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Soldiers Wanted

Several research posts highlighted the influence of media and popular culture in framing gender roles and biases. Many others highlighted the importance of engaging men in the dialogue. I found interesting how a company like Gillette, whose ads tend to portray the typical macho man, uses advertising to create awareness and reframe perspectives. Rahul Bose (Actor): “More & more men are now becoming aware…that it’s not just important, but imperative to stand by her.”

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A friend of mine who worked in media and advertising and know I'm participating to this challenge shared with me this campaign by Gillette India:

Gillette India acknowledging the heightened national consciousness on atrocities against women has deveoped a new campaign ‘Soldier for women’ which invites men who share values of respect for women to join the movement.

The super in the video ad tells the story: 'Soldiers wanted. Not to guard the borders. Not to go to war. But to support the most important battle of the nation. To stand up for women. Because when you respect women… You respect your nation. Support the movement. Gillette salutes the soldier in you’. The last frame leaves one with a hashtag: #SoldierForWomen

Sharat Verma, country marketing manager, Gillette India, said, "Gillette’s brand purpose is to help men make a difference in their world. Our 'Soldiers Wanted' TVC calls out to all the men who embrace the values of the solider by standing up for women. Our intent is to enable men to help them make a difference in the new, more aware India today."

This ad was also based on research done by the advertising and media agencies that showed that while men would defend their loved ones, most acted like bystanders when it came to women they didn’t know. The campaign aim to create an environment where men would stand by ALL women.

The campaign "to win back women’s respect for men" was divided into 3 phases:

1. celebrities took up the cause urging men to stand up and respect women by taking the pledge. Owned messages, including a letter to a leading newspaper from the Ex-President of India and scientist Dr Kalam, created pressure for change by calling on men to honour the pledge.
2. women shared inspiring stories about everyday men who displayed acts of chivalry and bravery. Stories ranged from daily experiences at bus stops to emotional tales of girls being saved and rehabilitated from the flesh trade.
These stories were showcased on national TV, radio, cinema and outdoor.  These positive stories empowered public workers on the front line, like bus drivers and refuse collectors, to stand by the women of the cities they serve.

3. top celebrities and eminent speakers united in panel discussions and events to celebrate Hope.

Gillette joined hands with NGOs – Akshara & Plan India - to run education workshops.

Contextual ads on LinkedIn were aimed at recruiting soldiers by forming a group. Gillette organizeda soldier parade on Facebook where 1.6 Million people joined in just 1 month. #Soldierforwomen and #iStandup trended in every city on Twitter.

On International Women’s day, they launched a mobile safety app which allowed women to trigger instant emergency alerts to their trusted contacts, sharing their location details.

•           12 million men pledged to be ‘Soldiers for Women’ on Facebook and Twitter

•           300,000 women contributed stories of men who had done the right thing

•           #SoldierforWomen trended in every city

•           #iStandUp trended No.1 worldwide as well as in India on Twitter, generating more than 5.5 million impressions

•           Blog articles reached 34m Indians
  • The video has been uploaded on YouTube 3 weeks ago and has fetched more than 260K views
And of course, Gillette earned its own rewards - brand awareness and sales. e.g  700,000+ fans liked Gillette Facebook page

More information:

Learnings for this challenge:
  • How to use social media and popular culture effectively to raise awareness and potentially change behaviors
  • How to reframe the issue to open up a dialogue
  • How to build up on findings regarding men's behaviors (women in their families vs. others)
  • How can firms be involved in societal issues and support educational programs


Join the conversation:

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A 12 million person pledge is impressive. If there are enough acts and organizations of this nature working together the mentality of the next generation may begin to change and we can see a slow degrease in abuse. Having corporate backing could be incredibly influential. If politics do not become to cumbersome they could have a huge impact.

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