Advertising plays a big role in acting as an agent for social change. The way we think, understand and act is closely linked to the information and stories we consume through mass media. While unrealistic, unhealthy advertising can have very real, harmful effects on our behaviour, advertising with positive messages, depicting an inclusive picture of society can also impact us for good.
A growing trend of advertising with social messages, is challenging age-old norms and beliefs, making way for an inclusive, egalitarian society. Many brands are addressing looming social issues, promoting the need for healthy, safe childhoods, changing mindsets and attitudes of people towards children.
Here are some Indian advertisements that challenge a world where children are not equal.
1. #SHARETHELOAD BY ARIEL (2019)
“Are we teaching our sons what we have been teaching our daughters?” asks detergent brand Airel, in its series of #ShareTheLoad. This 2.5 minute advertisement hits the right chord by addressing gender equality that begins at home, at an early age, where expectations for household chores are a task assigned to girls and not boys. Challenging this patriarchal norm, the protagonist (mother) of the advertisement, sets the pace for a more equal home, by teaching her son to help out with daily chores like laundry.
2. #LOOKBEYONDMARKS BY CADBURY BOURNVITA (2019)
Understanding well the idiom ‘One size does not fit all’, Bournvita took a progressive stance on why children must have the freedom to make a choice for their careers, by playing out a social experiment for parents.
The ad opens in an apparel store, where patrons (parents) come in to buy clothes, to realise that only black XL size t-shirts are available for sale. Startled and annoyed at the lack of options, many of them ask to speak with the manager. These clueless customers are greeted by a child (playing the manager) who asks questions like, “Can you imagine how I feel when I do not get choices for my career? If I am interested in dance, why am I still pressured to score 90 %? Does everyone need to be a topper?”
“Every child deserves a choice beyond marks. This exam time, #LookBeyondMarks,” says the ad, juxtaposing the lack of choice available to parents in an apparel vis a via the lack of choice in career options for children, giving them a hint of what children feel when parents pre-decide how they must live their lives.
3. #LADKIHAATHSENIKALJAAYEGI BY MAHINDRA RISE (2019)
This advertisement aims to dispel the misconceptions around girl child education, by taking on a fresh view on the phrase “Ladki Haath Se Nikal Jayegi”. With the objective to demonstrate the opportunities that result from educating a girl child, this advertisement breaks down patriarchal norms that hinder a girl’s place in society, and every aspect of her life. The rap song, encourages girls to make their own choices, live fearlessly and courageously, busting misconceptions that have held them back.
4. #SHAVINGSTEREOTYPES BY GILETTE (2019)
Breaking away from the gender-specific roles, the ad based on a true story aims to inspire the next generation of men by breaking stereotypes. Interestingly, the ad is shown through a young boy’s perspective, who is surprised to see two girls taking up a razor in a barber shop. Confused by this, he quickly asks his father, “Bapu, yeh ladki hoke ustra chalayegi?” to which his father replies saying that a razor wouldn’t know the difference between a boy and a girl.
The ad begins with the statement, “Bapu kehtain hai, bacche jo dekhtain hai, usse se seekhtain hai.” The son has grown up seeing a disparity in gender roles clearly defined by society where the mother is the nurturer, and the father is the provider and the daughter helps the mother in household chores. This in turn, becomes his reality too. The ad not only talks about patriarchy but also shows how a changed mindset in men can support girls in making choices for their own lives.
5. #GIFTTHEMDREAMS BY LENOVO (2018)
Youngsters today lead a very stressful life; with immense pressure to perform well in academics and get admitted in a top college. Lenovo’s #GiftThemBelief delves into this issue and highlights that it doesn’t matter if a child’s marks are low, since marks alone cannot decide one’s future, instead it is the power of belief and dreams, that is the mantra for one’s success.
Aimed at helping parents look beyond marks and colleges, helping children focus on their natural instincts and passions, will eventually fulfil their ultimate dream.
6. #TOUCHOFCARE BY VICKS (2018)
This film by Vicks, captures how the power of care, a strong support system can go a long way in helping a child become comfortable with who they are, and come face to face with complexities and realities of life. It shows the discrimination a child growing up with a rare condition has to go through from a not so supportive society. The film narrates the story of Nisha, the protagonist, who is born with a rare skin disease. With time, she realises that her disease is only a part of her life, not her identity.