Devina Joshi

Femina: Girl power extraordinaire

After the ‘Woman of Substance’ and ‘Generation W’ campaigns, ‘Femina’ has come out with another campaign, ‘Believe’, in an effort to break paradigms and encourage women to follow their hearts

It’s all about girl power. And no, we’re not talking about the Spice Girls.

As a brand, ‘Femina’ has always tried to appeal to the progressive Indian woman, the kind who wants to break away from socially ‘acceptable’ norms of behaviour. Be it the ‘Woman of Substance’ campaign or the ‘Generation W’ one (launched in the 1990s), ‘Femina’ has consciously tried to break paradigms.

As Shashi Venkatraman Halve, COO, Worldwide Media (WWM), puts it, “In the 1990s, women started expressing themselves as never before. Now, the 21st century woman leverages her own beliefs and strengths to achieve her aspirations. These often involve venturing into unfamiliar territory. The essence of ‘Femina’ is success and the belief that nothing is impossible.”

The latest campaign for ‘Femina’, ‘Believe’, created by Anil Sanjivan, Vipul Thakkar and Karan Rawat of Enterprise Nexus, Mumbai, attempts to put across this brand message in sync with the magazine’s revamped look and format. The effort is to make it more progressive and contemporary.

Halve continues, “‘Believe’ represents the progression in the mindsets of Indian women. It rejoices in the fact that a woman’s strength is derived from within. In fact, our campaign celebrates women who have achieved success by breaking societal norms.”

The TVC portrays the true stories of three successful women, who withstood criticism and achieved what they believed in. The commercial also has an interesting soundtrack sung by Vivienne Poccha and composed by Vishal Shekhar, with lyrics penned by Vipul Thakkar of Enterprise Nexus. The lyrics run thus: “I know nothing can stop me from trying; breaking the chains and flying… don’t stop me! I can be anything I want to be… don’t stop me.”

The TVC opens on the shot of a small girl near an aircraft hangar, running along with a toy plane as though flying it. In the next shot, she is seen at a shop, enthusiastically holding up a toy plane in an effort to convince her mother to buy it. Her mother, to her dismay, promptly puts the aeroplane back in its place and a super appears: ‘You are not capable.’ Symbolically, the toy plane is shown as being crushed under someone’s feet.

In the next shot, the child is shown grown up – a confident Audrey Maben in her uniform, with a super reading: ‘Audrey Maben. Air-racing champion.’

The next vignette is that of another small girl applying lipstick in front of a mirror. Her mother comes and wipes off the lipstick with her thumb. The super reads: ‘You are not beautiful.’ To symbolise her disappointment, rose petals are shown falling down from a vase.

Cut to the next frame, where the girl is now a grown up, beautiful Sheetal Malhar, in an elegant white dress, with a super reading: ‘Sheetal Malhar. Super model.’

The last sequence shows a young girl in an empty discotheque, looking around in wonder. She is then shown eyeing a gramophone record of the Bee Gees (titled ‘Staying Alive’) in the window display of a shop. Her mother yanks her away and the super comes on: ‘You are not talented.’

In the next frame, the girl transforms into a grown up Megha Kawale, who tosses gramophone records into the camera, almost as if they were frisbees. As she dances around, the super reads: ‘Megha Kawale. International DJ.’

The commercial ends with a super, ‘‘Femina’. Believe’. A voiceover concludes, “I believe in me.”

Anil Sanjivan, executive director, Enterprise Nexus, Mumbai, says, “The brief from Worldwide Media was to develop a campaign for ‘Femina’ that would not only appeal to current readers, but also attract the new emerging set of young, urban Indian women.”

Among so many successful women, why zero in on these particular women? Sanjivan explains: “We realised that women do not like to be typecast into any particular role. Thus emerged the strategy of using Audrey Maben, Sheetal Malhar and Megha Kawale for the TVCs and Anjali Bhagwat and Tushara Chandrashekhar for the print ads.”

“While Malhar and Bhagwat were well-known names, the others weren’t so popular amongst the masses. In a way, we wanted to use a mix of women to demonstrate that ‘Femina’ is about real and ordinary women who have done extraordinary things,” he adds.

Navdeep Singh, ad filmmaker, Red Ice Productions (and the director of the ad), says that the task before him was to portray women going beyond what is traditionally expected of them. “When I first heard the script, I decided to use abstract symbols to signify emotions. So, we had the toy plane being crushed and the rose petals falling. After all, symbolisation takes a film beyond the obvious,” says Singh.

“Also, the shots showing the women as young girls were made to look grainy and choppy in an effort to make it resemble old footage. The shots involving the grown-up women, however, were made glossier and slicker to portray modernity,” adds Singh.

The new brand communication will be supported by events such as the ‘Femina’ Dialogues, clothes and bridal events, the ‘Femina’ Cover Girl and the ‘Femina’ Circle of Success.

Talking about the insight behind the campaign, Halve of WWM remarks, “In our research amongst women, we kept coming up with the finding that whenever a woman tries or attempts to do anything different or unconventional, the first response from those around her is ‘No, that is not meant for you’. Yet, we found that for those who dared, there was success because of their belief in themselves. This insight blended beautifully with the essence of ‘Femina’ and it formed the cornerstone of our communication strategy,” concludes Halve.

© 2005 agencyfaqs!

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