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Piyush Pandey breaks stereotypes with Anouk ad

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MUMBAI: Famous for coming up with out of the box ideas, Ogilvy and Mather executive chairman and national creative director Piyush Pandey has managed to touch a raw nerve with the Bold Is Beautiful campaign orchestrated for Anouk.

Anouk is an apparel brand that specializes in Indian and traditional women clothes and is promoted by Myntra. Pandey and his maverick bunch were looking to convey the message that it’s not just the westerners who are progressive in their thinking and are breaking stereotypes and that traditional Indians are also very much doing it. To convey this message, O&M launched an ad featuring a lesbian couple in a live-in relationship. One of them has invited her parents to meet her partner and the ad emphasizes on their preparation to encounter The Visit.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com about the ad Pandey says, “No idea is drawn without keeping the brand in my mind. Anouk is an Indian wear specialist and there are a number of other brands who specialize in the same so we had to come up with something that stands out and that’s how Bold is Beautiful came into existence.”

The ad went viral and has garnered more than one million views on YouTube. The ad began trending on social media too, and also kick-started a debate as to whether this ad featuring a lesbian couple was the first of its kind.

When queried if the debate made a difference to the creators, Pandey replies, “I don’t know if this is the first or not and I wasn’t really concerned about that either. For me, if there is an understanding of the brand and the creative, you create complements or add value to that. And that’s what really matters. Of course we wanted our work to stand out and leave a mark but we were not concerned whether it was the first ad to feature a lesbian couple.”

“The reaction we got so far is overwhelming and frankly speaking I did not expect it to be so positive. This only goes to prove that we have taken a step forward. I knew people will talk about it positively but such a wide reaction is highly satisfying. It’s almost like the viewers and the client telling us, Bold Is Beautiful,” Pandey adds.

Breaking stereotypes has been a key facet for Pandey and his India team. Not long back the ad men did something similar with Her Life, Her Choices campaign for Titan Raga, which got again got more than one million views on YouTube.

The film begins with a lady sitting in a cafeteria and a reading book. A man asks her if the seat is occupied and without looking at him she says that it’s empty. Eventually when she looks at him she finds the interruption was by her ex-lover. When she asks him how he has been, he makes a reference to her leaving him. As they talk and catch up, it is revealed that both of them are still single. On being asked why it is so, she tells the man that she never gets time from work. This being something he knew all too well, he makes a passing comment about how their relationship would have worked had she stopped working. She retaliates by saying that he could have also quit. Offended, he tells her that he could not have quit; seeing how he is a man and says, “How can a man not work.”

Amused, she looks down at her Raga and tells him that he is still the same man that she had left all those years ago. She then proceeds to offer the ashamed man coffee as she goes on talking.

The film ends with a shot of the watch and her voice over saying, “Khud se naya rishta.” (A new relationship with one’s self).

Taproot also made an ad that broke stereotypes in recent times in their commercial for Airtel, where the wife is shown as being the boss. Both husband and wife work in the same office where the woman is the boss. The ad shows her giving assignments to her husband and also assigning constraint deadlines. However, post office hours, she goes home and cooks for him while he is busy working. The ad brings a smile to every viewer and also sends a strong message across.

Sanitary napkin brand Sofy has also launched a non-conventional TVC where they ask why girls say they are down while they have their period and a send across a strong message that having their period is not something to hide. A few years back, daily broadsheet Hindustan Times launched a commercial featuring two homosexual men out for a date and a spectator stares at them with suspicion. At that very moment another man slaps him with a HT newspaper and the tagline says, “It’s time to open up.”

Later, Fastrack came up with a commercial featuring a lesbian encounter as a part of its quirky series of 'Move On' ads.

With Indian ads becoming progressive and open-minded, the message is loud is clear that the saree and kurta are apparels not thoughts and people should not be judged based on what they wear. The Indian ad fraternity is setting a strong example of a progressive nature and it is being lauded by the one and all.

This time it was Ogilvy’s Piyush Pandey and his ‘men in black,’ who took the country towards liberalism one step at a time… tomorrow it will be someone else from another organization who is bold enough to break typecasts and come up with something liberally different!

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