Home / Companies / Breaking stereotypes with music, HUL’s Red Label puts spotlight on autism

New Delhi:In a country where disability and mental health issues are still a stigma, Brooke Bond Red Label, the 110-year old tea brand from Hindustan Unilever Ltd’s (HUL) stable, is stirring a conversation on disability through music. Continuing its quest to break stereotypes, the brand has launched the second edition of ‘Six Pack Band’ campaign featuring differently abled children highlighting the many myths associated with autism.

Aptly titled ‘Issphesal 6’, the band comprises three girls and three boys between the ages of 13 and 18. Although the band members deal with varying challenges from learning difficulties to autism, the music video manages to capture their spirit.

With a history of socially inclusive advertising, Red Label in the first edition of Six Pack Band campaign, created a viral music video on India’s first transgender band which not only stood out for its theme of inclusion but also managed to bag the highest creative recognition in the ad world, the Cannes Grand Prix.

The socially inclusive advertising journey of Red Label started in 2014 when it broke a campaign on how a reluctant Hindu couple locked out of its house is invited by their Muslim neighbour for a cup of tea which acts as an ice breaker. The second campaign Surprise Visit talked about a rather socially awkward topic of live-in relationship and the most recent campaign depicted the social alienation faced by the protagonist suffering from Alzheimer’s.

“Brooke Bond Red Label’s purpose is to help people find common ground which makes the world a more welcoming place. We see this (6 Pack Band 2.0 campaign) as a delightful way to urge people to shed ignorance and inhibition and learn to accept everyone as they are irrespective of any ability or disability," said Shiva Krishnamurthy, general manager - beverages, Hindustan Unilever.

K.V. Sridhar, founder of creative outfit Hyper Collective said that since product benefits have become commoditised, only those brands that propagate human values will strike an emotional connect with consumers. “By creating awareness around differently abled people Red Label comes across as an empathetic brand which cares for such people and consumers like such brands," he said.

The Red Label video is conceived and produced by Ashish Patil, head of Y-Films the youth film wing of Yash Raj Films and curated by composer Shameer Tandon. The band hopes to break social barriers and pave the way for an inclusive society, sparking a conversation during the ongoing World Autism month. The title track will be followed by a launch of six songs as a part of the ‘Issphesal’ album, over a period of six months.

“Being a special needs parent myself (father of one of the band members), the theme of mental health and disability is extremely close to my heart. In India, people with mental disability often face social alienation and discrimination because of the lack of awareness about such diseases which we aim to change," said Patil.

It took a team of 30 experts like music therapists and counsellors to audition over 200 children from 60 organisations over a period of six months to cast the band members. Apart from digital platforms of Y Films and Red Label, the campaign will be promoted across radio, 9XM music channel and music streaming sites like Airtel Wynk and Saavn.

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