Ebay India Takes A Bold Stand, Shows Man Proposing To Boyfriend In New Ad

Posted on October 3, 2016 in Video

By Edwin Thomas:

Online retailers in India have found innovative ways and ideas to position themselves differently in the crowded ad market. Be it Jabong, Myntra, Flipkart and so many more.

eBay India has a new advert running online, as well as on television, with an interesting and thought-provoking theme called #ThingsDontJudge. The central idea is that things or products, inherently, don’t carry with it any kind of judgement or bias based on gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and other identity markers.

Now, while it may be easy to dismiss this as a typical, Hollywood-centric, ‘no judgement’ drama, eBay forces us to rethink how we view assumptions about certain acts. The ad implies that judgement has got nothing to do with the things itself, but only people who attach certain negative connotations to it. Connotations for an object develop over time and eBay seeks to deconstruct that in 70 seconds:

In a significant move for LGBTQ visibility, a man is seen proposing to his male partner with a silver ring with the background narration saying, “A ring is supposed to denote my love.” By clearly stating the object (the ring) with the denotation (to express love), it manages to leave out judgemental connotations (love only defined in heteronormative terms i.e. between a man and a woman). Many wondered whether this portion of the advertisement would be cut out for television since an earlier ad by Myntra based on a lesbian couple was never shown. But to the surprise of many, it has been retained.

The whole act of separating denotation from connotation is a significant cultural move and it is hard to depict that on television, which eBay seems to have done with relative ease.

Needless to say, the advertisement in its entirety, does not rock the boat too much by dealing with a solely upper-class issue of ‘judgement’. Moreover, at one point in the ad, it unnecessarily demonises the idea of what an Indian woman wears (considered ‘Western’ clothes) in order to not cast judgement on a woman who wears a salwar kameez (who could be mockingly called an ‘aunty’).

The response to the advert on YouTube has been overwhelmingly positive with many declaring their new-found loyalty to eBay. Whether or not it can change strongly-held perceptions of an urban crowd that doesn’t necessarily use eBay is a different argument, but it’s indeed a start.