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Indian ads touch upon social issues in order to hit a chord among audiences

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Indian ad promoting their "Touch The Pickle" campaign. Image source: aww.com.au
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New Delhi: A growing number of Indian ads seem to be touching upon social issues like gender stereotyping while marketing products, and hitting a chord among audiences.

Why should laundry be a woman’s job? asks a new TV commercial for a detergent. It features the father of a young, working woman who gives voice to inequality in homes.

So are Indian ads coming of age as far as gender sensitivity is concerned? Yes, say many, although there are still those fairness ads that equate success and happiness with the skin tone of a woman. Or a man.

But coming to the ones that have positive messages riding on them, the latest ad of Ariel’s “Share the Load” campaign has gone viral on the social media, a testimony to its popularity. Sharat Verma, associate brand director of Fabric Care, P&G India, said that commercial approach is a part of a bigger movement of making ads that are more purposeful and meet the needs of consumers.

“According to a study by a private agency that we have supported, two out of three children in India agree that washing clothes are only their mother’s job. And 73 percent married women agree that mothers teach household chores to only their daughters, not sons. But ironically, 79 percent fathers would want to get their daughters married to a man who will help with household chores. This campaign, therefore, takes the conversation on social inequality within households forward,” Verma told reporters.

The best ads also avoid a sermonising tone.

Another one that won many hearts was a sanitary napkin’s ‘Touch the Pickle’ campaign. Challenging the age-old superstition that associated menstruating women with ‘impurity’, the ad hit a chord with the masses and went on to win the Glass Lion at Cannes. A new award category, the Glass Lion seeks to honour work that challenges gender stereotype.

Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO, the agency behind ‘Touch the Pickle’, said that ads with social messages are a response to what is happening in society.

“There are 10,000 videos released in a day around the world. To make your presence felt in such a rush, you have to connect to the audience. We try to identify a conflict, like gender stereotyping or gender inequality in education and resolve it. The brand does well commercially because it touches the people, and the social message also goes through,” Paul said.

BBDO’s ad for Visa Debit Card was another video that challenged one to think of solutions to age-old problems. Set in a village in Rajasthan where girls drop out of school because they have to walk miles to get water, the protagonist purchases sewing machines online, and then gets tailor-made saris for the young women with alphabets on them. This way they can learn to read from each other’s saris while going to get water.

K V Sridhar, chief creative officer, SapientNitro India, says that Indian advertising has come a long way and with people wanting to break norms and challenge stereotypes, the ad world has started reflecting it. “A campaign is all about treatment and if a big brand is able to treat bold concepts subtly, then the message will be disseminated in a better way,” he said. “It will also encourage smaller brands to follow suit,” he added.

Ragini Sharma, an advertising professional, however, opined that ads such as the ones mentioned or which have a social message, do not necessarily imply that change had arrived. “But there is definitely a shift. I mean, for every one ad that touches you or makes you think, there will be three others that, well, don’t. There’s however no denying that movement ads are becoming very popular,” she said.

Paul agrees and adds that the ad world is moving ahead from slogan chanting to becoming platforms of unmet needs. “Honestly, you don’t know what will do well. With social media, you now get the immediate reaction. All you got to do is be as authentic as possible. True empathy creates a following,” he said. (Azera Parveen Rahman, IANS)

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Will Facebook accounts be linked to Aadhaar card?

The social media giant did not ask participants in the test to provide their Aadhaar number

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Facebook is not collecting Aadhaar card data Picture credits: Wikimedia commons
Facebook is not collecting Aadhaar card data: Wikimedia commons

After some reports suggested that Facebook was asking new users in India to enter their names as mentioned in their Aadhaar Card when they sign up for an account, the social media giant clarified that it is not collecting Aadhaar data.

From where the rumor emerged

Facebook said it ran a small test to help new users understand how to sign up to the social network with their real name and connect with their friends and family.

“Some have interpreted this test as a request for people’s Aadhaar information… This is not correct,” the company said in a statement.

“The test, which has now finished, merely includes additional language on the account sign-up page to explain that using their Aadhaar name will help family and friends recognise them,” the statement said.

At the point of account sign-up, users who were part of the test saw language that said, “using the name on your Aadhaar card makes it easier for friends to recognise you.”

The social media giant did not ask participants in the test to provide their Aadhaar number.

Facebook conducted tests just when the Government was linking Aadhaar to the digital world Wikimedia commons
Facebook conducted tests just when the Government was linking Aadhaar to the digital world Wikimedia commons

The test ran with a small number of users in India and Facebook said it currently has no plans to roll out this test further.

“We are not collecting Aadhaar data and do not require people to enter their Aadhaar name when they sign up to Facebook,” the company stressed.

Facebook has over 217 million monthly active users in India and 212 million of them are active on smartphones. It has 2.1 billion monthly active users globally. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users in India.

The Facebook test came at a time when the government is asking citizens to link Aadhaar details with their digital lives.

The government recently extended till March 31, 2018, the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, PAN, mobile numbers and several other schemes. (IANS)