People are consciously or unconsciously shaped by the culture in which they live. Even though we feel a genuine freedom of thought and belief in our day to day lives we are unknowingly constrained by culture such as the language we speak, the knowledge and information available to us at any given time.
Since ancient times we have seen cultures dominating the social scene. When we were being ruled over by the Mughals we could see their culture prevalent everywhere. India still bores the cultural signs of the British rule after 70 years of independence. Even today in the form of governments be that the state or the centre we see them promoting the type of culture that suits their party.
In the 21st century with the onset of the so called ‘digital age’ Indian youths have resorted to imitate the American culture to its fullest. From fashion to food to the very standard of living people have become obsessed with the Western culture.As long as people abide these cultural norms they are happily welcomed into the social group. But if a person refuses or somehow doesn’t follow the dominant culture of that particular area he/she ostracized by the society.
We all tend to divide the social world into two distinct categories-us and them. We view other people as belonging either to our own social group, usually termed the in-group or to another group, an out-group. We make such distinctions on the basis of many dimensions, including race, religion, gender, age, ethnic background, occupation and even the town or neighborhood where people live. Parents and other adults often reward children for expressing the “right” attitudes-the attitudes they (the adults) hold. Prejudice is often transmitted to youngsters in this manner. For example my mom is a woman of old views and when we had a conversation about a Muslim woman marrying a Hindu man she was strongly against it probably because she was taught by her mother or when she ventured into the society she saw this type of an union as undesirable.
When individuals from different groups meet under favorable circumstances (e.g., norms favoring equality exist, they get know each other as individuals), any prejudices they formerly held may be sharply reduced. As seen in this advertisement when the young buyer didn’t know about the idol-maker’s religion he spoke to him quite well. The buyer even complemented him on his knowledge but as soon as he realized that the other is a Muslim his friendliness disappeared. Recent findings suggest that beneficial effects can occur even if people simply learn that other members of their own group have formed friendships with members from an out-group. Thus this ad comes as a reminder that we all are humans at the end of the day.Every culture includes a somewhat different web of patterns and meanings: ways of earning a living, system of trade and government, social roles, religions, traditions in clothing and foods and arts, expectations for behaviors, attitudes towards other cultures and beliefs and values about all these activities.
Culturally induced patterns become deeply imbedded in the human mind that they often operate without the individual themselves being fully aware of them.Summary Brooke Bond Red Label has come up with a brilliant ad film to commemorate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. The 2 minutes and 18 second advert wholly captures the spirit of this festival that aims to bring people together. Geometry Encompass advertising agency conceptualized this ad film and Little Lamb Films shot it under the direction of Devanshu Singh. The actors in the lead are Anil Khopkar and Ghanshyam Lalsa.Inspired by a real life story, the campaign delves into deep-rooted cultural and religious prejudices. The advert was shot in a Ganpati idol pandal one of many that can be seen on the streets of Mumbai, weeks before the arrival of Bappa.
The film is a conversation between an aged idol-maker and a young first-time buyer of the idol. In the conversation, certain unknown facts about the deity are revealed by the idol-maker. As the young man is looking at the idol choices the knowledgeable artisan pulls out his Muslim prayer-cap and readies himself for namaz in response to the aazan. This leaves the excited buyer bothered and he tries to leave. That’s when a glass of Red Label tea takes charge and turns things around. The buyer realizes his fault and how even though their cultures are different they are still human.
The story resonates with real-life situations and encourages relevant, meaningful and healthy conversations. As an audience myself this advertisement struck a chord with me when I by chance saw it on YouTube. It is a simple advert with great human insight. It encourages everyone to open their minds and break the shackles of their own notions to come together. The scriptwriter Madhurya Alankaar beautifully phrased the complexities of human beliefs.
The screenplay was crafted keeping in mind a cultural-balance, and being respectful towards everyone. It is an honest ad, well-informed of cultural sensitivities and doesn’t make a person feel ostracized. The piece, apart from depicting its take on religious ties that come into conflict during this auspicious month that’s celebrated by both communities, manages to shed light on how conveniently unaware we are to the nuances of the religion we practice. We certainly got the message in the latter half of the film that equates craftsmanship to worship. We encounter powerful pressures to act or think like those around us. This is mainly because we don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. In many contexts there are spoken or unspoken rules indicating how we should feel or behave-social norms.
Most social norms are obeyed by most people. This is because of two important reasons. First, each of us has a strong desire to be liked by others. One way of reaching this goal is to appear to be as similar to others as possible. This is done to gain the approval and acceptance of others. A second reason to we conform is our strong desire to be right-to hold the “right” views, dress in the “right” style and so on. Thus in the advertisement its shown that for no other reason than being a Muslim the buyer refuses to buy an idol from the idol-maker.
It is important to note that like the buyer we too assume that the idol maker is a Hindu just because he is making the Ganesha idol. It is only when he takes out his prayer cap hearing aazan that we realize he is a Muslim. Thus literature, art, clothing, music all indicate which culture one belongs to. The aazan and the prayer cap immediately make him a Muslim but without it he can easily pass on as a Hindu especially since he is making the Ganesha idol. It is also an indicator of how a particular item of clothing marks you as a person from a different faith and makes you unusual from others. We have a tendency to obey the authority.
Even as Indians we are taught from a young age to respect and obey our elders. The idol-maker in the advertisement is shown to be a Muslim man decorating a Hindu God’s idols. He is defying authority by doing something that is traditionally so out of his faith. When asked why he chose this particular profession he replies by saying that this too is “ibadat” (worship).
The marketing team has beautifully used tea as medium of breaking social barriers. The advert not only teaches us to overcome our deep-rooted prejudices but also displays how detached the present generation is from the knowledge of its own faith.Moreover the campaign scores on content and timing. The community angle is a very sensitive topic for a brand and this has been handled nicely respecting both religions. Overall the campaign has been promoted well for a brand people love. The size of the film is not too long and the characters give the film much personality.