What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Women – Jasmin Sohrabji and K V Sridhar

29 Oct,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Jasmin Sohrabji and K V Sridhar.



Are marketers targeting today’s woman right?


By Jasmin Sohrabji


Yes they are! Women as a marketer’s target group appear deceptively easy to reach. A lot of TV GRPs, and a bit of multi-media was considered a fairly acceptable template for a long time. Today, a lot more insight and instinct goes into understanding how best to target her; and the answer is not to take away from TV but to make the medium work harder, better and more engagingly for our most targeted, sort after consumer.


Previously a lot of our TV discussions stayed around how much prime, non-prime for more effective use of communication funds. Today, it’s more about content and integration rather than time slots. It’s more about in the show than on the show. One of the key changes we have seen over the years is how we define our women consumers. Earlier, the definitions were very broad based (women, 20-44 years ABC) and that in itself was deceptively comforting.




Telling a new story about the Indian woman


By KV Sridhar


A few days ago, twitter was abuzz with people exchanging, not NaMo quips, but an ad film. An ad-film that became the trending topic because it not just warmed the hearts of the people who watched it, but also created excitement born of possibilities and hope. The film produced by leading jewelry brand – Tanishq, broke two stereotypes that advertising often paints Indian women with – that of the fair bride and the first marriage. The wedding jewelry film instead told a riveting story of a dusky young mother and her little daughter as they cross the delicate threshold of a new life through the young mother’s marriage.




You thought you had covered all bases, and reached all your potential women consumers, but in fact you had possibly done very little justice to any specific consumer within this broad statistic. We were unable to call out any relevant, sensitive changes in media trends because of a much clubbed audience. Today, the definitions we operate on are more focused, narrowing both the age and SEC bands and allowing for subtle shifts in media consumption trends to be captured and built into the media plan.


But the biggest change of all is today we no longer put the cart before the horse. We are no longer given a fixed set of creative assets to plan around. So while TV continues to be the mainstay media of choice for this consumer, the starting point is no longer a TV+ recommendation, but a communication plan that’s built from base zero and then embraces mediums in size and number relevant to the task and the target. The annual plan discussions are more about what all rather than what else!.




At a time when the idea of the ‘Indian woman’ is changing at a fast pace and new imaginations are being embraced in its very definition, it is important to understand the new sensibilities of the ‘Indian woman’ and imperative that these sensibilities be reflected in the work we put out. We have started seeing insightful work that portrays women in fresh, positive ways gain the confidence of consumers, especially female consumers. The Girl Child film for ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ was one of the few messages that touched upon the dignity required to treat our girl children with.


Even when not addressing social issues and stereotypes directly, advertising needs to reflect the values of the modern Indian women. Brands like Whisper and Hero Pleasure have taken new and interesting dimensions to values of freedom and independence for young girls, underlining their determination to achieve things on their own terms. These brands have found creative ways of celebrating womanhood.


Even categories such as banking and financial services which are often alien by virtue of their information-laden messages have managed to strike a chord with women consumers through their portrayals of sensitive spouses and fathers, setting an example of respect and empathy even in simple, everyday, domestic situations. Brands like Idea have found interesting ways of showcasing equality in the daily grind that the husband and wife realize by exchanging their phones. Brands like Bournvita have ushered in new portrayals of parenting and motherhood as well.


However, in this process of change, some things still call to be approached with caution. Indian women might have private admissions about a lot of things but can be uncomfortable when a public form is given to it. The furor over certain female-hygiene products is a case in point. Another thing to note is that while harmless ‘masti’ is always welcome, brands stand the risk of looking down on women when the message is exaggerated.


A lot of deodorant ads fall prey to this. Nonetheless, the more we push our imagination, the more we will find real, relatable stories to tell; stories that capture the true spirit of Indian women and communicate it with creative expressions that are mindful of respect and dignity.



Tomorrow: Thursday, October 30: Teens – Kartik Sharma and Venke Sharma

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