In a panel discussion at #SMLive 2020, experts discuss the nuances of creating ad campaigns on women empowerment, breaking stereotypes, and sensitizing the audience on the subject.
Moderating the final session at #SMLive 2020, Siddhi Desai, Senior Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney spoke about an array of relevant topics around the creation & nuances of women empowerment campaigns and more with experts in the panel including Debosmita Majumder, Associate Director and Head of Marketing at PUMA, Shambhavi Ramanathan, Strategy Director at Dentsu Webchutney.
The Women Empowerment Brief
Desai kickstarted the conversation with agencies getting a brief on stereotypical questions in case women-centric campaigns. To this, Ramanathan highlighted that the very fact where we have a separate category for women empowerment campaigns is something that one needs to think & discuss. “If we were to have this conversation with Men, that’s where we would want the finality of things to go towards”, she shares.
She points out that empowerment should be lost for both men and women. Ramanathan further explains that the culture is evolving and marketers have somewhere managed to ease the pressure of women with campaigns such as #ShareTheLoad, & Dove’s #RealBeauty. A
Majumder added that A & M industry is towards a positive trend & trajectory. The brands in different categories are speaking about this and the shift can be seen in communication from something basic to something more nuanced. “Moving from campaigns such as #RealBeauty to Propah Lady, in case of the latter, we could talk about gender-fluidity and spoke about sexuality in a way, it was never spoken about. Things will only get better from here”, she said.
Role Refining: Representation of Women in Advertising
Desai steered the conversation about women’s imagery in advertising, especially in sports?
To this, Majumder pointed towards the evolution of the sports ecosystem and the ads associated with them, starring Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, PV Sindhu, and many more. “There is a change in the representation of women in the spectrum. There has been an equal representation of men and women athletes in fitness & sports for us”, she asserts.
Taking the example of Santoor, Ramanathan shares the evolution of the journey from women seeking validation for beauty from men to the sisterhood conversations and seeking appreciation from their friends amongst girls.
Sensitizing the Audience
One of the main aspects is how do you set aside the budget for women campaign & other campaigns. Why do you even call them women campaigns? It could as well be mainstream campaigns, Majumder clarifies. The next aspect would be about the representation of women at the different touchpoints of brand sales. “Only when you keep these things in mind, is when you can drive conversations for the change in the longer run. The idea has to be continuous and endeavor has to keep going towards bringing equality”, she emphasizes.
Advertising: Bringing Perspective & Change
When advertisers start working on campaigns, there are some basic questions that they have to go through. It might push them to think about bringing perspective into their campaigns especially surrounding ‘Women Empowerment’.
In-line with this, Ramanathan shares that putting a mix of unrelated people brings forth more perspective and insights, even inside the team while crafting campaigns around the subject. “When someone is in an unrelated role, and I ask that person to put himself/herself in that position, is when he/she understands it better”, says Ramanathan.
For Majumder, for a piece of content to be authentic and bring a change, the creative teams need to believe in the idea that it will change the world. It needs to be internalized by breaking the process and making it your own, she says.
With so many challenges being faced in the lockdown period, stringent gender roles come more to light. Time & again advertisements have been around the topic attempting to break stereotypes. But how do you break them in these times & have a gender-agnostic approach? The first step to doing this is to talk about the subject says, Ramanathan.
Majumder adds that with so many stereotypes at varied levels, the marketers need to discover & identify the issue within their brand spheres & then start talking about it. This, in turn, should lead to driving conversations & then fuelling it.
Highlighting the type of advertisements during the lockdown phase, Ramanathan highlights that it is a great opportunity for women and equality in this period. “One way is talking about things and making a noise about the issue, the other method is riding on the movement or trends that are going on”, she concludes.