Featuring Karan Johar, Knorr rolls out a campaign highlighting LGBTQ relationships
Remember The United Colors of Benetton’s series of controversial ads, starting from the infamous condom ad to the one ad which featured a priest and a nun in clerical vestments, kissing. Needless to say, the advertisement caused quite a stir within the Roman Catholic Church. Next, came the ad featuring a newborn baby who was still attached to the umbilical cord. Released in the ’90s, the ads generated interest from two schools of thought. Even as consumers loved the progressive nature of the brand, the ads drew its share of outrage. From then to now a lot has changed, from brands to personality-driven platforms, everyone is trying to bring change in the mindsets of society. Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) is the latest one to join the club with its campaign for its soup brand Knorr.
“#Unstereotype is a Unilever credo which challenges the stereotypical portrayal of characters in advertising. We believe that advertising needs to reflect changing societal trends and people from all walks of life should be able to identify with it, stated HUL on its website. With the current campaign, the company has struck off the previous taglines, ‘Tummy bhi khush, Mummy bhi khush’ and ‘Choti bhook bye bye!’ and has replaced it with, ‘One Night with Karan’.
“Knorr is a progressive and inspirational global food brand, which promises restaurant-like taste at home. Our new campaign attempts to communicate this promise by ‘unstereotyping’ food advertising”, Shiva Krishnamurthy, vice-president, tea and foods, HUL, said.
A suggestive Knorr soup ad shows a sleepy Johar opening the door in the middle of the night to a handsome drenched neighbour who has lost his house keys. Johar, full of innuendo and facial expressions, offers a blanket to the handsome neighbour, who demands something warmer — soup. When a startled Johar shouts soup at 3 am?, the neighbour counters which restaurant will refuse Karan Johar’s order. A reluctant Johar then heads to the kitchen, opens a Knorr vegetable soup packet and makes a ‘restaurant-like’ piping hot bowl of soup. The ad ends with an expectant Johar disappointed as the neighbour demands more soup but hints at nothing else.
For the FMCG major the ad allows to propagate yet another issue of ‘gender equality’ as it claims that food ads have typically featured homemaker as the preparer and server of food for the family. “We feel that this need not always be the case. There are single-person households, households without kids etc where food brands get consumed, however, these households get left out of mainstream food advertising,” Krishnamurthy, added. The commercial was first launched on Karan Johar’s Instagram page, has got more than a million views and is being also aired on television.
This isn’t the first time brands in India have come out cause-driven ads. In 2015, Walmart backed fashion e-tailer Myntra rolled a series of ads addressing a host of issues from LGBTQ to pregnancy among others. In November this year, Rebook launched its campaign, ‘She Got Ree’ — featuring brand ambassador Katrina Kaif. With the campaign, the brand reiterated its aim to pursuit fitness especially in case of women, who face a number of challenges on a regular basis. While at an international level earlier this year, Coca-Cola faced opposition in Hungary for its campaign which showed images of same-sex couples kissing and holding beverage bottle, with taglines that said, ‘Zero sugar, zero prejudice’.