For years Bhattacharya had worked on the PepsiCo-owned mango drink brand Slice. She recalls, “I killed myself over Katrina Kaif’s lower lip and how should that drop be. And I felt that there was very little criticism that came my way then. That’s because I was doing something for the male gaze. It’s so crazy that when I did the same thing for the female gaze, some people think it is wrong. But I think if images of a woman eating need parental guidance then there’s something wrong with society. Why can’t we see a woman enjoy her food and eat alone like no one’s watching?”
Two brands skipping the usual celebrity suspects and giving female athletes the attention they deserve
Haier’s Silent Performers
The campaign for Haier’s high-performance and less noise generating range of washing machines, celebrated Indian athletes who don’t get as much attention as their male and female counterparts in sports such as cricket and badminton.
“Silent performers” like Dipa Karmakar, Hima Das and Simranjit Kaur (Indian boxer) go about their business with dedication and with no expectations except a solid performance in their respective arena. A feature of this breed of athletes that the film, created by Famous Innovations, brought out beautifully, like in the choice of not layering the creative with a laborious and preachy voiceover that’s typical of this cluttered genre of advertising.
N.S. Satish, senior vice president – sales & marketing, Haier India, tells BE that they specifically wanted to bring on board individual athletes and not players in team sports and even toyed with the idea of removing the brand’s ‘Inspired Living’ signature line at the end of the film. To create what could be called a silent film. But, he says, “We had to adhere to some brand guidelines.” It checked all the boxes in his book: Choice of celebrities, connect to brand and product proposition, and craft. He adds, “The campaign has really turned the brand in a different direction and we will be working more in the space of women and sports.”
Under Armour’s The Story of Will
Under Armour’s “Story of Will” featured the Indian Women’s Ice Hockey team. The performance-centric sportswear brand has a rich history of celebrating underdogs (given that UA was itself an underdog) and women who fight various odds, naysayers and social media trolls to make their mark on the world. And so UA kicked off its official ad journey in India with the #IndiaWill campaign in style with women from the national ice-hockey team.
From Around The World
Renault celebrated the hatchback Clio’s 30-year anniversary with an ad that tells the love story of a couple. Nothing unusual, except it’s a tale of two women in love with each other. The narrative packs in their entire lives and captures the highs and lows of the relationship in a heartwarming film that left people a puddle of tears of joy apparently. Still they managed to fight through the waterworks to shower countless heart emojis on the ad. But Clio’s ad had its critics too, mainly people in advertising, or on its periphery, putting the commercial in the “epic delusional ads” category where it had the Subway ‘Boyhood’ ad for company. However, it was hard to dismiss the message of celebrating diversity and love.
The leader in saccharine Christmas holiday content, Hallmark Channel found itself buried under an avalanche of criticism when it rejected wedding company Zola’s ad featuring a same-sex couple. The network felt the sight of two women celebrating their marriage was too controversial and distracting, according to reports. People disagreed. And Hallmark quickly backtracked and then apologized for pulling the commercial after people expressed their outrage online. President and CEO of Hallmark Cards, Mike Perry, wrote on Twitter, “The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision.” At times like these take a moment also to celebrate the marketers who are exploring various LGBTQ themes in mainstream work, despite opposition from various sections of society.