In-Depth: The Man Company attempts re-defining a ‘Gentleman’ in pop-culture

The Man Company

In an in-depth conversation with The Man Company, Social Samosa deep dives into the making of its latest campaign, ‘Bring out #GentlemanInYou’ ft. Ayushmann Khurrana.

His unconventional film choices have gained him firm grounds in the world of Hindi Cinema and there is no stopping this man. Ayushmann Khurrana has given the industry something to ponder upon with each of his movies. Now he does the same in The Man Company International Men’s Day campaign, GentlemanInYou.

In a video going viral across the socioverse, Ayushmann can be seen donning the hat of a poet to deliver a hard-hitting message on gender stereotyping, urging viewers to recognize the progressive gentleman in their lives, around International Men’s Day. 

Through this poem, Ayushmann is trying to keep aside all the stereotypes that society has created about a gentleman, versus how one must perceive a gentleman. He stated, “It puts across a strong message of how men should be comfortable to embrace their vulnerability and their weaknesses & that it doesn’t make them less of a man”.

‘Bring out #GentlemaninYou’

The almost 4-minute long video opens with Ayushmann at an open mic, narrating a poem ‘Gentleman kisse kehte hai ?’. The actor then continues to shatter gender stereotypes associated with men on how the term ‘gentleman’ needs to evolve with time. He urges the audience to not measure ‘masculinity’ based on social norms and instead reinforces that men should be allowed to be as they want to be and that there are no ideal ‘qualities’ of a gentleman, using wordplay.

Campaign Insight

The concept of what being a gentleman means, what he must look like, what he must behave like, what he must wear is evolving and is going through a massive shift. With every little change in our individual action, a major societal paradigm shift is coming about. The Man Company as a brand claims to have been standing tall for these progressive gentlemen.

On the campaign thought, Hitesh Dhingra, Co-founder, and MD, The Man Company said, “We absolutely believe money and power can’t buy you class and respect. In this day being called a gentleman must be earned and not inherited. One has to strive and evolve continuously to be referred to as a gentleman. It’s a constant self-introspective journey than a destination.”

He added, “It matters what you are from inside, the values that you uphold, the thinking that you carry than your exterior features. And we as a brand would walk shoulder to shoulder with these gentlemen who are in the constant pursuit of being the best version of themselves”.

Keeping this ethos in mind The Man Company leverages online platforms with the same rigor of Genuity.

The campaign idea and conceptualization was done by The Man Company’s in-house creative team (Nitin Kumar, Sumati Sharma, Rahul Joshi, Rishabh Srivastava, Manish Kumar, and Anushree Mishra) led by the Brand Director Rumi Ambastha and produced by Tonic Worldwide.

The Writer’s POV

Penned down by Gaurav Solanki, the lyrics of the poem have touched the right chord with many hearts.

These thoughts have disturbed Solanki for a long time, he shares. When he met the Man company team, Solanki was glad that they were thinking on similar lines.

“I feel when someone talks about how men behave and how they should, most of the times it starts with a complaining tone. It has its own social reasons, rooted in the violence and suppression women have faced because of a lot of men and patriarchy. But it’s not much talked about in a popular culture that men and women, both are victims of it in different ways,” Solanki asserted.  

How young men also grow under unrealistic expectations, constantly told by their parents and the society to ‘man up’, to earn more than their sisters or wives and to hide their emotions – this is what he wanted to talk about.

Solanki also strongly feels about these compassionate conversations and believes this should be an important part of any conversation on gender equality.

A few lyrics of the poem also in a way take a dig at few ad copies which ask you to act cool. For Solanki, it’s been very frustrating to watch the deodorant, soft drink, even baniyan ads that have been constantly propagating this image of a hunk who’s harsh and un-emotional.

He thinks that these ads try to reaffirm these stupid stereotypes. This celebration of the toxic masculinity influences young men and affects their self-image. This is high time we should talk about it.

Director Talks

The campaign is helmed by Deeksha Tripathi from What Works and according to her, the script is the hero of a story, and that’s something all of them at What Works believe.

On the direction bit, Tripathi shared, “Directing this piece was a cakewalk honestly. When you have a narrative that’s so strong and beautifully written, it’s best to keep the treatment of the video really simple and direct because that’s when the audience feels the most connected.”

“Especially when you have someone like Ayushmann as the face of the video. I think that’s the biggest reason why the video worked.”

Tripathi had to make sure the team got the right emotions out by playing subtle with everything else, be it the background music, the set-up or the lighting because the makers didn’t want anything to distract from the powerful narrative.

The brand claims that the video crossed 15M organic views across social media platforms and also went Viral on Instagram within 48 hours.

Decoding the ‘Man Code’

“When you look around you realize that women these days are so empowered and there is nothing that they can’t achieve. The roles assigned to genders are getting blurred and for the good. Now look at the other side of the coin, men these days also don’t want to conform to the roles that society or media has so popularly assigned to them. There are no jobs or emotions or colors that they feel alienated too. Well, that says something about these modern gentlemen,” Dhingra said.

He thinks that it’s time that a brand understands that and tells them that it’s okay. What only matters is if you are a gentleman from inside.

Ayushmann is known to establish strong emotional connect with the audience and that has worked in The Man Company’s favor. The brand knew that it had to stay honest with the thought and that’s why you wouldn’t see any product placement in the creative.

The idea with digital is to connect with like-minded gentlemen through good content and eventually build a community of brand evangelists.


Also Read: Ayushmann Khurrana – the ‘Dream Girl’ of ad world!

Significance of Message-led Advertising

The essence of every brand lies in the way it communicates with its specific audiences. Therefore, it’s important that every brand and agency spends time researching, developing and defining the right brand voice/communication, in order to induct their target consumer as to what they represent/stand for, and build an emotional connect.

According to Akanksha Singhal- Business Head North, Tonic Worldwide the goal of a message led communication in today’s digital marketing scenario is to make the consumers resonate with the brand and eventually influence their purchasing behavior. If a brand can inspire to build an emotional response, they can build successful consumer loyalty and become an integral part of their lives. 

Meanwhile, Solanki too thinks if a brand starts a conversation about a social issue, and if they look earnest in this effort, it immediately puts them in a different light. He explained further, “If their products and the rest of the marketing is in sync with this social effort, it can create strong goodwill. Besides, its harder for Hard-selling to work these days.”.

Taking #GentlemanInYou beyond

Gentleman in you is a thought that The Man Company has been talking about since the last International Men’s Day. On every occasion, whether it was Valentine’s Day or Women’s Day or Rakhi, the brand made content pieces that added to the central umbrella thought.

“With this campaign, through Ayushmann we have been able to touch the hearts of millions and this is what our endeavor is going to be,” Dhingra concludes.