Brooke Bond Red Label's Happy Hijras Return With 'Sab Rab De Bande'

By Ashee Sharma , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Published : February 18, 2016
The HUL brand continues to push the advertising envelope with the second transgender video created by Y-Films, the youth wing of Yash Raj Films.

Hindustan Unilever (HUL)'s happy hijras (Hindi slang for eunuchs) are back, this time with Sonu Nigam, and a much higher branding quotient. 'Brooke Bond Red Label 6 Pack', India's first transgender band, which debuted with an amusing number 'Hum Hain Happy' last month, has released two new videos titled 'Sab Rab De Bande' (original and acoustic).

The videos conceptualised and executed by Y-Films (Yash Raj Film's youth films wing) tell two real-life stories of transgenders who were initially ostracised, but accepted by their neighbours later. While the original version has a lot of colour and an international feel to it, the second is completely acoustic, quite Indian in its feel and is stark.

Much like the debut feat, the 'Sab Rab De Bande' tracks have profuse audio-visual branding. In addition to the red cups and Red Label packs, the brand and its philosophy have been integrated into the lyrics which go, "yeh paatiyan koi zaat na dekhein, rang na badlein dharam ko le ke, aa is se kuch to seekhein...chal chai peetey hain" (Tea leaves do not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or religion, let's learn something from them...Let's have some tea).

bonding over a cup a tea

Commenting on the brand association, Shiva Krishnamurthy, category head, tea, Hindustan Unilever, had in an earlier communication, said, "Red Label is HUL's warmth brand which stands for brewing togetherness. It believes in making the world a more welcoming place by diffusing socially awkward situations. We encourage people to live those little moments that bring us all closer by breaking barriers over a cup of tea. This time, we chose the medium of music to spread this message."

Ashish Patil, business and creative head and vice-president, Yash Raj Films, says, "HUL has come on board as a partner and sponsor as it sees a great thematic fit with Brooke Bond Red Label. It is also our promotional partner for the project."

Happy hijras with Sonu Nigam

Shiva Krishnamurthy

Ashish Patil

Brooke Bond Red Label is part of Hindustan Unilever's tea portfolio, along with three other brands, namely, Taj Mahal, Taaza and 3 Roses. The company's main competitor in the tea segment is Tata Global, which markets tea brands like Tata Tea and Tetley. Other players in the market include Wagh Bakri, Godrej, Pataka, Society, and Duncan.

The 6 Pack Band will release a total of six tracks as part of this initiative which is aimed at furthering the cause of gender equality in India. The Hijra community was officially recognised by the Indian government in 2014 as the third gender, and given a special status under the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill for the purpose of education and employment.

Talking about the next video that will be out soon, Patil says that Asha Bhonsle's 14-year-old grand-daughter will debut with the song. "It will be a very interesting collaboration. For the song, we have used a genre of music called 'Stomp'. The music will be composed without the use of any musical instruments, but with objects such as tea leaves, buckets and utensils," he says.

The 6 Pack's debut number 'Hum Hain Happy' that went viral with over a million views was a rendition of the popular English song 'Happy' by American singer Pharrel Willliam. The 'Sab Rab De Bande' (original) feat seems to be a bigger hit with more than 2.5 million views on YouTube so far. The second one 'Sab Rab De Bande' (acoustic) which was released three days ago is also picking up. All three tracks have been composed by Shameer Tandon.

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