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Bold and beautiful: Anouk’s ad featuring a lesbian couple

In our economics classes, we were taught that modernised thinking is one of the parameters that determines the economic development of a country. India is attributed as the fastest developing economies in the world, and the same is reflected in its moderinised society and the advertising community. Ogilvy & Mather’s digital ad campaign ‘The Visit’ for Indian ethnic apparel brand Anouk has played on the lesbian relationship to reiterate this message.

As the Indian society is getting comfortable talking about issues such as live-in relationships and homosexuality, the branding universe is further fuelling the fire and adopting these ideas in its advertising campaign. Anouk’s ad campaign has caused a buzz in the market as people are sharing the first lesbian ad campaign across social media platform.

“The purpose of the ad was to promote Indian-style garments. Both the client and us, we believe that just because certain women wear Indian clothes, does not mean that they are not empowered or have the right to think about society as they would like to,” said Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and National Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather.

With its tagline ‘Bold is Beautiful’, the ad campaign has not only stirred conversation but gone viral on social media. The ad has garnered over 1.73 million views on YouTube. In the India oversaturated market of ethnic wear, Anouk has attempted to attract the new-age modern consumer that believes in going beyond the social taboos.

The campaign titled ‘The Visit’ is plotted against a familiar setting where a couple is getting ready to meet the partner’s parents. But its innovative and bold move is in conveying this message through a lesbian couple who are in a live-in relationship. The campaign aims to break the established norms set by society for women and highlights their real-life experiences of how they deal with these facets of choices and its consequences with a dash of boldness, beauty and style.

Manish Aggarwal, Vice President of Marketing, Myntra Fashion Brands said, “According to prevalent thinking, ethnic wear is seen as a safe option as it makes them look less sensuous and less appealing to the male gaze. A plethora of ethnic brands occupy this safe space and are mutually indistinguishable. We wanted to give Anouk a sharply defined identity in this crowded category – describing it as an ethnic wear that is bold, vibrant, stylish and even edgy at times”.

“With this background the idea was formed – encapsulating real life experiences and stories by delving into the lives of women who deal with their choices and its consequences with beauty, style and boldness. Anouk symbolises this bold and beautiful choices of women,” Mr Aggarwal added.

The Visit is not the only campaign in India’s offering that depicts the modernised Indian society, but we have seen the concept of Widow Remarriage by Tanishq (A wedding to remember), homosexuality by Fastrack (Come out of the closet), among many others. The favourable reception of ‘The Visit’ is undeniable on back of the interest it has garnered on social media and industry experts lauding its revolutionary efforts.

However, at this point of time it is revolutionary but some other brands will soon be seen following the suit and crafting an ad campaign which goes against the social taboos. But the strength of the content or the art of storytelling should not be comprised. The idea alone cannot ride an ad campaign, it must comply with the overall standard of the creative content in goes into the making of an ad campaign.