The campaign #NoConditionsApply, a revolution kicked off by The Times of India aimed at drawing attention to the need for gender equity and social inclusion in celebration and festivities, was the most awarded campaign at Goafest 2018. Crafted by FCB India, the campaign won 12 Abbys – 4 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze.
Extending TOI’s #NoConditionsApply to call for inclusive celebrations, Calcutta Times, the entertainment and lifestyle supplement of The Times of India, launched the campaign #NoConditionsApply: Shindoor Khela during the Durga Pooja in September 2017. The campaign derived insight from the 400-year-old tradition of Shindoor Khela on the last day of the auspicious Durga Pooja, an annual Hindu festival. The campaign aimed to highlight the societal discrimination among women – based on their marital status. United by gender, divided by society, many women face social seclusion year after year at various celebrations and festivities – including widows, transgender people, divorcees and single mothers.
During the festive time, the warrior goddess, Durga, is worshipped by the Bengali community in India, for a period of four days at the onset of autumn. On the last day of this vibrant, rich, communal celebration, married women endorse the goddess’ and their own marital prosperity by applying Shindoor onto the idol’s face, and then to one another. It’s a mad riot of vermillion celebration which includes married women and unwedded girls. But while the married women come together, the rest of the sisterhood looks on…uninvited. Widows, transgender people, single mothers, lesbians and divorcees are not part of this social celebration. Contextualising the campaign to Durga Pooja, the messaging urged everyone to put “No Conditions” on social inclusion. The campaign included multiple messaging, with leading women like Vidya Balan and Rituparna Sengupta, and hosted an all-inclusive Shindoor Khela at one of the prestigious Pooja Pandal – Tridhara Sammilani in Kolkata.
Excited on the win, Sanjeev Bharhava, Director, Brand TOI, said: “It is an honour to be appreciated for a cause that has helped to positively impact the lives of millions of women. At TOI, we believe in positive change that is inclusive and progressive. The campaign #NoConditionsApply was conceptualised keeping in mind the current social condition of women, enabling them to support one another to build a stronger bond of sisterhood among them. We are glad to see that our core aim to bring a revolution in the nation towards the way women from different walks of life are treated, has borne fruit, and we are thankful that the jury at the Goafest/Abbys recognised the same. We look forward to building on the campaign in its next phase.”
Speaking on the occasion, Rohit Ohri, Group Chairman and CEO, FCB India said: “Sindoor Khela is our labor of love. When a brand message is embedded in the culture of a people, behaviour change happens. Calcutta Times embedded its message of ‘NoConditionsApply’ in the cultural context of Durga Pooja. The message stirred the Bengali consciousness and created a new relevance and local connect for Calcutta Times.”
“For 400 years, this tradition has divided women into the married and unmarried, the revellers and the watchers, the privileged and the lonely I am so so happy that THE male jury got that! Every brave piece of work needs a client who trusts. This moment of glory is not ours alone…this belongs to all the hundreds of women who danced and sang and came together as one!” said Swati Bhattacharya, CCO, FCB Ulka.