Grand Baraat and advertising: What should wedding campaigns talk about?

Before joining in the hype for the wedding season, industry experts share their insights on what makes an appropriate conversation during this period, highlighting the dos and don'ts of wedding storytelling and ways to connect with Gen Z.

Shamita Islur
New Update
wedding campaigns

Back in 2013, the jewelry brand Tanishq launched its wedding collection through a campaign celebrating remarriage to showcase the era of new-age weddings. Its attempt to break taboos around the subject of remarriage, at the same time driving the message of beauty in dark skin, struck a chord with the audience. So much so that a study conducted by Hansa Research said the ad topped the list in terms of portrayal of women in Indian advertisements.



The focus of Indian weddings and their storytelling tactics have shifted from the portrayal of family values to paying increased attention to the bride and groom’s feelings. Today, weddings include personalized nuances that can be important in storytelling and reflect society’s sentiment.

However, Jazryk Gill, Vice President, BBDO India, highlights, “It’s critical to know where to draw the line when trying to sound and look modern. They all have to come from a place of authenticity and honesty because that’s what our audience wants to hear and see from a brand.”

Most brands, including jewelry to mattresses, are marketed as gifts for newlyweds during this period. Ishant Gulati, Senior Strategist 22feet Tribal Worldwide, suggests spinning the narrative and bringing a fresher approach this wedding season by promoting products for personal use. Secondly, in a sea of ‘picture-perfect’ setups, showing the unfiltered chaotic side of weddings can create memorable work. 

He shares an example of the campaign #SaathSajengeyTohKhoobJachenge for Ethnix by Raymond, which emphasizes the role of relationships in Indian weddings. The ad shows the whole family going for a wedding outfit shopping together, which is an insight that resonates well with traditional Indian families.



Before joining in the hype for the wedding season, industry experts share their insights on what makes an appropriate conversation during this period, highlighting the dos and don'ts of wedding storytelling and ways to connect with Gen Z.

Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Storytelling

When it comes to communication in wedding advertisements, people are looking to stay rooted in their traditions while infusing uniqueness to their weddings by incorporating their personalities and stories into the narrative. 

This is why it is important to strike that balance during storytelling, how we move with time while carrying our Indian traditions, according to Pooja Sahgal, CMO, Raymond Consumer Care. 

“Avoid traditional stereotypes as people want their weddings to represent their true authentic selves,” Sahgal says as she emphasises on the need to celebrate diversity through brand storytelling by showing all types of brides and grooms enjoying their wedding day. 

Further, tech has revolutionised targeting, allowing brands to tailor messages based on consumer behaviour, preferences, and demographics, leading to more personalised and effective campaigns.

During festivities, AI trends observed a surge, enabling brands to leverage data-driven insights for targeted ad placements, personalised recommendations, and interactive campaigns that resonate with diverse audiences. Similarly, weddings, a festival in their own right, have the capability of incorporating tech-driven personalisation into every aspect, from invites to memorable experiences.

To drive strong consumer connect, Raymond's Sahgal continues, “Marry the magic of tech with the wonder of storytelling to drive true personalisation and customisation as the younger demographic want to see their individual ethos on such a big occasion.”

BharatMatrimony's AI campaign for Valentine's Day showcased this shift, going viral with its portrayal of the ideal partner, namely Aaditya Iyer (AI). While his words and thoughts were generated by ChatGPT, his face, image and world were created using Midjourney. To kick off the campaign, Aaditya Iyer was launched on Instagram, where he started posting pictures and sharing his thoughts, gaining more than 10K followers in a span of three days. 

The brand tapped into the desires and aspirations of its audience, demonstrating how technology can infuse personalisation into the emotional aspect of finding a partner. 



While AI is yet to be fully explored, brands have attempted to reach out to the audience through various compelling and thought-provoking narratives over the years. Occasionally, their attempts have generated scrutiny.

Mohey’s ad brought a twist to the usual Kanyadaan ritual in Hindu weddings featuring Alia Bhatt where her character, instead of being symbolically ‘given away’ by her father, was shown leading the ritual, to showcase empowerment and breaking away from the conventional patriarchal norms associated with the ceremony. This attempt to bring a change received mixed reactions from netizens. 



