We spoke to Sharmila Nair, founder, Red Lotus, about this unconventional digital campaign.
Apparel brand Red Lotus which was launched just seven months ago has come up with a new digital campaign for its new range of sari collection called Mazhavil (Rainbow). What's interesting is that the campaign with the still ads features transgender models draped in saris. The ad shoot has been done in-house and not through an ad agency. There is a video, too, that has been shot during the time of the photo shoot.
So, who is the target audience for Mazhavil?
"Actually, everyone!" says Nair. She further adds, "When we thought about this campaign, it was not only for transgenders, but for everyone. We portrayed them as normal people, and that was the main idea behind this campaign."
"None, at all," says Nair. "We wanted fresh and inexperienced models. We wanted to give everyone an opportunity. The only criterion we considered were people who loved wearing saris. We didn't do any screening process," she says.
There is no doubt that the campaign will do well and be appreciated. But, will the brand do equally well, and will this campaign generate sales for the company?
This is not the first time though that a brand has done a campaign with transgender models. Just a few months ago, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) did a digital campaign for 'Brook Bond Red Label 6 Pack', in which Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam lent his voice for the song 'Sab Rab De Bande'. In that particular video, the singer himself was a part of it and the song explains the story of two eunuchs who were initially ostracised, but later accepted by their neighbours. Prior to this video, HUL came up with the 'Hum Hain Happy' digital video campaign, which replicated Hollywood singer Pharrell Williams 'Happy'.
Recently, Dove, personal care brand from the house of HUL, released a campaign that was aimed at shattering the conventional rules of beauty. Though it featured normal women, the premise was the same as that adopted by Red Lotus -- challenging the standard definition of beauty.
He further adds, "There is the hidden agenda, ofcourse, of putting the brand on the conversation map by riding the issue. Having said that, it does its bit towards bringing the issue to the fore - it makes the brand look inclusive. I do sincerely hope that brands trying to raise such issues also show some real commitment to them. Doing something real on the ground is critical, not just talk about it in public."
Are we ready to receive such imagery in print? Or, are brands better off sticking to digital?
Sinha says, "I think if we are ready to receive such messages in the digital medium then we are ready to receive them in print, too."