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India @75: Jitendra Hirawat on advertising morphing & shifting with the times

As India celebrates 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.

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.

The thing about advertising that calls out to Jitendra Hirawat, Director, SoCheers Films, the most is that the lens with which it is created continuously keeps morphing and shifting as per the times. And rightly so! The Indian advertising industry has always moved alongside the larger Indian society, sometimes reflecting the national sentiment in beautiful executions and other times, leading the change from the front, said Hirawat.

He recalled the iconic ‘Hamara Bajaj’ campaign, which established such a strong relatability with the country’s middle class population by artfully depicting the nuances of their lives.

Adding further he said, “Whenever the message of unity needed to be said out and proud, Indian ads did it with style, be it the legendary ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ video, or Ambuja Cement’s ‘Bhaiya yeh deewar tootti kyu nahi hai’ (Why won’t this wall break). We remember a time in the 90s and 2000s when cricketers were at peak popularity because big household brands like Pepsi and Boost were exclusively featuring them in their ads, lending a younger tone to the brands.”

Moreover, as the society progresses, advertising is continuously trying to move away from misogynistic and orthodox ways. Sometimes it is achieved with direct efforts like the much-appreciated ‘Share The Load’ campaign from Ariel or the heart-touching Vicks’ ‘Touch of Care’ ad. Other times, it is about the more intrinsic efforts on how a narrative is crafted or who is cast. This can be seen beautifully in the recent ads coming from the BFSI sector, where women are being represented as equal financial partners.

“Even though advertising, at its core, is about skilfully communicating a brand or product idea to the consumers, we have seen it being so much more than that in India over the last many years,” Hirawat pointed out.

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