Ads, promotions galore on Women’s Day

09 Mar,2022

 

 

By Sanjeev Kotnala

 

Sanjeev KotnalaIt was the official International Women’s Day yesterday. The 8th of March. Another day and another round of conclaves, purpose-led brand associations, events, and hype. Another day when inspirational anecdotes featuring women achievers were circulated and celebrated. Women exploitation, empowerment, POSH, Glass Ceiling breakers were the focus of discussions. And then, life returned to abnormal. Because what one desires should be normal and what exists, what one is trying to change the abnormal. I am not sure if I got that right. May be it is the other way round.

 

Advertising is always ahead of the curve, reflecting aspiration and desire. Brands try to mirror evolution of women and changed status on and around women’s day. A life full of unconstrained new social flexibility and age-old constraints.

 

The purpose-led intent of the brand and its advertising fails to nudge a behaviour change or change the life of women. But, this focused women’s day advertising and brand associations bringing attention and focus to inequalities, non-inclusive, exploitation, unjust norms, and expectations must not stop. They are the reality check and a good reminder.

 

Socially we have come a long way, and we collectively accept the new emerging scenario and challenges. However, when we look deep, we remain the same in more ways. 

 

 

NOTHING CHANGED.

Trust me, other than for the minuscule population, women’s day is like that dinner in a marriage or the political rally full of promises. In a short time, every evidence of the celebration is removed, and the promises are forgotten.

 

Everyone tries to exploit the opportunity. In Mumbai, a sizeable residential society and the Municipal corporation representative celebrated Women’s Day last week. The corporator is also a woman. Speeches happened; examples of achievements were shared. And at the end, women were given a branded Tawa and pan as a gift. PR opportunity over. It tells how much nothing has changed.

 

On TV, debates and conclave on women’s interests happened. Newspapers devoted pages, and FM will bring stories to life. Digital will have its moment marketing, and that’s it. Most probably, at most debates, it will be a male-dominated panel. Or perhaps not.

 

Even today, sharing household jobs and load still sounds like ‘Share Her Load’, and we know we have not moved further.

 

 

WE HAVE BEEN OVER-AMBITIOUS.

I think somewhere, we have missed a trick. We are trying to move too fast. We want tectonic impact without grassroot changes and acceptance of role, responsibility, and contribution resulting from gender inequality. And we have moved to discuss women’s role in Climate control. We have missed the basic need to nudge behavioural change in terms of Gender respect, gender equality and inclusiveness.

 

 

NO SHIFT.

In 2021, MTV said: ‘There is more to a girl’s Life than Shaadi ‘. Facebook featured a woman football coach to make a statement. Ijazat Hai by OkCupid reminded you that women still need permission for everything she does! Most try to establish that running and maintaining a home is not her and not only her responsibility.

 

In 2022, the 121st Women’s Day celebration is no different.

 

We are still in the same area and area. The brands are trying to establish and talk of a similar thing. Designing a world without a glass ceiling and barriers. We still work with contrived expectations. Prega News harps how women can carry both worlds. The world she is expected to- her home and the world of her job responsibilities.

 

 

Wow skincare demonstrates the power with #SheMakesUs. Kalyan jewellers push for I am more than enough and tries trending #BreakTheBias.  Hera uses International women’s day as a cover to launch and even includes a hashtag  #NoMoreCompromise in the creative; such initiatives undermine the efforts of other well-intending brands.

 

Greenlam Industries, in a very contrived way, try encouraging gender equality. Still, it is not her right.. #CanDare, #Impossible, and such Hashtags appear and disappear like the celeste bodies.

 

 

MISSING CHAPTER.

A special mention to Whisper for ‘Keep Girls in School’. This initiative will go a long way and will have a considerable impact. We need more dedication from brands- ‘Missing Chapter’ is a move in the right direction. And yes, I wait to see the wall paintings that the brand wants to use to raise awareness about mensuration.

 

 

 

WE HAVE BEEN STUPID.

We have always kept high expectations from purpose-led advertising. Yes, the right communication is known to trigger behaviour change and nudge society toward the right direction, but they are rare and few. A significant societal change requires working at an individual level.

 

 

THERE IS HOPE.

It will be wrong to say that all efforts are wasted, and no change has happened. The new generation is far smarter, more cued for their acceptance and rights. I do think the tsunami of change is just ahead, and the process will only get accelerated. Till then, let’s raise a toast to the new generation of aware women and wish that things do change.

 

 

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Forget the buzz associated with International Women’s Day, and forget its existence. Go, celebrate the women in your life. Whosoever is important in your life. Your grandmother, mother, sister, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, friends and relatives.

 

Start afresh. Start small.

 

Listen to their ambitions, desires, barriers, and complaints. And make some positive contribution to their life. Start treating them as equal. Allow them to express be inclusive in education, social interaction and freedom and flexibility. Give them the freedom to be listened to and act.

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