Looks like Micromax never got our memo. In its verve to promote the latest flagship, the A116 Canvas HD, the company has gone with an advertisement that makes the older Canvas 2 ads look cerebral.

The ad for the Canvas HD begins in a prisoner camp, which we presume is big on transparency considering the official cameraman on site, capturing the plight of the prisoners lined up for an execution.

The poor souls have no chance considering the General, watching from the sidelines, has no intention of being merciful. If you are watching the ad for the first time, you have no idea that what’s about to follow is an ad for a smartphone. The soldiers grit their teeth and fire their weapons as the prisoners fall in a heap. A few seconds later, we see one prisoner up close, looking as if he’s just enjoyed Holi. Considering the advertisement’s surreal take on a real issue, we wouldn’t be surprised if this ad was shot immediately in the aftermath of a bhang trip gone wrong.

Not what graffiti should look like

Not what graffiti should look like

When the prisoners realise the bullets are just paint-ball pellets, they rise up in joy, while the stunned guards and soldiers just keep spraying bullets (or in this case, paint balls). At this point, the cameraman brings out his Canvas HD and proceeds to show you how awesome the colours bursting on the prisoners look on the phone. At this point, a menacing voiceover says, “Colours can come alive.” We believe that Micromax needs a primer on figures of speech. Why else would they take their tagline so seriously?

Never mind the fact that after being hit by so many paint-ball pellets doesn't make the prisoners writh around in agonising pain. As anyone who has been a victim of a paint-gun prank will tell you that those are colourful little balls of hurt.

Without even going into the debate of distasteful advertising, we wonder why Micromax doesn’t actually show the phone being used for something halfway good.Even the scene where the colours are coming alive on the phone is a computer-generated image. We understand the need to say something about the phone’s display. After all, not all under-Rs 15,000 smartphones have a 720p display, and as we have found through our review, it is a very good phone for the price.

Really, Micromax?

Really, Micromax?

Even if Micromax had focused only on the features of the phone, the ad suffers from shoddy handling of a sensitive issue. Prisoner camps, torture and executions are real issues in many parts of the world. Somehow, Micromax seems OK with making fun of it, even if it might not draw a single guffaw. One very big criteria even for an inappropriate joke is that it be funny. That is, if you can call this a joke at all.

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