India @75: Nisha Singhania on the strong social conscience of Indian advertising

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 conversation with Adgully, Nisha Singhania, Co-founder & Director, Infectious Advertising, highlights how along with helping build and sell brands, Indian advertising has addressed social issues such as female infanticide, educating the girl child, domestic violence and much more.

Singhania pointed out that traditionally, the government and non-profit organisations have been engaged in promoting social issues such as anti-smoking, anti-alcohol, anti-dowry.

“However, it’s heartening to see that more and more private companies are taking up social issues, such as female infanticide, educating the girl child, menstrual and pregnancy education for rural women, etc. All these are very relevant and much needed messages that need to go out.”

Citing some successful examples which helped educate and increase social awareness in society Singhania mentioned about:

  • The ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ consumer awareness campaign
  • The ‘Salaam Bombay’ campaign during the 1993 blasts, which helped bring positivity and hope to a city under attack
  • And the milestone campaign, ‘Do boond zindagi ki’, for the Pulse Polio drive, which helped eradicate polio from India

Apart from these, Singhania further said that women’s issues are also taken up very seriously now. She specifically mentioned about ‘Bell Bajao’, stating that it was a great campaign to urge people to do something against domestic violence. “The Tanishq ‘Same sex marriage’ and ‘Wedding of a single mother’ threw light on the changing social fabric. The Ariel ‘Share the Load’ campaign, for all the outrage, did drive in the point about inequality at home,” she noted.

“So yes, while advertising helps build and sell brands, there are enough examples on how it has done good to the society at large,” Singhania concluded.


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