Opinion: How are new-age marketing campaigns addressing social & political issues?

Bhavik Mehta

Bhavik Mehta of Thinkin’Birds, shares his thoughts on the new-age marketing campaigns that focus on social and political issues and how brands are not afraid to be controversial if the message is an integral one.

Social media is THE platform where the whole world is right now, the only place where you can put out a message and it’ll reach every being (hopefully!). At least that’s what we, as marketers, have as our last wish. Wherein this nasty habit of people acts as a boon for us, it’s also educative for people. People are now more aware of the happenings across the world than ever thanks to new-age marketing techniques. Social media is a step ahead of even the news channels. Before a celebrity wedding, an HRH Prince’s demise, political brawl, societal unfair practices or even a probable nuclear war can hit the news channels, it’s already trending on social media. Viral phenomena in the real world may be something you want to avoid but on social media, it’s all you want.

In the name of social media and its excessive use, Marketing Agencies have found a vent through which they can not only promote their client’s brand but also infuse a social message, creating double impact and driving the audience to take action. Hence feeding two birds with one scone. My all-time favourite campaigns are from Amul. It is brilliant how they pair their product with anything and everything significant happening in the country or around the world for that matter. As smooth as butter use of a crisp copy with their product just shows the power of a good copy. They have never shied away from addressing even the most controversial issues. Whether it was the removal of article 370 or Rahul Gandhi hugging PM Modiji in Parliament, Amul girl has always been witty with her tongue-in-cheek humorous take on such events. With highly shareable content, their campaigns are something people look forward to.

Addressing gender biases is another issue which has been popular with brands and they have been portraying it beautifully forcing people to think. One such campaign that truly struck a chord with people was the ‘share the load’ campaign by Ariel. Women in our country at least are expected to do all the household chores while men earn the bread for the family. This campaign actively urged the men to share the load with the women at home. Delivering the message of gender parity, Ariel has since then been running various campaigns every year on the same lines but with fresh dimensions and current scenarios. Havell’s Hawa badlegi campaign is another great but simple take on beating gender stereotypes wherein the man takes his wife’s last name.

Social campaigns over the years have evolved multifold, creatives are getting bolder and not afraid of controversies.

After getting equal rights in society in 2014, the acceptance of the transgender community has also created a positive impact. A Kerala-based jewellery brand came up with a beautiful campaign ‘Pure as love’ where a trans person transitions into a woman and how she receives acceptance and support from her family when she decides to get married to the man she loved. The cause is depicted in such a heartwarming way that it was difficult to not have an effect and also went on to become viral.

Brands now aim to make India more inclusive and what unites Indians better than a hot cup of tea? Brooke bond red label’s ‘swaad apnepan’ ka campaign did just that. A trans woman is seen here offering a cup of tea during heavy rains to a woman stuck in traffic and receiving blessings in return instead of money. Their aim to address the constant prejudice faced by the transgender community and make the society more inclusive for everyone was well achieved and embraced with open arms.

On the other hand, the covid pandemic was not the only thing people were suffering through. It also saw a significant rise in domestic violence across the world. Being locked down with their abuser amplified their suffering to no extent. Maharashtra women commission came up with the ‘Unmute the abuse’ campaign to help the victims of domestic violence.

On a political front, where people need to be vocal about societal issues, they also need to be active on a political front. A very viral campaign was dong the internet rounds by luggage brand Samsonite titled ‘Ek din ki chutti’, subtly urging people to go home and cast their vote. People tend to abuse the system but nobody wants to cast vote and elect a leader who drives the change in India. The campaign depicts a man riding to his hometown trying to reach somewhere in a hurry and he reaches the polling booth. Such campaigns play a major role in urging the young or first-time voters to exercise their rights. It also shows that the brand is responsible, aware and has a point of view.

Also Read: Opinion: Here’s what’s #Trending in the $100 billion Global Creator Economy

While many brands are now turning towards sustainability and being environment friendly, creatives are exploring their ideas to conserve the planet in full throttle. Brands are now more energy-efficient and jumping on the #GlobalRestoration bandwagon to create awareness about the impending climate change. Discovery India in association with the United Nations India released the ‘Stop the melt’ campaign to educate and urge people to take small steps for a big change on World Environment Day. Cinthol’s ‘Alive is awesome’ campaign coaxes people to leave the earth better, greener and cleaner than they found it. And an array of other brands released creative campaigns on saving the earth for a better future. Just use the hashtag #WorldEnvironmentDay and you will find all the campaigns around the world.

We at Thinkin’Birds also do our small bit for mother earth. We discourage the use of plastic in our lives as much as possible, save paper, and encourage our clients to go for sustainable packaging options, sow and gift plants.

That being said, the new-age marketing campaigns are scratching all the unexplored surfaces with their creativity and leaving no stone unturned in vocalizing an opinion and causing a stir in people’s minds.

This article is penned by Bhavik Mehta, Founder – Thinkin’Birds.