10 Ads Of 2016 That Didn’t Just Sell A Brand, But Also A Powerful Message

Posted by Lipi Mehta in Culture-Vulture, Video
December 16, 2016

1. Nike’s ‘Da Da Ding’ ad, that showed us what unstoppable women power looks like.

This powerful ad puts the spotlight on those that legacy media and us as people often don’t give enough importance to – female athletes. Every frame in this video has women playing sports. It’s fierce, it’s passionate, it’s inspiring. And unlike many other ads, it doesn’t sexualize the women. It shows them as they are – as athletes. It focuses on their athletic spirit, and not their legs and butts. What also stands out is how it doesn’t pit the athletes and their prowess against each other, rather, it gives a strong message about solidarity between women. And as an added bonus? It gave us most inspiring workout anthems in recent times!

2. Joy Cosmetics’ ad with comedian Bharti Singh, that proved how real beauty has nothing to do with your body type or size.

We’re stepping into 2017 now and talks around the ‘ideal body size’ still rage on, with society telling us what sort of bodies are ‘sexy’ and ‘desirable’. This ad shuts down body shamers and those who think the world is only made for those with the ‘perfect 36-24-36 bodies’. Other companies that make skincare products may want to take note!

3. UrbanClap’s Men’s Day ad, with its neat twist at the end, that spoke about equality in the relationships between men and women.

Men’s Day ads can be really tricky, what with the many problematic (MRA) arguments about how men are oppressed even in the 21st century, with the advent of ‘feminazis’. Ugh. But this ad was a welcome surprise when it spoke about equality between men and women and emphasised on the difference between women needing men to succeed, versus women wanting to be with men as equals in a relationship. What’s more? It introduced us to four badass women who’re breaking stereotypes in male-dominated professions.

4. Amazon’s ad that showed a heartwarming friendship and gave a strong message against Islamophobia.

Just days after Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States, Amazon came out with an ad showing the beautiful friendship between an imam and a priest. Probably the first of its kind, it served a strong message against Islamophobia in times of the rise of right-wing forces around the world. All of us can continue spreading values of love and tolerance in our own ways, and this ad showed how.

5. Ebay India’s ad that showed a man proposing to his boyfriend.

In times of Section 377 in India, Ebay India took a bold stand in its ad titled #ThingsDontJudge. While the proposal barely lasts a few seconds, it makes a mark and shows why it’s important for brands to take a stand and play a role in working towards a more progressive and inclusive society. The ad also has a brilliant message of not judging others when they do things society doesn’t expect people of their gender or age to do.

6. Tanishq’s ad that destroyed every sexist stereotype women face at work.

Workplace sexism is still something that various companies struggle to take seriously. Often dismissed by saying “Don’t make a big deal about it” or “Grow up”, it’s something hundreds of women have to face every day, in the fight for workplace equality. This ad tackles the sexism head on and also serves as a strong wake-up call for workplaces across the country.

7. Vim’s ad about how a woman’s ‘place in society’ is not just inside her home.

This ad features the story of Afroz, a woman sarpanch, who is empowering many other women in her village. Afroz’s fight is for gender equality – when it comes to education, making decisions at home and at work. The ad also featured her family and husband and depicts a lovely relationship between the two – that of equals. While some concerns have been pointed out about this ad, it does give a strong message about the need to empower more women, especially from rural India.

8. Dove’s ad, featuring school-going female athletes, that “breaks the rules of beauty”.

Thousands of young girls in India have grown up listening to the nursery rhyme that’s also considered an ideal ‘standard’ for beauty: “Chubby cheeks, dimpled chin, rosy lips, teeth within.” This ad presents an empowering take on the rhyme and rubbishes any such ideal beauty standards or definitions. The best part is that it features school-going female athletes, who really drive the point home.

9. Colgate’s ad, that gives a hard-hitting message about the urgent need to save water.

It’s something we are told time and again but something we rarely take seriously, because of how it may never affect us. But Colgate’s ad shows how our careless actions are affecting thousands of others. You’ll be much more mindful of turning that tap off while washing your hands or brushing, because really, #EveryDropCounts.

10. Ariel’s ad that blasts the notion that ghar ka kaam is only for women.

‘Why should household work of any kind be only a woman’s job?’ asks this powerful ad by Ariel. It also talks about how we’re conditioned into believing that some chores are only for women, and some only for men, since the time we are born. All those ghar-ghar games we play as children do have a role in what we learn to believe as adults! It’s an ad that won’t leave you for a while after you watch it – and something you must watch with your whole family!

It’s great to see that these brands understand the responsibility they have towards the public, in how they choose to market their products. Moreover, 65% of young people are more likely to purchase products on how they perceive the brand, as per Vice Media. And a Nielsen report also shows that 65% of total sales of consumer goods measured globally are generated by “brands whose marketing conveyed commitment to social and/or environmental value”. Cheers to more progressive advertising! And 2017, we’re looking forward to what you have to offer!