Culture Connections

here are two contrasting ads going around, both speaking to women. Then there are two ads going around from the same brand, one liberating and forward looking, the other regressive, crass and deserves to be thrown in the dustbin. Two ads reflect the new consumer culture brilliantly; two get it wrong on all counts.

Titan Raga and Katrina Kaif have a contemporary take on weddings. #HerLifeHerChoices takes on the societal reasons for wedding while showcasing a wedding. For a while the ad looks like an ad for jewellery brand and not a watch brand, weddings and watches have not been showcased before. Titan Raga as a brand has bridged the gap between jewellery and watch in last few years, and this is a smart move to bring the two even closer. Weddings are a big reason to buy watches, in one move Titan Raga has associated itself to the wedding occasion. The narrative in the commercial is delightful and very much in today’s tonality. In a country where finding a reason for someone to get married and playing a match maker constantly is the norm, it is nice to see a brand saying don’t get married. I liked the way they linked time to the reason to get married and showcased the watch. Not a hardsell, but very memorable.

What if the lady in those terribly regressive and patriarchal Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ads had heard the advice from Ms Kaif long ago? The Gobhi and Lauki would have been saved from the murderous attack they had to endure. The AAP ad is the most retarded and regressive ad that has come from a political party. Women are key constituent of the support base and to speak with them in a tone that doesn’t acknowledge what they do can only be called political suicide. In the free fall that the AAP brand is in, this ad will add to the downward momentum. Last heard, the Lauki Association was thinking of going on a dharna and threatening to expose The Gobhi Union of misdeeds and corruption.

The second set of ads is from the same brand. Myntra released three ads for Anouk with contemporary narratives. The same gender love story, the spunky single mother and the super cool single girl in a bar are stories that consumers lapped up. The same brand has released a sale ad that reverses everything that these three ads have achieved.

The Fast and Furious Sale ad set in a café has a well-dressed fashionable girl calling a gawky looking nerdy boy to join her at her table. By the time the boy even realises what has happened and what he needs to do, a handsome fashionable boy comes and takes his place. Watch it here

The ad reminds me of the iconic ‘One Black Coffee Please’ ad of Ericsson Mobiles done in the early 2000s. I guess it won India’s first Cannes Lion in TVC. The Myntra ad is such a shame and difficult to believe that one brand can tell the tale of choice and freedom in an extremely liberal way and also in a trite regressive way. Every transactional brand has to treat its sale ads too with strategic intent. They have an impact on the brand equity; a wrong ad can really dent the equity badly.

What is good to see is that adland has started to break the stereotypes again. The brands have once again started to tap into popular culture to tell stories that reflect the contemporary lifestyle. It is surprising that an urban political party has the most regressive tale to tell.

Despite the flaws and mishits, ads from mass brands can teach political parties key lessons in evolving consumer culture.

Original was published here

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