Outdoor ads are sometimes criticized as a form of visual pollution—obscuring scenic views, cluttering country highways or covering city streets—but some marketers are creating outdoor work that actively fights pollution, from toxic water to contaminated air.
In the Philippines, an 88-foot billboard that promotes Japanese natural cosmetics brand Shokubutsu Hana is made of vetiver grass, which has toxin-absorbing properties. Placed in Manila’s heavily polluted Pasig River, the billboard can cleanse up to 8,000 gallons of water a day. (While not a traditional outdoor ad, a Cannes gold Lion winner in the outdoor category similarly serves as a means to clean water: Produced by the charity Water Is Life, “The Drinkable Book” is a manual covering good sanitation and hygienic practices that also purifies drinking water, thanks to a paper coating that can destroy deadly bacteria.) In Peru, meanwhile, a billboard for engineering university UTEC purifies air up to five blocks away. Situated within the construction site of UTEC’s new campus, the billboard can filter 100,000 cubic meters of air per day.
Each campaign highlights a commitment to quality of life, reflecting positively on the organizations. In UTEC’s case, the university recognizes that growth and development can cause pollution but shows that it has the know-how to help mitigate the negative impact. These practical efforts go beyond raising awareness to providing solutions to real problems, addressing anxieties and improving lives immediately.
In India, remarriage has been a thorny issue, much more so for women than for men. In a patriarchal culture, there is some stigma around marrying a widowed or divorced woman, even in India’s fast-changing modern society. A TV commercial for jewelry brand Tanishq breaks new ground with a sweet, sentimental portrayal of a woman getting married for the second time around.
A bride with a dusky complexion (instead of the stereotypical fair-skinned beauty) is getting ready for her wedding but looking apprehensive. She talks animatedly and fondly with a little girl and walks with her to the mandap (the traditional Indian wedding ceremony). As the couple begins walking in a circle as part of their vows, the girl calls out to the bride, her mother, that she wants to go round and round with them. As the situation gets awkward and everyone tries to hush her, the groom calls out to the girl, picking her up before continuing with the ceremony. At the conclusion, she asks her stepfather, “Do I call you Daddy from now on?”
The brand smartly encourages India’s middle and upper middle classes to get more comfortable with the concept of a second marriage and helps to empower women with this progressive portrayal, showing the bride-to-be believing in herself. Tanishq has a history of offering modern portrayals of the Indian woman: A few years ago on our sister blog, JWTIntelligence, we wrote about a Tanishq commercial that depicted the new breed of independent, working women who don’t want to be rushed into the traditional arranged match.
After numerous headlines about rapes in India, including several incidents involving tourists, fewer female travelers are visiting the country. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India has reported that visits by female tourists dropped 35 percent year-over-year in the first three months of 2013. In response, as The New York Times reports, Indian states are forming police forces dedicated to protecting tourist-heavy spots, and the Tourism Ministry is opening a multilingual toll-free helpline to be staffed by women.
The Tourism Ministry’s latest idea involves badges emblazoned with the phrase “I Respect Women” in languages including English, Korean, Russian and Mandarin. Workers in the tourism industry, like drivers, guides and travel agents, will be encouraged to wear them. Skift has termed this effort to curb anxieties around sexual violence “2013’s worst idea in travel” on the grounds that it does nothing to actually change social attitudes and behaviors.
Photo Credit: facebook.com/Ministryoftourism
With the Indian rupee depreciating to new lows against the dollar, Indians are expecting the worst. They’re anxious about shelling out 10 to 15 percent more for an education abroad and about paying more for both essentials and luxuries like imported chocolates. Now the Indian consumer will have to think twice before getting her hands on a ritzy new gadget or car. With the monthly expenditure of the middle class increasing by almost 20 percent, there is tension in the air and fear in people’s hearts.
Indian dairy producer Amul, known for its tongue-in-cheek advertising on current issues, illustrates the angst felt by the Indian consumer. An ad shows the iconic Amul girl in a sinking boat made of rupee notes, trying to grab onto a rupee. The headline, loosely translated, means “Save me from my rupee.” The sardonic sign off, “Valued highly,” adds to the dark humor.
The brand is clearly in tune with its consumers, as the pinch is being felt by every pocket. With the cost of imported raw materials, crude oil, medicines and fertilizers going up, all sectors are getting affected and in turn are affecting the consumer. Consumers are bracing for the actual brunt, which will be felt in the coming months.
Photo Credit: Amul