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Ads for Thought: Six Heartwarming Commercials That Project the Changing Face of Indian Advertising

A line-up of some of India’s recent TV commercials reveal that homegrown adverts championing social change are becoming increasingly popular. Here are some of those that moved us and made us smile over the last year.

Ads for Thought: Six Heartwarming Commercials That Project the Changing Face of Indian Advertising

A line-up of some of India’s recent TV commercials reveal that homegrown adverts championing social change are becoming increasingly popular. Here are some of those that moved us and made us smile over the last year.

The advertising sector in India has been showing several signs of having evolved for the better, these days. There has been a spurt of recent commercials that manage to sell the products they’re advertising while still delivering bold, social messages. It makes one wonder — perhaps the fact that advertising is seen as symptomatic of the status quo of a society is not such a bad thing, after all!

While brands such as Havells and Tanishq spearheaded the trend over the last decade, it is heartening to note other efforts by diverse players in the field. For over a year now, NDTV has refused to air commercials for fairness creams in India, instead launching their #FairnessCreamsRacist campaign, a programme that has gained recognition and support nationwide.

As per a survey conducted by Lowe Lintas with MSN India and Cross Tab (2011) point out, 57% of Indian respondents trust brands that do CSR more than brands that do not and 69% of the respondents prefer buying a brand involved in CSR work, compared to a brand that isn’t, all other factors remaining equal.

Although cynics do brand these efforts as duplicitous sales techniques, these companies have to be commended for branding with a humane touch.

1. Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad

This one is a touching vignette depicting typical domestic life across the country. A busy working mother juggles laundry and the dishes, while being on a work call. She makes tea for her husband, caters to her visiting father and clears toys her son has left scattered. The ad plays out from her father’s perspective. As he watches his daughter struggle with domestic chores while her husband does nothing to help. He realises that he himself has set a bad example for his child while bringing her up. He vows to change this, realising that helping around the house isn’t a woman’s job.

The video became so popular that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg called it one of the most powerful ads she’d ever seen. The campaign won a Glass Lion at Cannes in 2015, a Gold Spike and a prize at the Spikes Asia 2015 in Singapore.

 , “It’s not just a campaign; it’s a movement for social change. By raising a mirror to society, the brand is seeking a better world where there’s equality within the household and hence happier households. Where men and women have equal responsibilities and take equal ownership of chores. Laundry is almost the face of the change we are trying to drive across the country,” BBDO India’s Josy Paul who responsible for the creative, told exchange4media.

2. Urban Clap

In a bid against benevolent sexism, urban lifestyle services company Urban Clap released a quirky Men’s Day advert featuring different women in atypical work roles: a female bouncer, bus driver, and mechanic, among others. The advert ends with a heartening message from all women to all men: We don’t need you. We still want you. Happy Men’s Day. From Equals to Equals.

3. Jabong: Be You

This much-discussed sleek ad film by London-based creative and art director Harvey B Brown, in collaboration with Bates CHI & Partners, showcases glamorous shots of men and women making extreme fashion statements. Men with heavy kohl-lined lids and pigtails give the camera sultry glares, women pout with green lipstick and models of different body types and races swish about in sequins and denim. The lyrics leave little unsaid: You don’t have to call me pretty, you don’t deserve my pity, I’m just me.

Asheesh Malhotra, President, Head of Mumbai and Delhi, Bates CHI & Partners explains how fashion is misunderstood in India, and is equivalent to ‘bright pretty clothes’ being put on ‘chiselled bodies’. The intent of the ad, according to him, was to redirect the conversation around fashion, moving beyond the fabric to talk to people who wanted to be fashionable but still comfortable with their bodies, rather than enslaved by trends. “The team delivered a campaign which is rule bending yet not preachy,” he told bestmediainfo.

4. Samsung’s Beh Chala

It’s hard not to bring out the tissues over Samsung’s latest release. Beh Chala features a Samsung customer service specialist negotiate with off-the-map, breathtaking terrain of what appears to be a lost hillside town in North East India. With Mohit Chauhan crooning in dulcet tones in the background, we watch as the determined employee assures the young girl who has lodged a complaint that he will fix her TV on time. The man overcomes bad roads, roadblocks and a herd of sheep but it’s all worth it when he discovers he has been called in to ensure a group of visually impaired children can listen to their friend perform on national television.

Cheil India, the company behind the conceptualisation of this ad, discusses how it was important for Samsung, as brand, to communicate it’s emotional investment in it’s customers. In conversation with The Financial Express, Chief Creative Officer Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar said, “I am glad that the film adequately captures this warmth and commitment while balancing the rational demands of the brief.”

5. Ebay’s #ThingsDon’tJudge

Ghunghroos that don’t judge the gender of their wearers, Diwali lamps that don’t question the religion of those who light them and rings that serve their purpose of declaring love without verifying who the love is felt between: these are just some of the objects that eBay India brands as non-discriminatory in their 2016 TVC. The message? Objects don’t judge, and neither should you.

#ThingsDon’tJudge did remarkably well on this front, meeting the aims of the agency behind it’s creation, BBDO India. Campaign India reports Josy Paul, chairman and CCO as saying, “When we started work on eBay, we had questions: Will our idea provoke conversation? Will the context last longer than the immediacy of the content. Will it influence change? We could feel the energy in the room when this idea came up. Something happened! The passionate team at eBay – along with BBDO team – are doing what we can to create a better world even as we create greater desirability for the 10 crore products that are available on eBay.”

6. Dove India: Let’s Break the Rules of  Beauty

Dove has a global reputation for advocating the appreciation of diverse standards of beauty in the women’s cosmetics market, and their latest in India is no different. This advert asks right out why there is only one standard of female beauty in a country as anthropologically diverse as India.

“Culturally, India is experiencing a real movement towards female empowerment and our research reveals 67% of Indian women and 64% of Indian girls would like to see a more diverse range of beauty represented in the media,” Srirup Mitra, General Manager of Hindustan Unilever told pocketnewsalert. “Over 50 years we have supported women, all over the world, to see beauty as a source of confidence and not anxiety. With our new campaign on Real Beauty we would like to further encourage conversations on the evolving ideals of beauty in India.”

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