Vir Das takes a dig at ‘sexist’ commercials in a new deodorant teaser ad

The video, conceptualized and executed by Orchard Advertising, highlights how brands degrade the status of women during the promotion of their products


The ad takes a dig at brands for making women feel “awkward, objectified and pointless” in their advertisements.
The ad takes a dig at brands for making women feel “awkward, objectified and pointless” in their advertisements.

New Delhi: Comedian Vir Das takes television commercials that objectify women down a notch in a teaser video of the latest advertisement campaign by the newly launched ‘HE Respect’ deodorants.

The teaser video was released on Facebook and YouTube to set up a context for the upcoming television commercials.

The video, conceptualized and executed by Orchard Advertising (a part of the Leo Burnett group), highlights how different brands degrade the status of women during the promotion of their products, while Emami Ltd owned deodorant brand ‘HE’ does the opposite and respects them.

The teaser shows Das shooting for an ad-film where he is sitting on a swing in a long and flowing maroon dress. Imitating a famous actress from the advertisement of a popular beverage brand, Das is seen showing his love for mangoes and waiting for the mango juice to drop on his lips. Another segment of the film shows Das sitting in a bath-tub full of rose petals and caressing his skin.

The video also shows Das standing on a beach sensuously licking the ice-cream and posing on a bike as he mumbles, “Bike sales go up if I keep my legs like this.” The ad takes a dig at brands for making women feel “awkward, objectified and pointless” in their advertisements.

“We believe that there is a need to nurture a positive role model among men, who are able to accord respect to women. HE Respect seeks to honour and bring into light such men who believe in honouring women,” said Harsha V. Agarwal, director at Emami in an e-mailed response.

“The main thought of the campaign was that ‘Real’ men respect women,” he added.

In the last segment of the video, for instance, Das is shown upset with all such brands which objectify women to sell their product and hence storming out of the ad-film set.

Talking about the campaign, Sharmine Panthaky, vice-president and branch head at Orchard Advertising- Mumbai, said that deodorant brands thrive on the objectification of women. “We wanted to create a story that would embody something completely opposite. In a very humorous fashion, the ad conveys our message.”

HE Respect, which was launched earlier this month as a new variant to aerosol (gas) deodorant range of HE deodorants, was jointly ideated and designed by Emami and Orchard Advertising as an effort to a create a new variant in the deodorant category.

This came as a part of company’s move to reinvent its gas range of deodorants. Emami had re-introduced four existing variants and added HE Respect to its product line. With other collections—HE Icy and Body Perfume, Emami also forayed in the ‘no gas’ space of deodorants which holds around 26% share of the total Rs.2,200 crore deodorant category in India with competitors like Vini Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd owned Fogg deodorant (market leader by sales), ITC Ltd’s Engage, Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s Axe and McNROE Consumer Products’ Wild Stone.

“HE Respect has been a passion project for us from the very beginning. We were clear that an important message needs adequate firepower and support to make a real difference,” said RajDeepak Das, chief creative officer, the Leo Group.

A television commercial for ‘HE Respect’ under the same campaign features Hrithik Roshan (brand ambassador for HE deodorants) and will soon be released on digital platforms and across television channels.

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