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

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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!

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  1. Artika Raj

    Very nice Lipimeh.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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