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  • Writer's pictureSoumya Samuel

Rewind 2021: Indian Ad Campaigns That Got Us Thinking This Year

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

The top five advertisements of 2021 that were creative and thought provoking at the same time.

We were all ready to embrace the ‘new normal’ in 2021. But this year too was no different than 2020. Life continued to be shrouded in fear and uncertainty.

The advertising industry, despite the budget cuts, restrictions on shoots and productions, and numerous controversies over advertisement content, delivered some brilliant, thought-provoking and creative work in 2021 that deserves to be celebrated.

So here are the 5 ad campaigns of 2021 that made it to the top of our list. (and in no particular order)

1. BHIMA JEWELLERY | #pureaslove

This year, very noticeably, the media made space for conversations and representations of the transgender community. While some managed to hit the right notes and perspectives, some failed. One such campaign that stood out and told a beautiful, heart-warming story was Bhima Jewellery’s ‘Pure as Love’ campaign. It shows the acceptance of a transgender girl’s identity by her family and them celebrating her as a bride.

2. AMUL MACHO | Legitimizing Female Gaze

Not everyone was a fan of this ad, but we think it brought out an interesting perspective. The ad that hit 18 million views on just Instagram in two months, shows Rashmika Madanna as a yoga teacher who can’t take her eyes off Vicky Kaushal, her student, who wears Macho Sporto in class.

3. CADBURY | #goodluckgirls

Giving a 2021 twist to the iconic Cadbury ad, Ogilvy took a risk by reimagining a popular advertisement of the 90s, this time urging people to celebrate women at the forefront of creating milestones. And should we say, it was well worth the chance they took! The ad featuring a girl hitting a century and her boyfriend jumping onto the field to celebrate her performance is every bit momentous and nostalgia-inducing.

4. Tanishq | Marriage Conversations

An attempt to rescript the popular Indian marriage narrative, Dentsu Webchutney encourages couples to have open conversations around their lives together in a marriage. From adoption to financial security and mental health, the ad demonstrates the power of being vulnerable with one’s partner. Well, true that the wedding lasts a day but a marriage lasts forever. Hats off Tanishq!

5. Thums Up | Palat De

Inspirational. Touching on the spirit of India at the Olympics. Celebrating the winners at Tokyo, Thums Up’s ad by Ogilvy celebrates the determination, the strength and the fierce spirit of our sportsmen. An ad we loved for celebrating real heroism in its multi-colors and shades. And one that was a hit given the spirit of the nation that it brings out.

So that's our top five!

But before we wrap up, there are two ads that just missed being on our list by a whisker and deserve a special mention.

6. MensXP | Don’t Man Up

We loved the way the ad breaks down the weight of patriarchy that men shoulder. And it features one of the most influential social stars, Bhuvan Bam. Only place we think it could have done better is in adding more creative power to the message. In fact, a number of other brands too touched upon the same topic on International Men’s Day. But we liked MensXP the best.

Love the courage of the women who chose to bring out their stories through this ad and for every Indian woman over 24 years of age, this is an experience that is very much relatable. What else did we like about the ad? The line that says focus on the goodness, not the flaws. Thought-provoking in a creative way, making Dove an endearing brand among the Indian audience.


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