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When iron becomes more precious than gold - Project Streedhan shows how

Exactly 10 days before Dhanteras (October 25), DSM (Dutch State Mine) launched a new campaign to encourage women to invest in iron and not just gold. DSM works in the area of nutrition and sustainable living and has launched this CSR initiative called Project Streedhan. The launch has been strategically timed to coincide with Dhanteras as women focus on buying gold during this time. 

India ranks the highest in the world when it comes to anaemia among women and the campaign says that 50 per cent of women in urban India are anaemic, an unusual fact considering that women in cities and towns have far more exposure to information and facilities than the rural women. 

Conceptualised by FCB Ulka, the digital campaign features multiple women dressed in both traditional and fusion styled festive wear, consuming iron rich foods like fish, corn, almond and watermelon. The footage is beautiful and backed by a rustic background score with the central theme of ‘Loha Chakh Le’ (Taste the iron). Their motive is to urge women to invest in nourishing their body with iron rich food. 

Onion Creative Media is the production house, while Veneet Raj Bagga is the Director. 

The video has been uploaded on Project Sreedhan’s YouTube channel and has accumulated over 350k views. 

Bollywood actor Vidya Balan and Anuja Chauhan have also shown their support for this campaign on Instagram. 


Swati Bhattacharya, Dr.Rajan Sankar, Chandni Shah
Swati Bhattacharya, Dr.Rajan Sankar, Chandni Shah

Elaborating on the concept, Swati Bhattacharya, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Ulka, said, “Iron deficiency has seen many awareness campaigns. Still one out of every two women suffers from iron deficiency. Sometimes it is not what you say but how and where you say it that creates the bigger impact. This Dhanteras, when women are thinking of investing in gold, the Streedhan campaign gets them to think of investing in another metal. Something that turns to gold inside them – iron. The real Streedhan is iron. Also, what’s so heartening is that so many jewellers across the country have come forward to support this message.”

The campaign has started receiving positive commendations as Dr Rajan Sankar, Director Nutrition, Tata Trusts, commented, “In my long years in the field of nutrition, the one thing that is easily noticeable is that governmental efforts tend toward the rural side of most nutritional issues, where it is indeed expedient. In the urban context, nutritional crises are mostly due to information bias, or poor communication among target communities, who may otherwise be financially secure. This is especially true for anaemia among urban women. This is something that communication can solve very easily, but somebody has to take charge of it. I congratulate the Streedhan campaign for attempting to do so. In a strange way, to think that half of the educated, urban women are simply unaware of their anaemic conditions is a caustic reminder also of the gender bias at play – where women have always put themselves last in line for the family’s health. This campaign will correct that perception.” 

Discussing the digital footprint of this campaign, Chandni Shah, COO, Kinnect, said, “Iron deficiency is more common than anyone might think, but a woman’s inclination to do something about it is not half as common. The power of using digital icons to drive awareness cannot be underestimated, and we are so proud to associate with socially-conscious celebrities like Radhika Apte and Soha Ali Khan to reach millions of women across India. Through digital, we have inspired women with an extremely relevant message and urged them to take a crucial step towards their health this festive season.” 

Several jewellery brands across the country, such as NAC Jewellers and Kundanlal Jewellers have also shown their support for this initiative and have pledged to spread the message among their customers who are exclusively women. 

Has the campaign clicked with the creative fraternity? 

Giving the thumbs up to the campaign, Shormistha Mukherjee, Director, Flying Cursor Interactive, remarked, “It makes me envious about the fact that why I didn’t do it? It puts a great point forward in such a delicious, unapologetic and sassy way. We think that women only in rural areas and pregnant women are anaemic. The fact is that anywhere you are, women are suffering through this. It could be anyone of us and that’s a great point that they have put forward.” 



Along similar lines, Ankoor Dasgupta, VP - Brands & Special Projects, SHEROES, said, “It is known that we tend to ignore our own health and moreover women’s health in India is facing a serious nutritional challenge that needs to be recognised and acted upon. The best part about this narrative is that Project Streedhan is keeping it simple with a powerful thought executed extremely well and that has acted as a catalyst during this festive season and also that the treatment is like that as a value driven project.” 





However, KV Sridhar, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Hyper Collective, has a different point of view. He opined, “There are many people from the middle and lower class who don’t know anything about iron deficiency, don’t have the facilities to cure it and also don’t understand the concept of consuming iron as a source of nutrition. To me, the campaign was slightly superficial and doesn’t evoke that kind of response because it doesn’t have a powerful insight or human connect. It is just making a clever point to a certain section of the society. However, it is beautifully shot with stunning photography.” 


This is what Manish Bhatt, CCO, August Communications, had to say about the campaign, “I am not a big fan of montage films. It’s a lazy format. Just a lot of different women having iron rich food is not the best way to tell this story, I feel.” At the same time, he added that all in all, the film does get noticed, and the message gets conveyed, which is great. “And yet, I wish they would have crafted a story too,” he said. 

For Bhatt, the good points are:

The jingle is memorable and quirky.

It’s a vertical ad, which means it is mobile first and adventurous.

The idea is topical. Using Dhanteras to convey this message gives it an extra zing.

The film is well executed.

Although the experts have given mix responses, the campaign has been taken well by the masses on social media and is being further supported by some female actors. Women keep our society together and spreading awareness for their health benefits is definitely important.

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