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Abstract

Advertising is a form of persuasive communication with an audience. It is a promotional tool that helps in selling new ideas, products, and services through print, electronic and digital media. Advertising as one of the most influential components of mass communication is also strongly associated with social issues. In recent times, social media has acquired massive influence, providing an attractive and universal platform to every domain of businesses. Social Media has become an instrument to accelerate the process of change where it promotes social awareness and advertising in the society. As advertising mirrors the society, it strongly captures the changing social mores and reflects them through various media. Currently, we see social issues like pollution, corruption, feticide, single parenting, and LGBT equality reverberate in social media. Under the existing circumstances, communicating social messages through advertising makes the brand more purposeful, memorable and emotional for consumers. This study examines the effects of social media on consumers with respect to an advertising campaign by Myntra, one of the India’s leading e-commerce fashion platforms. The advertising touched the LGBT chord, emphasizing how the modern Indian woman can voice herself, create her identity and have her own space in the society. The digital campaign titled ‘Bold Is Beautiful’ was launched to promote Myntra’s apparel brand Anouk with three woman-centric issues around which the society is not very comfortable–homosexuality, single-parenting and the joy of staying single. This article focuses on research around an advertisement highlighting homosexuality, titled ‘the visit’. According to the survey, the brands perceive making such advertisements a necessary step towards maintaining a healthy public image. A survey was distributed to management students of a premier educational institution, pursuing their Masters of Business Administration (MBA). The results indicated that a majority agreed that if these issues were addressed more openly, then it would create a sense of boldness and power among the LGBT community. They believe that advertisements portraying social issues should expand beyond typical advertisements of products to promote social change in the mindset of society towards these issues, in order to eradicate narrow-minded thought processes. The advertisements contribute toward achieving freedom of sexuality in society.

Note on the Author

Gajendra Singh Chauhan is an Associate Professor and Head of the department of Humanities and Social Sciences in BITS Pilani, India. He specializes in Communication and Media Studies and research in the area of applied linguistics, advertising communication, and media writing with a focus on linguistics of advertising in India. He regularly conducts training programmes on professional communication and HR topics (media related) for faculty members and business executives across India.

Tanu Shukla is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in BITS Pilani and did her doctoral work from a think tank & an apex body of Ministry of Human Resource Development, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi. She works in these areas - Applied Social Psychology, Research Methods, Higher Education, Policy Studies, Gender Studies and Organizational Behaviour. She is currently pursuing research in the area of women in medical sciences and professional ethics in higher education.

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