February 10, 2016

Indian advertising is evolving for the better with a surge in women centric communication that challenges thesanskari line of thinking. It perhaps started three years back with the revolutionary Tanishq film on second marriage and ‘Hawa Badlegi’ film of Havells fans that showed a man taking his wife’s surname after marriage. But 2015 was the watershed year for bringing the image changeover of the female protagonist to overturn male hegemony. A slew of films whacked the traditional male ego out of the senses.

‘Respect Woman’ series of Havells gave it in the face of people who think women are the home appliances of the house. Biba film introduced the concept of ‘ladka dekhna’ to test the cooking skills of the groom. Titan Raga beautifully portrayed how dumb and losers some men could be in their expectation from women. The ethnic apparel brand Anouk’s long format films touched some of the sensitive but stirring contemporary themes of lesbian relationship, single motherhood, a single woman enjoying her drink in the bar in such a way that it could have given heart attack to thesanskari thekedaars of India. Similarly, Zipy and Dabur Vatika ‘Brave is Beautiful’ films brought out the different dimensions of a contemporary woman’s personality.

It’s going to become mainstream

The trend is here to stay and will only grow stronger. Although objectification of women is still rampant in Indian advertising and marketing, the new trend of putting the women at forefront is like a fresh breath of air. This is a refreshing change for society that would encourage more such marketing campaigns. It is also reflective of the growing maturity of Indian society in acknowledging the uniqueness and empowerment of women. With the increasing number of women working in the advertising and marketing arena, it is a matter of time when such line of communication becomes mainstream.

The reality of women consumer

This is also an acknowledgement of the growing economic power of women as consumers who can confidently and independently take decisions about their lives. But the best thing about this shift in portrayal of women as an equal to men is that it will create a spiral effect in reinforcing the message and will encourage more and more women to break the unfair barriers created in the name of culture and tradition. This will lead to an entire generation of women emerging out from the shadow of men to create their unique identity.

A new challenge for brands

All these developments pose a challenge to the brands on the role they should be playing to ride this social wave of unshackling the India women from the patriarchal bondage. Putting the women equal, if not first, would make or mar the future of many contemporary brands. Time has come for the brands to change the frame through which they view Indian women. The message is clear. In the land of powerful Goddesses, no brand could afford to ignore the growing empowerment of women. Brands that proactively bind themselves to celebrating women by breaking thesanskari barriers are going to reap the biggest rewards. They will soon realize that when you ally women, they gladly reciprocate.

Let the refreshing surge continue.

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