Similarly, Tanishq, a brand that has consistently relied on breaking stereotypes and shedding light on the undiscussed narratives received backlash for its ad campaign featuring a Hindu-Muslim couple. The brand had to eventually take it down.

Swati Balani, Executive Creative Director, BBH India believes, “Controversies can be avoided if the brand understands what their audience is truly looking for and what they will stand by.”

As India’s digital literacy grows, brands are talking to various audiences through their campaigns. Balani explains that those who see the campaign will call out any discrepancies when it comes to traditions and customs. 

Hence, it is important to understand cultural nuances before creating campaigns that do not hold true to their meaning.

An example of the same would be Sabyasachi's recent Bridal Collection campaign. The campaign received backlash for featuring ‘expressionless’ and ‘sad’ models. The fashion label has previously been criticised for featuring models without bindis.



In line with this, 22feet Tribal Worldwide’s Ishant Gulati thinks, “Brands should help alleviate and not add to the anxieties that surround Indian weddings. Any inauthenticity of sentiments not only distances audiences but can backfire as well.”  

Targeting the younger generation

For the tech and social media-savvy younger generation, especially millennials and Gen Z, reaching out via digital mediums might be the key.

Gulati highlights that audiences expect to be left inspired by any wedding content.

“For these Pinterest and Instagram-natives, crafting visuals, music, and themes that can inspire their wedding will be saved and shared the most.” 

Targeting younger audiences comes with the responsibility to speak for and against issues. Gen Z in particular expects brands to uphold this sentiment through their marketing initiatives. 

Anish Varghese, Head of Marketing of Joyalukkas emphasises on striking a balance between addressing critical issues without inadvertently stirring controversy.  

“While avoiding controversy is wise, completely refraining from taking a stance on relevant issues can also have a negative impact. Today's consumers, particularly the younger demographic, expect brands to show an active commitment to important causes.”

- Anish Varghese

Rather than playing safe, embracing delicate narratives might be important to maintain audience engagement. This means brands need to assess their comfort levels while navigating subjects such as gender equality, sustainability, and social causes with sensitivity, he continues.

Today, 60% of Gen Z, also want brands to be authentic in their communication and want brands to value their opinions.

Keeping this in mind, Jazryk Gill of BBDO India says, “Staying true to the brand's identity and only incorporating narratives that genuinely align with its values is key. If there's no organic fit, it's better not to force a narrative.”

Trends expected: AI, Influencers & Gen Z connect

22feet Tribal Worldwide's Ishant Gulati expects the Gen Z influence to be at an all-time high this wedding season, as the youngest Millennial group embraces trends of wedding registries and mindful gifting options like financial investments and charitable donations.

With this, he mentions, “Brands will find new moments to engage with audiences through virtual and on-ground experiences that go beyond the actual ceremony.” This could include creative wedding invites, customised merchandise, ‘earlymoon’ vacations, and Instagram-inspired photoshoots.

There is also a rise in slow-living-inspired weddings that will see a shift towards unhurried planning, emphasising mental well-being, sustainable weddings, and socially-conscious celebrations.

While films and video will comprise the bulk of campaigns, this period will also see a rise in the use of technology and data when it comes to wedding season campaigns, according to Swati Balani of BBH India.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already made its way in wedding campaigns last year. This year, we will see more tech experiences that play a key role in wedding season campaigns,” she deduces.

Joyalukkas’ Anish Varghese points out the growing trend of building connections with audiences through social media and influencers. 

According to ASCI’s ‘Influencer Trust Report’, 79% trust social media influencers wherein transparency and honesty stand out as the key reasons why consumers trust them. 

Varghese adds, “Influencers are skilled at creating relatable, real-feel content and can effectively reach target audiences in a highly relevant manner. This approach is expected to gain prominence in wedding season marketing.” 

In essence, the dos and don'ts of wedding storytelling revolve around staying true to one's identity, embracing diversity, and navigating issues with sensitivity. As weddings continue to reflect societal sentiments, the key lies in crafting narratives that resonate, inspire, and connect with the evolving expectations of a dynamic audience.


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