Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Slogans for Social Change.A Comparative Study of the Decision-making Processes, Strategies and Messages used in Advertising and Social Marketing in Urban Public Spaces of India

What does the Hero Honda advertisement campaign selling scooters for young women and the Bell bajao (lit. 'Ring the bell'?) campaign against domestic violence by a Delhi NGO (Breakthrough) have in common? How does an advertisement selling newspapers relate to attempts to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS and condom use? On first glance, one might not see the connections between these campaigns and instead categorise them according to their differing objectives; making money and addressing social causes. However, the social awareness campaigns use the principles and methods intended for commercial advertising strategies for marketing their causes. At the same time, it seems to be a new trend in the advertisement industry to use debates on social issues as a sales strategy.

Founded in my experience in Indian studies (B.A.) and international development (M.Sc.), I attempt to combine these aspect in this project by looking at the intentions, decision-making processes and attitudes of players behind the campaigns and consider the possibility of social change through commercial messages. In addition, I will compare the strategies, images, themes and appearance with existing social marketing in order to discuss the potential of outdoor advertising (billboards and posters) to stimulate the gender debates in urban India. In this endeavour, the personnel of ad agencies, corporate companies and non-governmental organisations are the players, that decide what images and choices for representation are depicted. In this way they are part of the agency that influence the public media's representation of men and women and hence take part in an overall discourse about gender roles and identities.

With the insights into the perceptions and convictions of employees of the different institutions I will discuss these form of mediated communication strategies in relation to globalisation, urbanisation, consumerism and social change, and consider the increased medialised world opposed to the day to day life of urban population of India.

Bell Bajao, Campaign against domestic violence, by Breakthrough, New Delhi based NGO
Social Marketing Campaign for condom use, Khajuraho, Febuary 2010, Madya Pradesh. Picture taken by: Fritzi-Marie Tietzmann
Ad for Hindustan, Patna edition. (Pragati ke Rang translation: the colour of Progress)
Posterwall for Mankind sanitary pads and condoms, Greepark Market, Oktober 2008, New Delhi
Ad for Hero Honda Pleasure, December 2008, Varanasi

Mette Gabler, M.Sc.
E-Mail: Mette Gabler

Prof. Dr. Nadja-Christina Schneider
Junior Professor for Mediality and Intermediality in Asian and African Societies
Institute of Asian and African Studies
Room: 220
Phone +49 (0)30 / 2093-6643

Birgit Koch
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 2093-6601
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 2093-6666

Cross-Section for Mediality and Intermediality
Institute of Asian and African Studies
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6
D-10099 Berlin