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Arriving at the codes which define safety, masculinity & humour today


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Prasunika Priyadarshini, Radhika Venkatarayan

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Arriving at the codes which define safety, masculinity & humour today

  1. 1. Codes of Masculinity, Humour & Safety Presenters: Prasunika Priyadarshini & Radhika Venkatarayan
  2. 2. 1. AT THE BEGINNING Our Client’s Ask 2
  3. 3. Our Client, a leading challenger brand in the tyres category Looking to develop a compelling new communication strategy to take on a well-entrenched heritage brand 3
  4. 4. 4 Client Context Asses and gauge how users process and consume advertising • CATEGORY LEVEL Ascertain story telling devices which drive engagement as well as purchase consideration • CONSUMER LEVEL  Understand category codes via semiotic decoding of past communications, within the category and outside Research Objective Research Process STEP 1 Inside out approach (Tell Approach) In-depth interview and analysis of past communication STEP 2 Outside in approach (Ask approach) Arrive at the themes that resonate and the values that connect
  5. 5. 2. DECODING HUMOUR Knock Knock 5
  6. 6. Lets begin with a joke.. 6
  7. 7. Indian Humour: Cultural, Conversational & Caricature-ish 7 • Brands have resorted to humour in a bid to make clutter-breaking ads. More relevant than ever in the age of virality and listicles • Typical themes include: It happens only in India situations, conversations and language - the puns, and cultural stereotypes • Codes have now evolved to  the meme- fication of our humour, fueled by content creators, comedy clubs and the state of the Republic • A shift from personal self-awareness to a more conscious & outward looking humour This in turn has caused the offence industry to go on an overdrive • We can laugh at ourselves, our jokes can be risqué and filled with innuendoes, be edgy, be inappropriate, our grandfathers will pass off casually racist “observations” as “jokes” But… • Don’t joke about our Gods & our Holy Cows – both of the actual and metaphorical variety
  8. 8. The category that the client operates in, uses little humour... Thus there was an opportunity to use it to create something clutter breaking 8 Superiority Theory Humour Relief Theory of Humour Incongruity Theory of Humour Benign Violation Theory Laughter is used to dissipate the tensions one experiences during emotional moments Laughing at the misfortune of others, oftentimes very physical in nature and slapstick Humour generated by getting two things that normally don’t go together, to mix for laughs When a situation is a violation and also benign, that is when humour occurs, goes against norms
  9. 9. 9 SBI Life Insurance Ad • RAISON D’ETRE: Allows the use of humour to dissipate tension, even dark themes like death, injury and social issues get tackled through this • REPRESENTATION CODES: Slice-of-life, everyday scenes, amplified tension/ problem set-up, before- after scenarios, characters representing the majority in look, manner and appearance, inhabit our every day spaces – homes, work, streets, testy relationships, focus on a “mistake” made • NARRATIVES: Classic storytelling devices – start, middle and end, which showcase transition (or transformation) • ROLE OF BRAND & HUMOR: Brand is introduced in a humorous vein as solution to get past the mistake, serves as catharsis for the problem and acts as a coping mechanism (overcome inhibitions) SBI NRI Services ad Limca Best suited for our client – not overtly funny, thus adhering to category codes, yet gives enough edge for memorability Relief Theory of Humour: Keep Calm & Laugh it Away Kapil Sharma TVS ad
  10. 10. 10 Nerolac Surakhsa Plus • RAISON D’ETRE: Allows humour to soften derision and shade thrown at others, making it socially acceptable to laugh at someone who has got it wrong • REPRESENTATION CODES: Overstate and magnify things out of proportion (exaggeration) to highlight the “misfortune”, slapstick and physical elements brought in, usually there is an audience involved to heighten social embarrassment, dialogues that are cutting and insults are used NARRATIVES: Stories where ‘comparison’ is shown followed by denigration of self esteem, Protagonist is put in a situation of doom from which there is very little escape • ROLE OF BRAND & HUMOR: Here the non-adoption of the brand is linked to misfortune, and the humour is used as a cautionary tale of sorts Shame and humour often used in advertising, did not seem the right fit for the client given the serious concern around safety Superiority Theory of Humour: There, There, but this is hilarious Bajaj Dominar Odonil Freshener MakemyTrip
  11. 11. 11 Spice Jet - Men • RAISON D’ETRE: Allows for humour by metaphor- ization of it – one thing as something else it is vastly different from. Helps take on themes that are problematic even • REPRESENTATION CODES: Humour arises from unexpected situations hence surprise is a key ingredient. Logical fallacies are highlighted (e.g. adults dressed up as kids) which have the potential to be used as a mnemonic for the brand (e.g. pug intrinsic to Vodafone), physical contrasts (fat woman, thin man), mismatch between time and space (woman cooking in the middle of a stadium), mixing of worlds (sophistication with the accessible), gender bender. • NARRATIVES: Unconventional and engaging stories, that are bizarre and against social mores, but still have protagonist eventually making the right/ safe choices. Conversation, language is critical here • ROLE OF BRAND & HUMOR: Brand is introduced as a trusted friend, the one you can joke around with Flipkart Kids Hathway Internet These are engaging route for brands to reinforce their message – and are often clutter breaking. However, there is usually not one hero in these stories Incongruity Theory of Humour : It’s a Mad Mad World Apollo Tyres
