Brands use ‘freedom’ of digital to showcase their creative boldness

Myntra, Schmitten, FabAlley, Philips among others take to digital medium to communicate with bold un-inhibition on issues not openly discussed and accepted by society

e4m by Sarmistha Neogy
Updated: Aug 17, 2015 8:18 AM
Brands use ‘freedom’ of digital to showcase their creative boldness

‘Bold is Beautiful’ campaign from Myntra’s in-house ethnic wear brand Anouk created quite a storm on social media recently. The videos went viral because the issues highlighted - homosexuality, single-parenting and the joy of staying single - are hardly spoken about in our society. The film on homosexuality had garnered over 5 million views within 10 days of its launch. The creators of the ad cited that they made the campaign with the intention that the video will have a positive influence on the way in which homosexuality is viewed in a socially conservative country like ours, where the law of the nation is also against it.

The bold video ‘Unfollow’ by FabAlley released at the beginning of this year which has stand-up comedienne Radhika Vaz while talking about clothes, uses nudity to prove her point. The nude artiste standing in front of her audience speaks about ‘what do I wear today?’ The video was indeed a gutsy move by an online fashion brand, but what FabAlley tried to establish is that it is time, for women to dress according to their own likes and not fixate on what others would think about it or just blindly follow trends. It's about the inner you. It's time to #Unfollow. Schmitten’s new digital ad with Kunal Roy Kapoor showed the actor getting lost in the taste of the chocolates also using nudity.

Today numerous brands are using the digital forum to talk about bold issues and also showcase their creative boldness, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible in the any other conventional mediums. Social media is like a great breeding ground for controversial topics that have otherwise been buried in the society we all live in.

Myntra (Anouk):

Single Parent (Anouk):

The Wait (Anouk):




Brand heads on choosing digital as the preferred platform

A month back, Philips came out with a digital video titled ‘UnPain’ which was bold and funny at the same time for its male body grooming segment.

Speaking on this, Anurita Chopra, Marketing Director, Personal Care, Philips India said, “Men’s grooming is something which people don’t talk about freely. There is an inhibition as a result of which, they hesitate to have free discussions even with their immediate peers. On these sensitive issues, they would rather prefer to chat with an anonymous person. The reason why our communication is online for this particular segment is because our audience is pretty much here. It is not that this forum allows us more scope, but we will be where our audience is, tomorrow if they are on TV, we will start engaging with users on that medium as well. 20 years back, talking about sanitary napkins and condoms was also considered as taboo, but today it is not. There is free flow of conversation because the society knows how to take it well. And that is why brands like us can use different and bold themes easily.”

Tanvi Malik, Co-founder of FabAlley highlights “The reason why we prefer digital over the other conventional mediums is mainly because of its reach and the type of content which we want to promote, which is usually unconventional and non-stereotypical. We feel that YouTube, Facebook and the other digital mediums will help us get the message out more clearly to our target audience. Also it is a much simpler medium and everyone is moving on to it. The reason why we could make videos like ‘Unfollow’ is because this forum gives the creative freedom and there is no need to taper or tune down our communications.”

While talking about the Schmitten campaign with Kunal Roy Kapoor, Khushboo Rai, Group Senior Manager – Media & Communications, Rajhans Group said, “The idea was not specifically to create anything ‘bold’ but we wanted to create a moment for Schmitten, which the brand could own. The reason behind using the digital platform for this communication is because Schmitten is a young brand and we wanted to find newer ways to engage with our target audience. The entire idea was to increase relevance among youth by placing the brand in their universe. For the new campaign, we wanted to take a positioning, which we believed would resonate with this audience. Our intension was to explore a storyline that had the potential to get shared and talked about.”

Manish Aggarwal, VP- Marketing, Myntra Fashion Brands points out that reaching out to an audience who is consuming content on the digital platform has become a lot easier. “Today binge viewing has shifted from TV to mobile and the digital forum gives you the spirit of what real advertising is. Advertising influences or gets influenced by the society. The issues which we highlighted in our ‘Bold is Beautiful’ campaign are stuffs happening with women all around, but they are not widely spoken about. While making the campaign, we were sure that they would generate lots of conversation, but yes it was a welcome surprise to see the virality and that 90% of the responses were mostly positive. The Anouk video started as a one to one conversation, but it went on to become many to many. This is the advantage of the platform that, you can share it with like-minded people, who will in return share and act as an influencer in its circle.”

What do social media experts say on the new trend?

Sanjay Mehta, Co-Founder & CEO, Social Wavelength pointed out, “Digital platform allows us to experiment mainly because the audience, who is consuming it, knows how to admire and appreciate it. Society is changing and they are talking about the so called tabooed subjects much more openly. Not only ads, but take a look at our movies, the serials, bold topics are being discussed there as well, and the society is accepting it and there are less number of people running around with stones to oppose and ban it. Looking at this particular trend, brands are getting the confidence to choose such issues as part of their own conversation.”

“Considering the money being spent on TV campaigns, how much conversation can you have? It will still continue to be a one-sided communication. On the other hand, for a digital campaign, there is a multiplier effect and the visibility and reach is far higher in comparison to the money being used. However, there are few brands which have to be careful and they can’t experiment on this platform like the others. For e.g. a Bank, if it tries to do anything differently, I will get worried because I wouldn’t prefer to take undue risk with my money. On the other hand, brands like Anouk are far closer to the younger audience and therefore, they are best suited to take on such subjects,” he added.

Commenting on the benefits of the digital platform, Pratik Gupta, Director, New Business & Innovations, FoxyMoron highlighted, “Communication when done for TV is mainly structured and the product benefits are highlighted. It is made in such a way, that the Lowest Common Denominator (LCD) can also understand. On the other hand, on digital, the communication is layered and bold, because the audience has the maturity and the education to accept it. It is a target based communication, for e.g., if a brand wants to target audience above 25 years, it is possible on social media. Another advantage of this medium is that, the monitoring laws are not that stringent, therefore, communicating anything which is bold becomes easier.”

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