Dr AL Sharada
May 12, 2021

Creative critique from a gender lens: 3-7 May

Dr AL Sharada, director, Population First, reviews a selection of ads from last week

Dr Sharada reviews six ads from last week
Dr Sharada reviews six ads from last week

A very run-of-the-mill ad film in terms of the script. Young men mad over a match, eating and enjoying themselves till acidity strikes their good luck mascot. However, I am happy to note that the ad features a young woman, equally enjoying the match, although she has no speaking role.
Gender Sensitivity Score (GSS): 3.25/5

“Women occupy nearly 30% of the workforce. Almost 65% of the women work as construction labourers since their families are already in the workforce or male members of their family are employed there,” according to an article in Business World. While showcasing the contribution of JSW Cement to the construction industry, it is disheartening to note that women are conspicuous by their absence as leaders, architects, site managers, construction workers. Women are only shown as family members of the men who are the proud house owners except for one fleeting shot of a woman leader or professional. It is important to understand and acknowledge the contribution of women in various industries and sectors and give them their due in our communication.
GSS: 2.5/5

These two ads are humorous and capture the impatience of the current generation to get things done instantly. It is interesting to note a girl having her feet massaged by a man and enjoying the massage, as, in Indian society, it is not considered proper for a man to massage a woman’s feet.
 The second ad has a very typical portrayal of a woman making hot pakodas. But it shows the young man in a very non-macho image making the mistake of eating a pakoda and jumping in agony with burnt hands and mouth.
 The ad uses stereotypes, yet also interestingly challenges stereotypes, to convey the message with humour.
GSS: 3.5/5

A celebrity-driven ad is for a brand that is associated with food products, which are also shown as products for women. The ad has two women with speaking roles endorsing the product, which once again reinforces the idea that women are solely responsible for safeguarding the health and nutrition of their family.
GSS: 2.75/5

It is interesting to note that the ad features a girl and a boy, and yet, by showing the boy as the one who determines the menu based on his knowledge of the product, the ad once again relegates the girl to a supportive role. However, the product endorsement is by the mother rather than by a male voice of authority in the voice over.
GS Score: 2.75/5

The film effectively captures the turns and twists on Indian roads. However, the ad is male-centric with all riders being men and also the traffic constable being a man. Adding a few women driving the vehicles, or managing the traffic would have made the communication more gender-balanced.
GSS: 2.75/5


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