The ad transforms common activities of women into Olympic sports.
She’s running after a public transport bus as the bag on her back dangles up and down… She’s running behind the vehicle until the next stop. The driver opens the door for her to enter, but she refuses. She wasn’t running behind the bus, but was, in fact, racing against it.
This scene sets up Glow and Lovely’s new ad that intends to celebrate the 56 women athletes who represented India at the just concluded Tokyo Summer Olympics. The country sent the most number of female athletes in its history to the Tokyo Olympics. And, out of India’s sum of seven medals, three were won by women.
Lowe Lintas has made the ad and Crazy Few Films is the production house behind it. They made sure to showcase a diverse set of Olympic sports, and not just the popular ones. There’s track and field, swimming, discus throw, weightlifting, long jump, and hurdles.
A couple of bits in the ad are smart, or unintentional mirrors to the lives of Indian women.
There’s a scene where a woman picks up an iron suitcase (the one we’d find at our grandparents' house), just like a weightlifter would, to keep it over the cupboard. And while this happens, her brother is just sitting and watching TV. The TV screen conveniently shows the headline, “India wins silver at Olympics”. Mirabai Chanu won a silver medal in weightlifting.
In another scene, a woman jumps over a pipe akin to a woman in a hurdles race, while a group of old men look on. It feels like a nod to those community leaders notorious for trying to control the lives of women.
And, towards the end, we see the same girl who was racing against the bus, remove her red bangles and place them next to the other bangles on a table. Together, they form the Olympic symbol.
Hindustan Unilever (HUL) had changed the name of its fairness cream ‘Fair & Lovely’ to ‘Glow and Lovely’ in July 2020 to combat long-held criticism that the brand promotes harsh beauty standards.
As part of its rebranding exercise, it had released a rap video in October 2020, made in collaboration with hip hop and rap star Deepa Unnikrishnan, a.k.a. Dee MC. In the ad, ‘glow’ was equated with identity.