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Myntra’s ad film breaks norms, creates ripples with a lesbian storyline

Created by Ogilvy & Mather, the three-film campaign for ethnic wear brand Anouk, especially the one showcasing a lesbian relationship, has gone viral on social media. The film has got the thumbs up from the creative community

Aanchal Kohli | Mumbai | June 12, 2015

Click on the image to watch the TVC. Click on the image to watch the TVC.

Every now and then comes a path-breaking ad film that becomes a talking point for their sheer boldness or for breaking the convention. The Jabong ‘Be You’ campaign by Bang In The Middle this year had two bold themes. One showed a couple that decided to live in, and the other showed a girl who gives her life to dead trees and is happy being called the Rainbow Girl. The Rainbow Girl ad film was a hint to her sexual orientation in a very matter of fact way. In October 2013, in the much-talked about ad film made by Lowe Lintas, Tanishq introduced its new range of fusion wedding jewellery by showing the concept of remarriage and how society has opened up to it.

Ad campaigns of e-commerce players are gradually moving away from merely showcasing the products on offer or discounts and deals. Myntra this week released its ad campaign, titled ‘The Visit’, for ethnic wear brand Anouk which shows two young women in a same-sex relationship. The ad film is part of the three-film campaign ‘Bold is Beautiful’.

The three films have been conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather and produced by Hectic Content. They have been on digital media. But it is the first film, ‘The Visit’, which is being seen as breaking norms by openly showing probably the first lesbian relationship in Indian advertising – without sliding into the slapstick or the sleazy. One of the rare instances of such a relationship one might recall in mass media was Deepa Mehta’s film ‘Fire’.

The campaign’s objective is to break the established norms set by society for women and highlight their real-life experiences of how they deal with three facets of choices and their consequences with a dash of boldness, beauty and style.

‘The Visit’ ad film breaks all stereotypical norms and showcases how the lesbian couple plans to tell their decision to their parents. The two women are comfortable with their relationship and the issue is handled sensitively and is not in your face. The film has received tremendous response and has gone viral on social media over the past few days with more than 1 million views.

The other two films that form part of the ‘Bold is Beautiful’ series, too, showcase women in empowering roles. ‘The Whispers’ film deals with the issue of single motherhood, while ‘The Wait’ raises the issue of why women can’t walk into a bar, especially an upscale one, order a drink for herself and spend some alone time without some guy hitting on her.

These films showcase how it is important to be bold about the decisions that one takes in life and how to stand up for the same by going against deep-rooted mindsets.

Highlighting the objective of the campaign, Manish Aggarwal, VP - Marketing, Myntra Fashion Brands, said, “According to prevalent thinking, ethnic wear is seen as the safe option as it makes them look less sensuous and less appealing to the male gaze. A plethora of ethnic brands occupy this safe space and are mutually indistinguishable. We wanted to give Anouk a sharply defined identity in this crowded category – describing it as an ethnic wear that is bold, vibrant and stylish and even edgy at times. With this background the idea was formed – encapsulating real-life experiences and stories by delving into the lives of women who deal with their choices and their consequences with beauty, style and a dash of boldness. Anouk symbolises this bold and beautiful choice of women.”

O&M’s Creative Director, who wanted to remain anonymous, added here, “As a brand of contemporary ethnic apparel, we wanted to identify ourselves with the natural choices of a free spirited, modern Indian woman. She is a person of her own choice and will – and she stands up for her decisions. This is all the more relevant as even in the 21st century, women and their rights in India are constantly under attack and scrutiny. Being an apparel brand, Anouk is very close to what defines her identity, her persona and her world-view. So, with our latest campaign we wanted to pay tribute to the modern Indian woman and her many facets.”

Progressive, but somewhat judgemental

KV Sridhar KV Sridhar

KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro:

“‘The Visit’ ad is progressive, good and liberating. The fact is that society is changing and brands need to lead the change and this advertisement is undoubtedly leading the change. There were a few advertisements by other brands last year too, but this advertisement has gone to the next level, highlighting how change is taking place in the world. I strongly feel that it is good to take the leadership change in the society. The issue that Myntra has covered is one of the most sensitive and controversial ones.”

“I also feel that the craft of storytelling and execution could have been better, but the issue itself is so strong and controversial that people will not consider the detailing of the video. According to me, the best part of the video is the fact that the parents were not shown in the video and the ending, which has been left open-ended, thus giving way to cloud of imagination.”

Abhijit Avasthi Abhijit Avasthi

Abhijit Avasthi, Founder, Sideways:

“Myntra is a fashion brand and fashion is all about making a choice of your own, and at times going beyond the conventional way of dressing too. So, if the concept that is used for a brand advertisement is good for the brand, then it is perfectly fine to pursue any concept. If a brand is taking a progressive step, then it is a good initiative. I feel there is no issue.”

Naresh Gupta Naresh Gupta

Naresh Gupta, CSO, Bang in the Middle:

“Normally, advertising narratives are a good barometer of society, but of late that crown has belonged to the movies. These commercials are nice, especially ‘The Whispers’ one, but somewhere there is a sense of being judgemental. The lesbian couple film is nice, but they are seeking approval; ‘The Whispers’ film has over-the-top drama; the bar film is nice, but the dialogues are a bit trite. But let’s keep that aside because the themes are good, the narrative is good, and coming from a fashion brand, very apt. For an Indian ethnic wear brand, it’s a nice move.”

“Also, let it be known that lesbianism as a sexual orientation was shown by Jabong three months back. Myntra is not the first brand. The Jabong tree ad said ‘the world calls me the Rainbow Girl’. That’s the indication to her sexual orientation. We made it matter of fact and not dramatic. It will be a good twist to the story.”

Ajay Kakar Ajay Kakar

Ajay Kakar, CMO, Aditya Birla Group - Financial Services:

“India is changing and so are consumers. In this changing world, brands have to be contemporary, but the definition of contemporary should depend on the needs, demands and preferences of a brand’s target audience. Very simply, can a financial service brand do something like this, the answer is ‘no’, but a fashion brand might use such a concept for marketing. So, having said that, it all depends upon the brand’s core essence and value and whether or not it will fit with their target audience. The advertisement is good and progressive.”

The TVCs:

The Visit: 
The Whispers: 
The Wait: 


Creative agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Senior Vice President & Head of Advertising, Ogilvy Bangalore: Tithi Ghosh

Script writer and Creative Director: Sangeetha Sampath

GCD and film director: Shamik Sengupta

CSD: Sindhu Menon

Planning: Sr VP - Sreenesh Bhat and Maithili (junior Planning director)

Production house: Hectic Content

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