Femina gets serious, speaks out against domestic violence

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 05, 2005
Long associated with the casual and the glamorous, Femina speaks its mind on serious social issues

Shopping for the perfect pair of heels, grooming for a beauty pageant…fighting breast cancer, speaking out against domestic violence.

Femina, the popular women's magazine from The Times of India group, synonymous with the Miss India pageant, is consciously speaking in a different language. And it is reflected in its brand communication, which has taken a rather serious turn of late.

The latest print campaign for the magazine is a startling message against domestic violence. Created by Enterprise Nexus, the ad shows a room with everyday objects labeled as "His Weapon". And it includes everything from a flower vase to a TV remote. The other half shows the terrifyingly-battered face of a young woman, with a simple pointer near her mouth: "Your weapon." The body copy says: "Your best defence against domestic violence. Speak Out."

For both the publication and the agency, the communication simply had to touch upon domestic violence as one of the issues. Says Anil Sanjeevan, executive director, Enterprise Nexus, "This issue is very much a reality. It's just that people do not talk about it. Keeping in mind Femina's holistic approach to all women's issues, this was something that we decided to focus on."

Interestingly, recent Femina campaigns have talked about - not botox or bikini wax - breast cancer (print campaign) and widow remarriage (TV commercial). Another TVC showing a gushing bride, suddenly taking charge on her wedding night, was also a comment on the new woman's declaration of her sexuality.

Says Shashikala Venkatraman-Halve, COO, Worldwide Media (the new joint venture with the TOI group and BBC), "We are an established brand in the world of glamour and beauty. But we are also a very Indian brand with a global perspective. We have been the essence of the Indian woman in transition, and our communication thus deals with all the issues that affect the Indian woman, as she stands today, and which, also affect her family. That is what our tagline 'Generation W' is all about"

But she also acknowledges the fact that there has been a conscious attempt to move away from traditional communication that talks about the brand or the content. "We believe that Femina today is an established and powerful brand. This gives us the liberty to talk about issues that are much larger than the specific content of the magazine. And that is why we chose three very contemporary issues such as cancer, violence and a woman's right to satisfy her desires in our communication."

Agrees Vipul Thakkar, creative director (content), Enterprise Nexus. "While all the campaigns, including the latest print one, may look like parts of a singular idea, they all address very different issues. And that makes for the complete picture of the magazine. On one hand, it is casual and flirty, and on the other, it also tackles some sensitive and critical themes." Karan Rawat was the art director on the campaign.

But Halve makes it clear that these issues and the ones that are coming up (another print and TV commercial is said to be in the pipeline) are more than "gender issues". "As a brand, we have also taken a stand and spoken our mind," she adds. "We have decided to establish a connectivity with our readers that goes beyond the functional and relates to them at the emotive level."

Femina enjoys a circulation of 1,35,000 (according to ABC figures). Thanks to the JV with BBC, there will be more action from the Worldwide Media stable, promises Halve. And that includes a slew of new magazines among other things.

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