Just Do It – Celebrating the Power of Women in Sport

In Indian advertising the roles of females have greatly been domesticated in popular culture.  Many advertisements portrait women in roles, as a homemaker, as well as sex objects in order to sell products. Over time advertisements begin to objectify women and begin to use women as a way to sell products. Will these roles stop putting women in such domesticating roles, or will women continue to be the subject to products? The advertising trends began before the early 1900s until present time, where the roles of women have changed drastically beginning from products being sold on literally terms, to solving personal and social problems, to consumer association and present, as a subliminal and unconscious desire.

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Often, the differentiation between males and females in advertisements are distinct. Females are often seen with certain products, while men are seen with others. However, when men are seen with ‘women jobs’, they are often struggling or are in need of help.

Portrayal of woman in advertising has been an area of interest for both academicians and practitioners. The earliest study concluded that the ads reflected stereotypical roles like “women’s place is in the home, women don’t make important decisions or do important things, and women are dependent and need men’s protection, men regard women as sex objects and are not interested in women as people. According to Piyush Pandey, chairman, O&M India, it is time the ad industry stopped portraying women as being submissive and meek. He says, “Advertising tends to imply that women have no existence without ‘X’ brand. Yes, I do agree that a woman has a role as a mother, a wife and a daughter, but then we can show these things only up to an extent. We can’t keep pushing it. People are not dim-witted, they can see through clichés.”

Along came the new Nike ad featuring Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone and other Indian sportswomen such as squash player Joshna Chinappa, hockey player Rani Rampal, cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandana and Shubhlakshi Sharma, and footballer Jyoti Ann Burrett celebrating the power of sports in Indian Women’s lives and gives you all the right motivation to Just Do It. According to Nike “Da Da Ding” advertisment is part of it’s “Just Do It” campaign, which focuses on women in sport who displays that the female participation in sports helps self-image, building on a sense of control, competency and strength. It also motivates India’s next women generation to break conventions and define their own success by bringing sport into their lives.

The empowering music video features Deepika Padukone, who was a national-level badminton player before she joined films, also urged people to take up a sport, adding that it had helped her survive depression. “Sport has taught me how to handle failure. It has also taught me how to handle success. It has kept me grounded. It has taught me humility,” she wrote on Facebook. ‘”Two years ago I struggled with depression. I was sinking. I almost gave up. But it was the athlete in me that gave me the strength to fight and never ever give up!”

The ad was created by Wieden+Kennedy India, directed by French director François Rousselet, and has music by Genera8ion and rapper Gizzle. Nike’s new ad is going viral (passing 1 million YouTube views) for three reasons: It’s set in India. It features gorgeous women athletes (and a Bollywood star in Deepika Padukone). And they are are competing against each other in a rather ‘ungirl’-like manner—to a beat you may not expect.

Featured Image Courtesy Nike: From left to right, Joshna Chinappa, Shweta Hakke, Rani Rampal, Gabriella Demetriades, Ishita Malaviya, Jaie Bhadane, Deepika Padukone, Naina Mansukhani, Swetha Subbiah, Jyoti Ann Burrett and Tanvie Hans.