Acceptance & celebration of all genders & equity will become mainstream in ads: Mohua Das Gupta, Tata CLiQ Luxury

Tata CLiQ Luxury

In conversation with Mohua Das Gupta, Tata CLiQ Luxury, we delve deeper into the mind of an industry professional who has developed award-winning campaigns and ascended to leadership positions to find out more about her experience in leaping forward through the stumbling blocks.

With a stint spanning over 15 years in the A&M industry, Mohua Das Gupta, Head – Marketing, Tata CLiQ Luxury shares insights into the current state of the advertising industry in relation to women-oriented narratives, the tropes brands and agencies may fall into while presenting women in campaigns, and an ounce of inspiration for women aspiring to be in leadership positions.

Mohua is at the forefront of marketing across luxury and mass portfolios. Her expertise expands across brand strategy, research consumer insights, product launches, and media planning. She has developed multi-award-winning campaigns such as The Visit from Anouk (By Myntra); and ‘Timeless Gifts for Timeless Relationships’ from Tata CLiQ Luxury.

What do you think of the portrayal of women in advertising in India? Do you think we have moved to progressive narratives, or it still largely remains regressive?

In the last decade, we have seen a sea of changes in how brands advertise, the narratives they lead with, and the portrayal of women in advertising. A lot of brands have led progressive narratives to bring forth societal change, whether it’s gender equality, sharing the workload, breaking the glass ceiling, body positivity, a woman’s choice, and so on.

There is a fair amount of thought-provoking messaging that is being put forward, and it is good to know that these themes are central to the brand’s value system and a part of their ongoing brand narrative and not relegated to one-off campaigns during Women’s Day. However, given our ever-changing consumer landscape and an emerging population, there is a long way to go to ensure that we are able to put forth the right ideas and messages for young, impressionable minds.

Having worked on brand campaigns such as the ones by Anouk that presented progressive narratives before the industry moved in that direction, how can we move forward from here?

In the past decade, as was the need of the hour, there has been a strong emphasis on women-centric narratives and conversations around equality for women. While this focus will not fade, I believe that as we move forward, Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) will take center stage, and acceptance and celebration of all genders and equity will become mainstream (in marketing).

Being in a predominantly male industry… In your 15-year-long stint, what are some of the challenges and gender stereotypes you faced, and how did you overcome them?

The corporate scenario has changed significantly in the last 15 years, and for the better. When I first started out in advertising as a young professional, there were certain challenges like making your voice heard, making your thoughts important, and, at times, ensuring that you were treated fairly, and the only way I got through this was by being persistent and standing my ground. That being said, I have been fortunate that I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people, both men and women, who have championed me for most of my career.

What is a sexist narrative that the advertising industry needs to change?

While advertising narratives have radically changed, sometimes brands unknowingly fall into the gender trope, reinforcing gender stereotypes and portraying unrealistic beauty standards. These are some of the things that brands should be mindful of.

Also Read: Women in Marketing: Executives who are building brand narratives

How can we balance the gender ratio in the advertising industry? Do you have any policies in mind to build a safe, flexible, and flourishing workplace for women?

Advertising is a great industry to work in, as one gets the opportunity to engage with some of the brightest minds in the country. Yet, sexism is a challenge that the industry faces due to its legacy. However, the best way to possibly address this is to have adequate female representation at all levels of the company, including leadership, as well as a strong meritocratic organizational culture with value systems to ensure that individuals feel safe and have the opportunity to grow.

How does Tata CLiQ Luxury work on equal representation as a company and in marketing campaigns, and create progressive narratives that shed off the gender roles and show women in liberal positions?

Tata CLiQ Luxury is a meritocratic, equal-opportunity organization with a strong organizational culture and value systems. Interestingly, most of the leaders at Tata CLiQ Luxury are women. As a brand and platform, we are cautious in our marketing campaigns and narratives to ensure we build progressive points of view for our young nation.

One of our campaigns, “Timeless Gifts for Timeless Relationships,” depicted a young, divorced couple who remained friends despite having moved on in their lives. The intent was to break the stereotype and the bitterness that is sometimes associated with these relationships. And as a brand, we strive to lead with progressive and thought-provoking messaging.

Any message you’d like to share for women aspiring to be in leadership positions like yourself?

To quote Scarlet O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, ‘ Tomorrow is another day’. So, my message for young women is that the journey is exciting and sometimes challenging, but the only way through it all is to show up and be persistent.