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We are here to empower, won't judge anyone for their choices: Bhima Jewellers spoke to the 96-year-old brand about its path-breaking new campaign.

MUMBAI: Kerala-based Bhima Jewellers has been getting lots of love on social media over the past few days, thanks to its new ad depicting the journey of a transgender woman. While most jewellery ads have the familiar set up of a daughter’s wedding to showcase their product, this one enters untested waters by featuring an actual transwoman, Meera Singhania, as the central character.

The brand approached Delhi-based agency, Animal to help them narrate a unique story of breaking stereotypes in the relatively traditional jewellery business, creating a beautiful and moving film in the process.

Bhima’s marketing manager Vinod Kumar G shared the brand’s intent behind this campaign. “Bhima turns 100 in three years, and we feel that as a brand with such credibility, we want to lend our voice to causes that matter today. This ad is special as it takes us through the journey of a transgender in today’s society – but focuses on the positive side. It ends on a rosy note, at her wedding, with her family behind her every step of the way.”

22-year-old Meera’s own real-life experience of coming out, self-admittedly, was trauma-ridden and not so positive. Which only makes this film with its heart-warming, utopian family setup even more poignant and beautiful.

Kumar adds, “What we want to convey through the ad is that whoever one chooses to be – man, woman, transgender – Bhima is there for you. We are here to serve and empower, not judge. We hope this helps to blur the lines that discriminate on the basis of gender, race, colour etc and families, and (consequently) societies become more inclusive in their thinking.”

The ad with the tagline ‘Pure as Love’, showcases the struggle of a transgender person in coming to terms with their internal conflicts – of having feelings akin to a female while being trapped in a male body. Gradually, she comes to terms with her true self and is unabashedly able to accept herself for who she truly is. And even more significantly, she is unconditionally accepted and supported through every step of her self-discovery by her family.

Brand consultant Ambi Parameshwaran feels this is a “very bold advertising by a relatively conservative brand.” The ad’s bold theme is expressed very tastefully and subtly, without excessive drama. “I admire them for taking on the transgender cause. Kudos to the people who made the film and hats off to the brand that tried to do something like this – which is quite different from the standard father-daughter, marriage kind of films. It is an admirable piece of work and I do hope it works for the brand.”

He adds that because the brand is “largely Kerala-based, with an incredibly high literacy rate, remarkably high social tolerance and diversity – so this kind of advertising will probably work with the Kerala consumer. Perhaps more conservative consumers in other parts of India could find it a little disturbing.”

There have been trailblazing adverts before too, which have tried in their own ways to pull down societal barriers surrounding gender and sexuality. The Vicks Vaporub ad released in 2017 which depicted the real-life story of a transwoman, Gauri Sawant, adopting a girl child is a case in point. Apparel brand Myntra too has done some notable ads portraying lesbian couples.   

If one looks at the jewellery space, Tanishq has on occasions tried doing some unconventional creatives. A few years back, it successfully dealt with the ‘second marriage’ theme in another tastefully done ad. Recently, however, its advert revolving around the godh bharai of a Hindu woman in a Muslim family ran into controversy with many people calling for its boycott, till the brand succumbed to trolls and withdrew the ad.

“One has to be careful before doing these things because we are living in highly sensitive times, when people get easily offended,” cautions Parameshwaran. “For that, Bhima Jewellers must be applauded for their courage and I hope consumers love the ad.”

The jewellery brand, on its part, had been clear from the get go that it wanted a transperson, and not a cis gender person, to play the ad’s protagonist. Unlike mainstream media which erases diverse representation, Bhima Jewellers strives to stay authentic to the cause and represent the community the right way.

Parameshwaran sums it up nicely, “What they are trying to say is Bhima understands love can transcend all barriers. So, if your son/ daughter is a transgender you can still love him/ her.”

And that’s the ‘Pure as love’ messaging this inclusive, empathetic film hopes to send out to the universe. 

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