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Shoppers Stop breaks stereotypical beauty standards with #StopTheBias

The influencers and role models break through this clutter and stand out for who they really are.

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MUMBAI: It is not easy to define beauty for anyone as each person has its own definition. Beauty does not depend on the colour of the skin, physical abilities, or height or weight, but is a function of one’s inner radiance.

However, if we look around, the idea of beauty in the larger sense, across society, is subjected to rules and regulations. A large part of society defines beauty is defined in a certain manner and urges others to follow specific norms. The idea of beauty varies from culture to culture.

Several brands across the categories have found solace in this idea and tried to make a difference by sharing researches, creating campaigns and awareness in society.

In the latest attempt, Shoppers Stop is trying to break this stereotype and use makeup as a form of expression and creativity. Through the videos, the influencers and role models breakthrough this clutter and stand out for who they are with beautiful representations from different walks of life.

Shoppers Stop, India’s beauty and fashion destination enthralled their audience with a series of videos attempting at breaking stereotypical beauty standards and perceptions.

Video from #StopTheBias series titled Being Me Is Delightful shows, stand-up comic and advocate of body positivity, Supriya Joshi talks about the world’s perception of beauty and its unrealistic expectations. In her video, she projects the boldest eye shadows and the most flawless makeup telling people that she is not interested in hiding behind the shadows, she is right here in the limelight. Joshi further goes on to say that she is most comfortable in her own skin and it does not matter what naysayers have to say about that.

Joshi says, “Growing up, I was an introvert with social anxiety. It took a lot for me to accept myself as who I am. Self-love is the most important thing which is why #StopTheBias was perfect for me. I have learned to love myself and grow into a more confident human being.”

Another video from #StopTheBias series titled Right To Look Fabulous features influencer and acid attack survivor, Anmol Rodriguez. The video showcases her as the strong independent woman she has become. How she chose to be a survivor, not a victim and not let the world tell her what she can or cannot do. She used her battle scars as her strength and became a positive social media influencer with her confidence and style.

Anmol Rodriguez says, “When life throws you down, all that you can do is pick up the pieces and keep fighting. I have been fighting for most of my life. It took a lot of failure, despair, and self-esteem boosting for me to be where I am today. In Shoppers Stop’s #StopTheBias video, I am who I am. I am not afraid of showing myself to the world because I know that I am one of a kind.”

Shoppers Stop chief marketing and customer officer Uma Talreja says, “The beauty industry has seen a shift during the pandemic. Lipsticks have dominated the segment but with the wearing of masks, the focus has shifted. Indian culture has been deep-rooted in the use of eye makeup and eye art, and there is plenty of cultural contexts that have been amplified in Bollywood and many other occasions. During the pandemic, we believe that eye makeup can open the doors to artistry and creativity in makeup and give women a feel-good factor while they wear a mask.”

Earlier, Shoppers Stop has launched similar kinds of women-centric campaigns. In 2019, the brand released a campaign on National Lipstick Day, focusing on the role of women and their place in the world as a mother. The campaign took a unique approach to celebrate Lipstick Day and beauty by breaking stereotypes around makeup and touches an emotional chord around beauty through the eyes of everyday interactions and relationships. It sent out a strong message.

1702 Digital associate creative director Pranay Bhan mentions that all three ads of Shoppers Stop have a powerful insight backing them up, so #StopTheBias does strike the right chord with the digital-savvy audiences. “Leveraging the topics of acid attack survivor glorification, embracing body positivity, and gender-neutral love for makeup and styling are all great talking points. However, the varying production quality for each film does raise the question of why each influencer or theme leveraged should not be given equal validation,” adds Bhan.

He further mentions, “When it comes to beauty standards in a country like India, breaking stereotypes is a tall order, and the current approach brings their existence to light. To break stereotypes, a brand must normalise what the masses would consider outrageous. The campaign’s positive messaging should work as a stepping stone towards a more consistent release of content that puts such influencers side by side with the typical choice of models. Just adopting the unexpected choice of the cast too may not be enough, and Shoppers Stop must continue with their efforts to form a more inclusive and progressive image in the market. If they stick to being an inclusive brand with hoardings and other retail assets also following suit in appropriate sales regions, the brand’s perception should change for the better with time.”

A couple of years ago, Make Love Not Scars, an NGO released a campaign in association with an agency that used models who had acid attack burns. They went on to share beauty tips with the people. The campaign was a huge hit because it focused on the inner beauty, strength and courage of the acid attack survivors.

Monk Media Network creative director Adrine D'mello says, “I have actually seen stuff from the #StopTheBias series by Shoppers Stop before in their lockdown shoot films. This one to hits the mark with breaking stereotypes about beauty. While being a film for the eye stopper property, they have not strayed away from their key communication which is good. You hear all the chatter about ‘Millennial behaviour’ and one of it taking a stand for something you believe in, these films bring out the inclusive side of the brand which in turn will pull the audience towards them.”

Infectious business head digital Upasana Naithani shares that there have been other fashion brands who have made such statements in the past and have reaped benefits. “#StopTheBias is a bold and very timely attempt by Shoppers Stop to join the diversity bandwagon. The brand is seen as inclusive and progressive and hence wins audiences across the diversity spectrum. Audiences today are not very forgiving of the brands who choose to remain silent or not make their stand clear. This campaign is in the same league as Levi’s I Shape my World taking the brand many notches higher in recall and sensitivity index,” shares Naithani. 

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