you can bash me sorry.. I found it funny and maybe just maybe people will get the message. ..

    Although I also understand what sort of rubbish they put in ads.. Some are simply ridiculous. …

    • Bikram, prepare to be bashed. 😛 No, but seriously, I agree that some of these word puns they use in media are fine, even funny. But sometimes, it becomes a bit too much, too unnecessary, and, like you said, ridiculous.

  4. Such cheeky advertisements are sad and failing big time in delivering the message they were created for. Though they might pump up the ‘much talked about’ or reach but they definitely leave no positive impact. Worse still is being a parent in such an era.
    When Pari often asks me as to whats going on in a particular advertisement that is meant to be selling something as simple ( for her understanding) as a deodorant, i am often left thinking how to explain the logic behind what she just saw.
    Great post DB, am glad you chose to write on a topic I believe so many of us ponder about.

    • Exactly, ME. While such advertising may be talked about and “trending” on social media, is that what we always want to achieve? Don’t we any responsibility towards our future generation? Oh the deodorant ads are often so bad they are ridiculous. But you know what, that’s at least a product we have now started associating with bad advertising. But when even regular things such as an anti-honking campaign need sex to get people going, it really is sad.
      Thanks again, ME. I am glad you found the post relevant.

  5. So, as a child, my father used to encourage me to read road and shop signs to improve my reading ability. I wonder if this ad was done some two decades ago, would I be asking him the meaning of horny, or just reading it out loud, every time I laid my eyes on it? That’s a sad advertising campaign from people who’ve previously shown intelligent wit.

    • Adi, ditto! My Dad and I would also read signboards aloud all the time – we still do. I guess it has become a bad idea to discuss popular media and advertising anymore. I also agree with you on how this is such a nosedive from a brand that has shown wit in the past. I blame this rat race for being the coolest, if dumbest, around town.

  6. I found the line very cheeky too. My instant reaction was…..Are you seriously going to promote this!?
    I feel sad for today’s generation. Poor things, they are getting subjected to forced conversion into adulthood by such irresponsible behaviour.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Varsh. Kids today are being pushed into adulthood far too soon; childhood innocence has become a thing of the past. Don’t we have a responsibility towards our youth anymore, or is this the kind of behaviour we want them to develop growing up?

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