Gender equitable brand campaigns


‘Whoever controls the media controls the mind- Jim Morrison’

The Role of Media in reinforcing mind sets through subtle images, texts & communication may not be cause of alarm if you live in a bubble. The bombardment of information is relentless as is the undercurrent of its socio-cultural-economic-political influences of its place of origin.

In India particularly, I am quite perturbed with the quality of media that gets consumed. Personally I stopped watching Television many moons back and now the subscription to newspapers have also stopped.  With content like ‘Sasural Simran ka’ raking in the moolah-  the channels definitely don’t have a problem showing its umpteenth season. Its us and our voyeuristic viewing pleasure they cater to. Creative media agencies are no different. Not very long ago (before the privatization of channels) ad campaigns posed a progressive challenge to the regressive movie content. Today the suave Marketing grads of large FMCG companies are only too willing to conform to stereotypes. Have you seen any ‘mother’ in an ad wearing a sleeveless blouse or have her hair open?

In such a scenario acknowledging meaningful content that offers a refreshingly alternate perspective is the need of the hour.

In such a backdrop, the beginning of this financial year saw me introduce a gender equitable category in most of the awards I curate. To recognize marketing strategies that are taking the onus of challenging status quo. Even if it is just as a one off brand campaign- its heartening to see fresh beginnings. While organisations becoming gender equitable is still a distant dream, a tangible proof of commitment towards targeting debilitating mindsets are a welcome change.

Sanjay Behl, CEO, The Raymonds Ltd. Jury chair #Pitchtop50 complementing the introduction of gender equitable category

Here , I share some of the award entries for gender equitable brand campaigns of 2016-17. For now the brands are being evaluated based on their campaigns or marketing strategies. Moving on, ideally their own corporate strategies regards gender equity will also be considered. The very first in the list here (without a chronological ranking) is a corporate that boasts of being gender equitable in its company policies with equal participation of genders in their workforce (essentially the 2 sexes-complete inclusion with transgenders into consideration will hopefully follow suit).

Apollo Hospitals : ‘Happy & Healthy Mom’
The campaign kick started with a three day art exhibition with works of Artist Kant Risa on the theme Mother & Child, on display at Apollo Hospitals. The guests and visitors at the launch were presented with greeting cards with the imprints of the paintings to pen affectionate messages for their mothers

Ariel : #Sharetheload
Portrays a man’s vision of gender equity. Through a voice-over the father in the film expresses how proud he is of his daughter. At the same time he is apologetic for not stopping her from playing home-maker as a child to remind her that she should not be the only one handling the domestic chores. He apologizes on behalf of him and the father of her husband too for always normalizing this scenario for her.
‘Why is laundry only a mother’s job?’  Dads #ShareTheLoad.

Bajaj Electrical Ltd. : Celebrating Mothers Day
#RightfullyHers was a campaign launched to respect moms and on mother’s day got users to
demonstrate their love for their mothers – by changing their middle name to their mother’s name on social networking platforms. It would be nice if more folks would do the same on other days as well though.

Biba: #Change is beautiful
The campaign was released on social media which cuts through the old school traditions of Indian arranged marriages and touched the issue of gender equity.

The campaign does remind one of the previous year’s multiple ad films under Anouk’s (Available on Myntra)  #Boldisbeautiful campaign

DB Corp Ltd, : ‘Zidd Karo Duniya Badlo’
For many young girls, going to school continues to be a far fetched dream due to lack of resources, as well as lack of support from their families. Woven around this insight the digital film aims to champion the cause of girl child education. The film is a part of the Group’s ongoing ad campaign centred on the ‘Zidd Karo Duniya Badlo’ theme.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance : #ILOVEME
ICICI Lombard wanted to widen their reach through a  survey which catered specifically to the female segment of our society, drawing their attention towards the prevalent health issues. Primary focus was to explore and create a digital marketing ecosystem that helps in replenishing the brand’s database by creating awareness about Health Insurance and affiliated services.


Saffola Life: #Protectherheart
Mumbai couples were urged to walk together on World Heart Dayalong with Shilpa Shetty Kundra & Raj Kundra. Held at the fitness enthusiast’s favourite, Carter Road, the walk set the tone for a new movement as the couples then pledged to walk together daily for 30 minutes as a simple yet valuable step to #ProtectHerHeart.  Saffolalife also devised a Heart Fitness Test, an online assessment tool that used simple fitness attributes as inputs to indicate heart risk as output.

Star Plus: Nayi Soch
‘Gurdeep Singh & Daughters – The film features Aamir Khan playing the
role of a sweet shop owner (Gurdeep Singh). The film promotes the thought, ‘Kaamyabi na ladka dekhti hai na ladki. Kaamyabi sirf soch dekhti hai.’
(Success does not distinguish between girls and boys. It’s the thinking that matters.)

Promos of the campaign also had cricket stars wear their mothers’ names on their jersey. Dhoni, Kohli and Rahane explained why their jerseys have Devki, Saroj and Sujata respectively, written on them with pride.
The campaign on radio had  RJs engage with fathers who have gone against societal pressure and motivated their daughters to achieve success in their area of interest.

Titan Raga: #Mombychoice
Questioning the established definitions, the film explores evolving codes of motherhood. It is about living your life fully, without being judged and knowing that being a mother is not a sacrifice, but a choice.

#Breakthe bias
Clearly points the point that the world sees a woman’s success through a different lens. The film ends with the watch brand Titan Raga gesturing the rising success of women regardless of these odds and also nudges the viewers to change their mindsets.

Tanishq : #Bestatwork
The campaign released on social media, aimed to give a voice to the silent scuffle of working
women against opinionated mindsets. The 3 minute film articulates three, common judgement calls through rhyming verses, “Look at that dress, I wonder why she dresses like a slut”, “Why do you need to work after marriage beta, he earns well enough for both of you?”, “We all know how SHE got promotion.”

Whisper India: #Ownthose5days
While I personally have a bone to pick with the brand name that promotes whispering about a natural process of woman’s body, but here is their attempt to speak out loud against the myths.
The myth being addressed is that of menstruating girls/women needing rest since they cannot perform to their full potential. Real life women achievers share stories of themselves having been up and lively through their periods.

Hope you enjoyed reading/watching through these gender equitable brand campaigns. What is amiss though is an inclusive approach to the entire LGBT community. A great example of this is a recent campaign by Vicks which am sure will win many accolades through the coming year.

Do share more if you’ve seen some good stuff , because good stuff is what needs to be seen!


A mother, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a friend, a mentor, an author, an aspiring artiste, a spiritual enthusiast and a whole lot of things wrapped into this being, lets call her Simply Suparnaa.