Sun Communications, a Dhaka based advertising agency, has recently created quite a buzz around the world with their Jui Women’s Day ad. The ad showing a girl victimised by domestic violence opting to cut off her beautiful long hair to prevent her abuser from grabbing hold of it, has been featured in major international news agencies. It turned out to be one of the most shared Bangladeshi ads on the Internet.
Showtime recently reached out to the team behind the outstanding ad to talk about their vision, approach, and setbacks faced.
How did you come up with the story?
While generating ideas for the ad, we always had this in mind that we’ll have to make it relevant to the today's young women, who by the way never compromise their dreams and desires for anything. This is evident in our everyday lives. We are seeing them becoming footballers, cricketer and what not, upholding the name of the country to the world through their great work. So, we wanted to promote this courageous attitude. We wanted the brand to talk about this and eventually developed the idea of the ad.
There was another fact that we came to know during our work through a leading national newspaper. A survey on domestic violence has been undertaken by an institute, which found out that almost 80% of Bangladeshi women are victims to domestic violence, while 72% of them are unable to talk about it. The result of this violence is alarming. This helplessness of these victims needed to be stamped out, and we tried to convey the message to a greater audience by our work.
There has been some dispute surrounding the ad, suggesting that the ad is showing a lost victimised woman rather than inspiring them to fight. What’s your response to that?
In the ad, we see the victimised girl cuts her hair off, which means that she is lost. We had to face quite a dispute regarding the fact but if you choose to see the reality, we couldn’t but show it. These girls are being victimised everyday and a large number of them are in great danger. We could’ve shown that the girl has turned back and started to fight a boy, but would you believe it then? Would it be empirical? This is why we chose to bring the reality forward, which is a rather international phenomenon and we believe we were able to successfully communicate with the global audience.
There were people who believed that the helpline you provided in the ad is all about the branded product. Is it related to domestic violence in any way?
The helpline Square Toiletries promoted in the ad is in existence from way before the Jui ad. There is another thing about the helpline people aren’t aware of. The helpline provides supporting women regarding their mental and physical health, contributing to eradicate the helplessness and obstacles to a good nurturing thereof.
How did you select the perfect director to helm the making of the ad?
Tanvir bhai is one of the forerunners of branding in Bangladesh. This adds extra dimension to our demands from a person like him. Unlike the traditional process of building up a story, he provided us with a beautiful way of story building. From our everyday meet up to the brainstorming, the whole team gets engaged with story at some point and then, we handed it over to a capable director whose thought process is reflexive to that of ours.
How do you perceive communication? Do you think you have responsibilities other than just branding the product?
First of all, if we fail to entertain the audience through our way of communication, he/she will never be engaged with the product or message we are trying to spread. So, we’ll have to be on the entertainment page while also branding the product.
Secondly, a client comes to us when he/she is facing a problem regarding his/her products and needs to communicate with a greater audience about the product. So our duty is to reach out to the audience with the product and engage them in communication, while also entertaining them.
But there is also some work which is targeted toward a different goal like behavioural change. For instance, safe water, safe sanitation, education, violence against women and again, if we can successfully communicate with the audience our work, it will contribute resolving these issues from society.
Transcribed by Nasir Rayhan