Ananya Pathak

Women's is one of the fastest growing categories: PUMA's Abhishek Ganguly

For generations, women have been told to follow certain norms. They have been asked, taught and made to believe what is right and wrong. While it might differ from one family to the other, we all know it exists in some form. The good thing is that an increasing number of women are breaking boundaries that have been set for them... not our words, but those of Abhishek Ganguly, managing director, PUMA India. The German multinational company, Puma SE’s latest Indian campaign — 'Propah Lady' — celebrates this shift.

The nearly two-minute-long film, conceptualised by Digitas, a Publicis Groupe company, features Bollywood actress Sara Ali Khan, Indian boxer Mary Kom, professional sprinter Dutee Chand and transgender model Anjali Lama. With this campaign the brand aims to drive immersive conversations on issues that are fundamental to the society.

Abhishek Ganguly, managing director, PUMA India.
Abhishek Ganguly, managing director, PUMA India.

Ganguly tells us the women’s category is one of the fastest growing for PUMA in India, contributing to 30 per cent of the business. He says, “A big change in the confidence and belief of the Indian women over the last few years has been key to driving this trend. Fitness is a natural expression for the new-age Indian woman. She wants to feel good, strong and not disadvantaged by any means. Also, women often inspire each other and create a group behaviour. In lot of cases, friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbours inspire and introduce fitness; increasing the adoption of fitness among women. Group classes in various forms of fitness, such as aerobics, zumba, calisthenics, yoga, pilates and dance fitness is growing phenomenally among women.”

The over seven decades old brand was a late entrant in the Indian market (2006) as compared to the other global brands. “There is immense potential in India. Growing interest in fitness and overall orientation around healthy living is catching up really fast. Added to this, Indians are taking to sports both, professionally and as recreation more than ever. This, coupled with the growing athleisure trend is fuelling the demand for sportswear in India.”

Siddhi Desai, creative director, Digitas.
Siddhi Desai, creative director, Digitas.

About the brief given by the brand for the campaign, Siddhi Desai, creative director, Digitas, tells us that the brief came for the Autumn-Winter Women’s Collection 2019 where the hero product was LQD cell Shatter. That name sparked the idea. “When we first discussed this campaign, we were all very clear that we wanted to talk to the empowered woman and not preach to anyone. We didn’t want it to be a comparison with men or other women. It had to be inclusive and it had to have a narrative that made a difference to the world,” she shares.

We asked her about the ideation of this film. She says, “Women have normalised a lot of things that were once unheard of and in the process, shattered the definition of a “Proper Lady” and it was time to call that out. From there was born PROPAH. A word that’s incorrect yet correct.”

Team 'Propah'
Team 'Propah'

“The first thing we wrote was a poem, that’s the script today with some amazing additions by the director Reema. She brought her own touch and vision to it. Selecting the right collaborators for the project was the most important thing. No Actors. No influencers. No sets. Women in their natural habitat, unapologetically being themselves,” she shares.

The theme of this campaign reminds us of the Women's Day campaign from 2015 by Star Sports called #CheckOutMyGame, focussing on women breaking stereotypes. Other brands across categories including UCB (United By Half), Always (#LikeAGirl), Reebok (Girls Don't Fight), Ariel (#ShareTheLoad), Vivo (Celebrating Womanhood), Bajaj Avenger (#RideYourIndependence), Mia (#BestAtWork) have highlighted the purpose in their communication in the past.

About this observation, Desai quips, “To be honest, no matter how many women-led campaigns brands do, it’d still be less. There are so many narratives to cover, so many conversations to have. This is officially the best time to be in advertising for any woman.”

Industry speak.

We reached out to Rajesh Minocha, executive creative director, Happy mcgarrybowen to get his opinion on the ideation and execution of the film and to understand if women empowerment is an over used purpose by brands.

Rajesh Minocha, ECD, Happy mcgarrybowen.
Rajesh Minocha, ECD, Happy mcgarrybowen.

He feels that the film is an eye opener, “It tells me I’m a critical mind. Probably I should’ve hit the like button on seeing this. It’s cool, it’s catchy, it’s a great piece of content. Instead, I was left wondering what exactly do they mean by this. Instagram showed me that my wife has loved it. I asked her why and she said, “you’re not a woman, you won’t get it.”

He continues, “It seems like an abused subject rehashed by a brand. The brand, Puma has stood for lifestyle more than athleticism. If women who don’t fit conventional expectations would love to be called “Propah”, why would I hate Puma for giving them some song and dance about it. It’s pretty good, the way it is. The music, edit, graphics, etc. I will now go and like the post on their Insta page.”

Client: PUMA India

Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director

Debosmita Majumdar, Head of Marketing

Creative, Digital, PR and Media teams: Akanksha Srivastava, Namita Gautham, Bansari Borda, Anagha Thampi, Merin Mandanna, Jerry Sebastian, Ratin Arora, Ankit Madhogaria, Akash Singh, Ronak Sharma, Binwant Behgal, Anjana Asrani, Surbhi Mehta, Abhineet Rawat, Deborah Carvalho

Agency: Digitas India

Amaresh Godbole, CEO

Sonia Khurana, COO

Creative:: Mark Mcdonald, Siddhi Desai, Shraddha Rao, Prachi Damani, Sanket Palkar, Vishal Rao

Account Management:: Sabah Iqbal, Poornima Kamath, Harsh Shroff, Sherbanoo Bundeally, Nikita Goel

Strategy:: Sakshi Arora

Outreach:: Vineet Nanavati

Analytics:: Vivek More

Production House: Catnip Culture

Director:: Reema Sengupta

Producer:: Kunal Punjabi

Cinematographer:: Vikash Nowlakha

Editor:: Akshay Mehta

Costume Stylist:: Indrakshi Pattanaik

Hair & Make-Up:: Tarsha Khorana

Music & Sound:: Tejas Nair

Vocals:: Nicole Madi

Production Designer:: Shravan Patil

Design & Animation:: (Mehr Chatterjee & Aditya Dutta)

Colorist:: Sid Meer

Casting:: Soumi Roychowdhury & Surekha Sengupta

Campaign Photographer:: Aman Makkar