Ads with a cause: Brands work their way on Independence Day, Raksha Bandhan

Topics Brand World | Indian brands | Brands

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance expands the freedom message to talk about gender parity
Amazon India has an ad that has a sobbing brother asking his sister to teach him how to tie the two ends of the #DeliverTheLove ends with the siblings in tears as the brother leaves for his hostel and the sister stays home.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance is announcing its new brand identity, ‘Caringly Yours’ through its campaign for Independence Day. The storyline expands upon the concept of the country’s freedom with the freedom to love. Titled ‘Pyaar Ki Azaadi,’ (freedom to love) it talks about an inclusive love across genders. Aegon Insurance plays the same theme, but packages it into a message around Raksha Bandhan—two sisters explore their relationship as one tells the other that she has always known about her being uncomfortable about the gender she was born with.

McDonald’s pitches its ‘Indianness’ while Amazon focuses on sibling love in its campaign
On a day that has thrown up two big occasions, Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan, brands have played up the emotional and the sentimental while pitching a cause around their products or services. Colgate and BookMyShow, among several others, have  also tied up with NGOs to spread a special message or seek support for a cause through their campaigns.

Many brands chose to focus on brother-sister bonds in the weeks preceding the day, perhaps, leaning on the inherent transactional nature of the festival to make their case. “I think there is more mushy stuff that brands put out these days on the brother-sister love because in terms of an emotional palette, there is more to play on,” says Sandeep Goyal, chairman of marketing and communication agency Mogae Media. He points out to the Aegon Insurance campaign  and points to the manner in which present-day concerns seep into the traditional portrayal of the festival. “So an LGBT slant introduced into Raksha Bandhan as the younger sister ties a rakhi to the elder defining in some way a new dimension to the relationship,” he says. 

For some brands, however, the storyline is about traditional sibling love. Reliance Trends, for instance, talks about the small rivalries that mark such relationships but melt away on the big day. 

Parle G combines the two occasions to talk about love and pride
Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults, says, “This year, as Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan collide, it is an excellent opportunity for marketers to make the best of both. Advertising creatives that blend both for impact will be watched with passion and participation.” 

Parle has a digital campaign that combines the two, as does Gits Foods. Mayank Shah, category head, marketing, Parle Products, says the company is expecting the festive season to push demand. “We are anticipating 10-15 per cent growth in sales compared to last year around Independence Day.” However, two big occasions on the same day, he says is one opportunity less for marketers.

Some have chosen to stick with nationalism and pride. Liberty Shoes, for instance, has come out with an ad campaign in collaboration with singer Piyush Mishra, on freedom. Kajaria Ceramics has used brand ambassador Akshay Kumar to establish its patriotic credentials, while the messaging has been more direct with e-commerce platforms that have  Independence Day sales banners flashing on the masthead and the tricolour streaking its way through the site’s interface.

It is important that brands understand the occasion and the emotion it invokes while framing their promotions and messages, says Venkat Rangachari, co-founder of, a sales and marketing solutions platform. National events (Republic Day, Independence Day)are about pride, sense of responsibility, sacrifice and courage, whereas festivals focus on joy, community, affection, family. “Brands must understand this difference. When the gap between a religious and national event is large, brands can participate in both. However, when its narrow, then brands must choose,” he says, and adds that a lot depends on the consumers that the brands are looking to reach out to.

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