Guest Column: Boss, Biwi and Bawarchi: Why the hullabaloo over Airtel ad?
'Radical' liberals have taken to social media, upset that in order to be a dominant female 'boss' you must also carry the badge of being a flawless biwi and never-failing bawarchi! Airtel's Boss ad might not be remarkable, it is certainly 'remark-able', says Ajai Jhala, CEO, BBDO India
Boss, Biwi and Bawarchi.
Remarkable TVCs incite feelings, moving us to care, cry, marvel or laugh. Easily said, but difficult to achieve.
It is therefore no surprise that the current Airtel ad does not generate any of these feelings.
Yet it seems to be creating social chatter. Why? Because, while it might not be remarkable, it is certainly remark-able.
The lead protagonist, Priya, plays a triple role – she is in turn boss, biwi and bawarchi!
Unlike reading, watching TV is a low involvement activity and people are not actively engaged. This implicit mode of viewing lets people selectively view what they like to believe.
So roughly a third of the viewers, probably liberal in nature, focus on Priya’s role as boss.
Another third, who are more middle of the road, see a modern working wife on her way home in a car, in conversation with her husband.
The final third, more traditional in their world view, are initially perturbed as the last male bastion is invaded, but are reassured when they see Priya in the conservative role of a cook.
But instead of applauding this rare balancing act a few thousand "radical" liberals have taken to social media, very upset that in order to be a dominant female 'boss' you must also carry the badge of being a flawless biwi and never-failing bawarchi! (Is the husband fulfilling the role of a triple-talented hero?).
This vocal minority have made the Airtel TVC remark-able.
Pre-planned or serendipity?
The author is CEO, BBDO India.
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