Abid Hussain Barlaskar

Pond's festive season spot takes on 'body image' worry

Body image dissatisfaction and insecurity among women is real. Numerous research and studies conducted around the topic both globally and in India suggest that such insecurities lead to stress and bad health among other adverse effects. The latest festive season ad from the campaign #SeeWhatHappens from Pond's urges people to overcome the insecurity and express themselves freely. The ad is for BB+ fairness cream and has been crafted by Ogilvy.

Well, festive seasons are about wearing clothes of your choice and looking nice. But then there is the conversation around the perfect fit, be it the two piece ghagra-choli or a saree with the peeking belly.

The ad, 'Reveal Your Festive Glow This Season' features a girl getting ready for a Garba dance session. But her concern about her plump tummy against the thin waists of her friends leaves her worried and insecure. However, post a good look at herself in the mirror and a little pat of the Pond's cream, she regains her confidence and joins the dance, to be soon wooed by a guy.

The ad takes note of the body shaming that transcends to the digital world. The girl is worried about her dance turning into a 'fat girl dancing' viral video. But while it is understood that it’s not a product-solve-problem ad and Pond's is getting itself into the cause-led communication, what actually stands out is the idea of a fairness cream helping a girl realise that she doesn't really need the 'patli kamar'. Where is the product fit?

In the previous ad from the same campaign that features a girl secretly learning boxing, the girl used a Pond's face wash to wash off the makeup that she covered her bruises with. She goes on to open up to her mother about her secret.

But does the BB+ ad fit the bill? We ask experts.

While brand and consumer expert Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy (former Rediffusion Y&R, UTV Media, Zee, JWT) maintains that the storyline of the ad is true, she mentions that the creative and the execution did not move her. "It could have been more touching and the heart is completely missing. The idea of being evaluated by other girls or women provides really fertile ground for telling a story for any personal care product. I know many plump women who get nervous while dressing up for occasions such as weddings, etc. The ad could either be a story in itself or about the functional features of a product. This is neither," Swamy say

Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy
Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy

Swamy further mentions the ad campaign for the Always line of feminine and menstrual hygiene products from P&G and says, "Any woman who looks at the Always ads regardless of the age group will be immediately touched. Most of the ads don't even show the brand. It has to be done all out.”

"What really struck me was the entry of the guy in the end. Why was it necessary? The final affirmation from a male takes it all back to the age of the Fair&Lovely ads. It doesn't seem progressive to look at a guy for validation, which is actually a step away from what the 'boxer' ad tried to say. It is more about the brand character. The Pond's that we saw in the ‘boxer’ ad cannot be different from the Pond's in the BB+ ad," she adds.

Shashank Lanjekar, head — strategic planning, Taproot Dentsu says, "There is a stated link in the message. Duniya ko apni 'chamak' dikhao, phir dekho kya hota hai. Chamak or glow is the product benefit of the Ponds offering. And the urge is to focus on your glow (intrinsic) rather than on external aspects such as body shape."

Shashank Lanjekar
Shashank Lanjekar

"Both the commercials (boxer and BB+ cream) are not the typical problem-solution kind that one sees more often in the personal care category. Both these ads have an emotive aspect about them, which is more life related than product related. In the boxer film, it’s about the clarity to show your true self and in this commercial it’s about your inner glow, which is also another manifestation of one’s true self," Lanjekar reasons.

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