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India @75: Dia Kirpalani on campaigns that sought to effect societal change

As India gears up to celebrate her 75th year of Independence, we at Adgully are tracing the journey of Advertising and its contribution to the Indian society at large – whether it is bringing about a change in mindsets, or a societal pattern, or empowering different communities or ushering in new thoughts – basically, Soch badal ke rakh diya.

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Our aim is to collate 75 most impressive and significant ways in which Advertising has impacted India over the decades. For this, we are reaching out to the Advertising Honchos of India to share the most significant contributions of Advertising to the Indian society and why they consider them to be important developments. We will serialise the story on Adgully’s website in the lead-up to the Independence Day this year in this special series: India @75 – Through the Advertising Lens.

In an interaction with Adgully, Dia Kirpalani, VP - Head of Strategy, Blink Digital, said, “There are large campaigns that I am sure everyone knows, such as Ariel’s ‘Share the Load’, Tata Tea’s ‘Jaago Re’, Tanishq’s ‘Second Marriage’ or ‘Inter-caste marriage’ campaigns. While these certainly do their part in starting conversation, there are smaller campaigns that sought to effect societal change within their brand objectives.”

One of these was a campaign close to Kirpalani’s heart – Shoppers Stop’s #StopTheBias campaign, which was recognised by Kyoorius, and was possibly the only Indian campaign to be shortlisted for a Gerety Award in 2020.

Elaborating on the campaign, she said, “#StopTheBias sought to challenge the beauty conventions that we impose on people of all genders, and encourage a freer expression of beauty through creativity. It sparked tremendous debate, garnered over 120 hours of UGC from people of all genders, and even received scorn for including unconventional ‘beauty influencers’ as part of the campaign. But that’s what it wanted to achieve, because you can start to clean something up when you know where the dirt is.”

Kirpalani also mentioned another campaign that stood out for her – called ‘Reteach the Teachers’ by Nihar Hair Oil, which sought to upskill rural Indian teachers, enabling them to learn English, and, therefore, pass that learning on to their students. To effect this change, Nihar developed a constructive training program, and launched their English learning initiative on Whatsapp, making it easily accessible pan India. It also dedicated 5% of all profits over a 9-year period to student literacy.

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