Case Study | The nation’s ad-age: A little radical?

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The final scene of the latest Cadbury Daily Milk's advertisement
The final scene of the latest Cadbury Daily Milk's advertisement

Recently, Cadbury hit the headlines when they brilliantly re-rendered one of their classic ads.

The company held the essence of the ad as one of the persons of a couple congratulated the other for smashing a great shot in cricket. The genders were swapped, and that was the catch!

The original ad of the brand had a man hitting the shot, and his friend, who was a lady, dodged security and danced in delight. That ad became a cult hit and aided Cadbury to “adult” chocolate because, for a long time, they got characterized as, well, “kid stuff.”

However, the newer demo of the ad had a lady hitting the shot, and her male friend did the same, dodging the security and dancing in delight.

It was brilliantly re-rendered, which reflected the current transforming times. It pushed aside stereotypes that had been powered by ads themselves.

However, in India, this is still not the case because Cadbury’s re-rendered brilliance is just one of those few ads that have shattered gender stereotypes. A UNICEF study has proved that Indian ads strengthen gender bias and stereotypes.

Advertisements have cameos on television because they are rarely longer than a few seconds. But, those few seconds can implant an idea in one’s brain and stir change. But, if the concept of the advertisement is defective, the outcomes can be devastating.

The UNICEF study has proved exactly this in India as they attempt to identify the representation of women in advertisements.

As per data gathered by UNICEF, 49.6% of ads have women as characters but, they have about 60% of screen time and more than 56% of speaking time.

The issue, however, is that women displayed in Indian ads are for domestic and beauty products only. Hence, these numbers and identifications indicate deep-rooted stereotypes because women still are shown to belong to the kitchen, according to these ads.

Indian youngsters consume these advertisements, which could be a hassle as these stereotypes will be extended across generations.

The nation’s ads concentrate more on looks, and it is another obstacle for women. They are nine times more probable to be represented as ‘stunning and attractive’ and six times more probable to be presented in revealing clothes.

Coupled with that, they are four times more likely to be portrayed as partially naked and five times more probable to be sexually objectified. The bottom line? Men are brand ambassadors; women are categorized as brand commodities.

The impact of the ads is not realized by advertisers and by the viewers. Sexual objectification has grave consequences like hating their bodies as they grow up, leading to body shaming and depression.

Indian advertisers have power, but they have to be reminded of it because their renderings shape minds, values, and other key factors across the county. Philosopher Marshal McLuhan termed ads as the cave art of the 20th century.

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