Trendspotting: Brands ride on social causes, bank on high recall value

From Red Label's take on 'live-in' relationships to Anouk's stance on 'homosexuality', brands are seen to be riding on social issues to grab consumer attention

e4m by Ankur Singh
Updated: Jun 15, 2015 8:00 AM
Trendspotting: Brands ride on social causes, bank on high recall value

It is not new for brands to raise social issues through ad campaigns. Advertisers have been doling out such content for years. However, in this age and day, where social media is the biggest medium of spreading the message of social change, brands are seen to be riding on social issues to garner a large chunk of consumer attention by attempting to “fight” for social causes through advertising campaigns.

In the wake of Anouk’s recent “Bold is Beautiful” campaign, social media critics are beginning to point out to the brand centric agenda of advertisers and whether these ads even have a brand connect. With such chatter going around, one has to wonder if advertisers are using social taboos as a “tool” to attract attention. Yes or no, brands have surely managed to grab eyeballs of the Indian audience.

We pick out the most popular advertisements in recent past that rode on to a social issue and managed to make a mark in the consumers’ minds.

Anouk’s ‘Lesbian’ ad: The clothing brand’s latest TVC, The Visit, has garnered over 5 million views within 10 days of its launch. The video shows a lesbian couple preparing to meet the parents of one of the girls. It is being pitted as the first Indian advertisement to feature a lesbian couple and its creators hope that it will have a positive influence on the way homosexuality is viewed a socially conservative country where it is still against the law.

Watch the video here:

Red Label’s ‘Live-In Relationships’ ad: In its latest campaign, the 146-year old heritage brand took a bold move by broaching the topic of ‘live-in’ relationship. The campaign shows a young guy and his parents giving him a surprise visit. His parents unaware of his current status talks about getting him married soon, but later they get to know that he is in a live-in relationship with a girl for quite some time. As the story unfolds, the ‘Red Label’ tea plays an important role in breaking the ice between the parents and the girl.

Watch the video here:

Havell's ‘Winds of Change’ ad: Havells India, in this year’s round of 'Hawa Badlegi' campaign, has tried to convey the message that a small change in our thought process can contribute to a much bigger and better change in society.

Watch the videos here:

Airtel's 'Boss' Ad: Last year, Airtel released an ad about two working professionals. The ad was meant to give out a message that today’s woman can do it all—work and run the household. But, as many people observed, why is it that the working woman has to go home and then slave over a hot meal? Social media didn’t stop buzzing for weeks.

Watch the video here:

KBC's 'Kohima' Ad: The campaign titled 'Kohima' - promoting the eighth season of the popular game show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) - tugged at heartstrings and touched upon the sensitive issue of racialism or discrimination that people from the northeast face. The campaign is a part of series called 'The Unity Edition', which had other promos promoting the game show on similar lines.

Watch the video here:

Tanishq ‘Second Marriage’ ad: The TVC used the premise of remarriage as the backdrop for its contemporary range of wedding jewellery. With the film, the brand targeted young women who were looking for differentiated designs.

Watch the video here:

Fastrack's ‘Move On’ ad: In a campaign few years ago, the brand’s ad film opened with the shot of a trembling closet. A young girl emerged from the moving closet and checked time on her Fastrack watch. She was followed by another girl, who opened the second door of the closet and walked out. They looked at each other teasingly, suggesting what might have happened in the closet, and walk in different directions as the ad closed with a tagline that read 'Come out of the closet… Move On'.

Watch the video here: 

These ads have managed to create a ripple in social media circles, and have given the respective brands enough prominence to attain recall value. Whether there is a brand connect or not, social issues have given these brands the attention they were aiming at. With the string of such ads on the rise, looks like this trend is here to stay.

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