Pushing the message on Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
December 28, 2001

THERE has been a welcome improvement in the quality of some TV advertisements produced for some local companies.

In some cases they are almost a quantum leap from the stone age `scroll ads' of a mass of words rolling slowly from the bottom to the top of the TV screen that have long been a major part of the regular advertising fare.

The power and reach of the medium demand that TV operators strive for the highest of standards and those advertising companies that have taken the challenge on board are in a sense leading the way in this direction.

Although clearly patterned after the nationalistic fervour that has swept the United States since the September 11 terrorist attacks and the sustained `Proud to be an American' TV campaigns, the current Christmas greeting TV ad produced for Banks DIH is more in line with the standards expected of the medium.

More than its technical qualities, the concept and the people selected to spread the message of `Proud to be a Guyanese' and love for country deserve praise.

Some firms have come up with 2002 calendars that feature the same concept of encouraging love of country, pride in being Guyanese and appeals against racism and other ills in the society.

The Banks DIH TV ad for the season and the calendars being produced show that corporate Guyana is taking a serious interest in nation-building and bridging the political differences, perhaps clearly recognising that the country cannot really progress if old problems continue to dog it.

Advertisements are designed to sell products, carry special messages that create a yearning in people for products. Advertising is a highly skilled field and its power cannot be underestimated.

While it is true that ads may get people to change their brand of toothpaste or soap powder and fail to convince farmers to change certain old habits, it holds a power that can be used for good or evil.

Guyana has several times in recent years come close to the brink of being dragged into terrible national disaster through the excesses of TV and it is to be hoped that the broadcast legislation and the committee in place can prove to be an effective watchdog against such excursions in the future in the public interest.

When the power of the electronic media can, however, be used in the way it is being employed at this season to spread the call for unity and peace and goodwill - despite the underlying commercial messages - it cannot but help the national cause.

It is an appeal that can reach and stir the minds of especially the young, who if they are taught that differences among them are just superficial and that Guyanese are all one people with one country to build and be proud of, can grow into adulthood carrying that same message, that same outlook.

And in that, there would be so much more hope for a better country in which all would have a better stake.

There can also be nothing wrong in political leaders and others pushing the `Proud to be Guyanese' message throughout the year.