Gillette challenges gender stereotypes in barber shop girls India campaign

  • The digital film, uploaded on the brand's YouTube channel on 26 April, has garnered 3 million views so far
  • The film shows the everyday village life from an eight-year old boy’s point of view as he notices how gender roles are clearly defined in the society

New Delhi: After creating an internet storm over the global MeToo inspired ad, P&G’s personal grooming brand Gillette is back with an inspiring true story of two women who have debunked gender stereotypes to run their father's barber shop in a small Indian village of Banwari Tola in Uttar Pradesh. The digital film, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCR24jyhfZk, uploaded on brand's YouTube channel on 26 April, has resonated with the netizens garnering over 3 million views so far.

Created by advertising agency Grey India, the film shows the everyday village life from an eight-year old boy’s point of view as he notices how gender roles are clearly defined in the society. While men get to earn the living or indulge in sports, women are restricted to household work. The viewer can see the effect of subliminal patriarchy on the young protagonist’s impressionist mind until he walks into a barbershop with his father, where he is surprised to see two girls ready to give his father a shave. While the boy is puzzled the father explains that a razor doesn’t differentiate between a boy and a girl.

Karthik Srivatsan, associate director and country category leader, shave care, Indian sub-continent at P&G, said Neha and Jyoti and the entire village of Banwari Tola are an example of how when we take positive actions, we create meaningful change and set the right example for the next generation. “Gillette is proud to further enable their dream through our 'Safalta Apni Muthi Mein' programme. It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture. Our actions need to inspire us all to be better every day, and to help create a new standard for boys to admire and for men to achieve. Because the boys of today are the men of tomorrow,’’ he added.

Small creative inputs such as the government’s campaign ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’ (Save the daughter, educate the daughter) mural on one of the village walls and the background score inspired by the Sohar — a traditional folk song sung in celebration at the birth of a boy — further adds to the gender equality message. Gillette’s ad agency has added a twist in the lyrics towards the end challenging the tradition, and urging people to equally celebrate the birth of a girl, for even she can change the family’s fortune.

Sandipan Bhattacharyya, chief creative officer, Grey Group said, “Gillette, as a progressive man’s brand, believes in and propagates topics that are relevant to raising and inspiring the future generation of men. And with this campaign and a powerful message like ‘Shaving Stereotypes’, Gillette drives home a point that has utmost relevance in the times we live in. The boys watching today need inspiring role models so that they grow up to be better men."

This is the first India campaign after the brand rolled out its global ad spot ‘The Best Men Can Be’ (wordplay on its tagline) which took a bold stand on bullying, cat-calling, and sexual harassment. Unlike the global campaign, the new India campaign takes a subtle route to highlight gender stereotypes prevalent in most rigid societies.

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