  12. 12. 12 Fortune Rice Bran Oil • RAISON D’ETRE: Allows to use violence as a creative device to bring into focus the problem • REPRESENTATION CODES: Suggestion of violence through effects, noise and reaction, use meme, social commentary to give the issue greater gravitas • NARRATIVES: Marry small problems to a larger social issue – around health, safety, relationships etc. Usually works better with a third person commentary • ROLE OF BRAND & HUMOR: The brand does not assume a direct heroic position, but helps to navigate the world with its share of problems Kinley Hit Mosquito Suited for the Client and the Category they were operating in Benign Violation Theory of Humour : Funny because it is True CEAT Tyres
  13. 13. 3. DECODING MASCULINITY Uth Gaya Mera Raja Beta? 13
  14. 14. Boys2Men 14
  15. 15. Indian Masculinity: From the long-suffering, to the alpha to the Woke Bro 15 Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré • Brands and popular culture have portrayed masculinity through fairly conventional filters of the long- suffering bread-winner, to the benevolent patriarchal provider • The domains have been fairly clearly set for men and women – with a few brands having made smaller attempts to challenge this – moving masculinity from less alpha to the “share the load- er”, emotional, expressive persona • Now, in the wake of #metoo and #notallmen times, masculinity has become a complicated subject, with woke allies emerging in all narratives and personas
  16. 16. Communication usually focus on these different types of masculinity 16 The Eternal Charmer The social bee, at the centre of action, but allows others to shine too The Boy Next Door An everyman personality – responsible and reliable always, who does right The Controlling, High Achiever The alpha, thrives among others of his ilk, unconventional but gender roles maintained The Lone Wolf, risk- taker The journeyist, chases spectacular outcomes, self is the key The Armchair Activist Well informed individual who tends to question the status quo and is seldom happy
  17. 17. 17 The Lone-Wolf: The Round Pegs in the Square Holes Nescafe Cartoonist • RAISON D’ETRE: The journeyist, chases spectacular outcomes, self is the key and is truly a free-spirit • REPRESENTATION CODES: Unconventional, creative and different (entrepreneurs skills), pursues situations where outcomes are uncertain, cerebral, moody, something that requires to be overcome – a physical or a mental barrier • NARRATIVES: Story ending on a note of hope, optimism, highlighting and celebrating the triumph of the human spirit • ROLE OF BRAND & MASCULINITY: The brand that is an enabler and provides you the courage to make tough choices, that are unconventional Aditya Birla Sun Life JK Tyres
  18. 18. 18 • RAISON D’ETRE: An everyman personality – responsible and reliable • REPRESENTATION CODES: Characters who are younger, rooted, conformists, not showy or resort to grand gestures, humorous and emotional, expressive, bridge inter-generational gaps • NARRATIVES: Slice-of-life stories that focus on small, everyday wins, personas that look, speak and think like all of us • ROLE OF BRAND & MASCULINITY: The brand is seen as a caring and a trusted friend The Boy-Next-Door: Nice guys do finish First Nokia Diwali gifting Ad Kapil Sharma TVS ad Kohinoor Basmati Rice
  19. 19. 19 Armchair Activist: Yahan Ka System Hi Hai Kharaab Tata Tea ad • RAISON D’ETRE: Well-informed individual who tends to question the status quo and is seldom happy with the outcome • REPRESENTATION CODES: Active and doer personality, curiosity, larger social issue as a thread/ undercurrent, focus on values of justice/ correction • NARRATIVES: Situate the individual/ personal problem in a larger social issue • ROLE OF BRAND & MASCULINITY: The brand co-opts the larger cause, the protagonist fixes the problem at hand CEAT Tyres
  20. 20. 4. HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER? The Steps the Client Took 20
  21. 21. Thus, we were able to recommend to the client… the following building blocks for creating a narrative 21 PROMISE: A brand that is your ally, against everything that is wrong with the world, we did this by layering with the angle of safety PERSONA & NARRATIVE: Wry observation, armchair activism, persecution complex, cruel cruel world, because you can’t control the world, scatological humour that “unmasks” others PACKAGING: with humour, gentle poking fun at the others, keeping oneself at the centre, tongue-in-cheek, but without offending
  22. 22. “ 22 “The tyre is the only connection between our vehicle and the road….at the end of the day when you are on the road it is the tyre with whom you communicate…hence its important that it gives best control while riding…..”
  23. 23. The best way to predict the future is to invent it! Thank You! 23