New ads for Britannia and Parle G offer insight into the 30-second portrayal of the Indian housewife today.
Both ads start with a crunch - in one, a homemaker dips Britannia Toastea in chai and starts dispensing her bahu duties towards her sasurji, kiddo and hubby with panache, as her saas (Neena Gupta, by the way) looks on with pride. Meanwhile, in another ad, for Parle G, a kid cutely relieves his mom of her thankless, nonstop housework by making the family - (again, a sasur, a hubby and a kiddo) - realise that she needs a break from fetching them their chai and looking for lost objects. It takes the brand's 'G for Genius' stance ahead.
It’s incredible how both ads, broken around the same time, are polar opposites. Sure, one may argue that there's no need to go all woke ninja on the portrayal of a housewife doing her job happily. One may also argue that the Britannia ad does a lot for the product - it positions the rusk (it's not exactly a biscuit) as a pre-breakfast solution to 'subah ki bhook', creating a viable consumption ocassion for the ready-to-eat toast.
But still. I'm not able to get past the basic difference between the two... one perpetuates an image, one fights it. For me, it's G for Genius all the way, this time.
That’s where my LinkedIn post, from a few days ago, ended. I received some interesting comments, critiquing the two strategies. Some feel Britannia’s portrayal of the Indian household is outdated, while others argue that it’s an apt reflection of reality and, thus, hits the spot.
For instance, Abhishek Verma, head of digital, Plan B, a Bengaluru based advertising agency, said, “Britannia does a better job of understanding the customer; the customer is not a 'woke' person living in a metro… it's the people in the heart of India that drive sales. Neena Gupta, a popular face, appeals to the core belief of the approving saas with a dutiful bahu. That's how India functions; one needs to travel more to understand India.”
In contrast, is a comment by a senior business consultant; she said the Britannia spot is a wasted opportunity because large, well known brands are in a good position to bring about social change, and should use this power to push progressive messages, especially, as a media professional points out in her comment, in a post Share-the-load world.
Kamonasish Aayush Mazumdar, founder and CEO at Foodieverse, a consumer tech startup in the food space, said, “The buyer decides what the communication is, marketers unravel it – the insight exists and is therefore discovered, but not invented,” pointing out that the stories brands choose to tell in their ads depend on the lifestage they’re in: category creation, category penetration or category expansion.
While it's interesting to note different points of view on the biscuit matter, I'll save my kudos for the latest Pampers spot that inspires new dads to change diapers and meet their better halves halfway, as far as household and child-rearing duties go. Now, that's woke.