Priti Nair - Q&A
Director, Curry Nation
India is not known for its subtle advertising campaigns but a couple of recent adverts raised eyebrows around the world. One, for a vaginal-whitening lotion, featured a wan-looking woman whose relationship seemed to turn around, post-cream. Another was for a vaginal-tightening cream, bearing the rather indelicate name of 18 Again. The television promo showed a housewife leading her husband in a lusty dance around a courtyard. The ad was banned within a week of being on air.
What was your reaction when Ultratech approached you to do the campaign for 18 Again?
I didn’t even know there was a product like this on the market. What excited us was that it was a completely new category and a huge challenge in a culture like ours to market it, as you have to tread a little carefully. We’ve had problems in the past with people thinking even a shampoo ad was too racy.
We thought that as this is a product allowing women to take their own sexuality into their own hands, the core of it would be women’s empowerment. The ad shows the woman in the spotlight; everyone else, including her husband, is a prop to her.
Where did the campaign feature?
We had full-page ads in the Times of India and other English-language newspapers explaining the product in detail. The television ad ran on some news channels but only for a week before the Advertising Standards Council pulled it. They’d only received two formal complaints but there had been a lot of negative chatter online.
Are you pleased with the level of publicity you ended up with for the product?
Yes the product became well- known but on a personal front I’m quite saddened by the reaction. I understand there are sensitivities and mostly to do with the fact that the words “virgin” and “vagina” were broadcast, but the issues the product deals with are often talked about behind closed doors. I genuinely believe in the product and that it should be advertised the way it was.
Barry Smit -Q&A
Director, SE Asia (BDF), Draftfcb
Draftfcb is the ad agency behind some of Nivea’s most successful skin-whitening campaigns. Known for creating cheeky, humorous and witty adverts, Draftfcb produces its work in Thailand and shows them all across Southeast Asia.
What’s been your toughest brief so far?
When Nivea introduced the whitening deodorant, guys here said, “Why do I need a white armpit?” So we introduced it as something you do for your girlfriend: this is a spot for comforting, a spot for hugging, a spot she’d like to get close to, so you want to make sure she won’t be repelled by it.
And your most successful delivery on a brief?
Thai consumers like humour so for Jealous (pictured below), a commercial for body-whitening lotion, we used the insight that Thai women say their guys are always looking at other women. The commercial shows a couple walking down a street but the guy is looking at all these other girls. So the girlfriend throws off her coat and she’s wearing this stunning nothing-ness. Suddenly everyone’s looking at her. He puts his arm around her and says, “OK, I got it, we’re together.” She was what we call “sassy” – the kind of confident, independent attitude typical of a Nivea girl.