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How many establishments have we seen displaying a board, XYZ and Daughters? This Nayi Soch ad by StarPlus is a welcome change indeed.
The other day I saw a video on my Facebook feed which was about the best advertisements from the 90’s. I clicked on the link and it was like taking a walk down memory lane; watching ads and jingles that one used to sing along to and were so focused on the bond between family members and of course, then swinging into focus on the product itself.
Now the trend seems to have changed. There is immense focus on creating ads that are bringing about a change in the cognitive framework of individuals – basically society at large. Most ads now have a strong social message and the aim is to leave a lasting impression on the mind. I have often wondered and did so again recently when the recent ban by the Central Board of Film Certification on the film ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ on the grounds of it being ‘lady oriented’, led to many videos surfacing on YouTube calling out to such unfairness. The kind of videos made by women in response to such a ban are loaded with sarcasm and satire and are indeed hilarious. They get the point across to viewers. But then that’s the power of social media and those with access to the internet and who seek such informative or interesting material on the web.
No wonder I was so delighted to see that a mainstream channel like Star Plus has taken the initiative to launch a campaign called ‘Nayi Soch’. Indian cricketers like M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli wore their mother’s names on their jerseys – breaking the stereotype that it is not only the father’s name that is credited for the child’s success but the mother’s too. The channel is making a concerted effort by questioning various stereotypes that hold women back and hoping to acknowledge and applaud their role in life – that of their own and those of others.
The latest one making the rounds features Aamir Khan, who recently portrayed a father on screen, working tirelessly and relentlessly to hone his daughters’ strength in the movie Dangal. The fact that it was based on a true story about girls from a state like Haryana delivered a strong message about gender equality and equal opportunity. The new TVC on Star Plus has him playing a sweet shop owner, Gurdeep Singh, in the ad. A customer congratulates him for increase in sale of sweets when he notices sweets being dispatched in a large quantity. The father proudly says that it is all due to the efforts of his children who have made use of the internet to help make the business more profitable.
The customer praises the worthy sons to which he is instantly corrected by the father that it is his daughters and not sons who deserve the compliments and appreciation. The customer walks out, looks up and reads the shop signboard – ‘Gurdeep Singh & Daughters’.
What I love about the ad is that while a lot of big businesses and leading professions do have women in the forefront, the socio-economic background is usually one of upper middle class or affluent classes of society. Some feel that the life led by them and the ordinary man can have no comparison. But when an ad shows something as simple as a sweet shop – scores of which we have around us in markets to malls – highlights the fact that gender quality must now be a norm irrespective of the status or occupation.
Rickshaw pullers are men and domestic help and nannies are usually women. And then you have Mosammat Jasmine, Bangladesh’s lone female rickshaw puller. An icon to us perhaps but referred to as the ‘Crazy Auntie’ to passengers as she is still the exception not the norm. Which is what campaigns like Nayi Soch (novel and new thinking) and individuals like Mosammat are striving for – the hell with gender stereotypes. Such things should now be the norm and not just exceptions that we applaud and appreciate and then forget about.
I would love to see such ads create a ripple effect and bring about more action far beyond just the ‘soch’. They undoubtedly deserve credit for provoking the mind into this direction and hopefully as society we take to this change of tides. Thank you Star Plus, for realizing the need of the hour and valuing contributions by girls and women.
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