In conversation with Ayesha Farid, Strategy Director, Adcom Leo Burnett, about Gul Ahmed’s #MeinPerfectHoon campaign.
Gul Ahmed recently launched a 360-degree campaign ‘#MeinPerfectHoon’ to promote their Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The TVC features actors Anam Fayyaz, Amna Ilyas, Minal Khan and Noor Khan, embracing their physical ‘imperfections’ proudly while wearing the brand’s latest lawn prints. Following its launch, the campaign attracted mixed reactions on social media – while some people lauded the ‘bold’ concept, others pronounced it to be an imitation of Espirit’s #IamPerfect campaign.
Here’s a look at the TVC:
AMBER ARSHAD: What is the concept behind the #MeinPerfectHoon campaign, and when was it launched?
AYESHA FARID: The concept comes from a deep-rooted problem in our society – the way we raise our girls. When a girl is born the questions that are asked include: What does she look like? Whom does she resemble? Does she have perfect features? As she grows older, society scrutinises every aspect of her existence – including her external appearance and her views on various issues; nothing goes without scrutiny. She is supposed to be the ‘achi behan’, ‘the perfect maa’ or the ‘A-one khana bananay wali bahu’. The questions asked about her, as she grows older, include: Kya woh perfect kapray pehenti hai? Uss ka figure perfect hai kay nahi? In short, society imposes the idea of perfection in every aspect of a girl’s life. In all this, we saw an opportunity to empower women by encouraging them to not let other people’s opinions affect their sense of self. We used bold statements and insights from our society and launched the ‘#MeinPerfectHoon’ campaign with the objective to celebrate the originality in every woman. We focused on the seemingly small, yet significant, issues our women face every day on the basis of their looks (skin colour, weight, hair, not-so-perfect-teeth, etc.) The #MeinPerfectHoon campaign targets women who doubt their self-image every single day.
AA: There are two main criticisms about the campaign. The first is that it imitates Espirit’s ‘I am perfect’ campaign. Secondly, using good-looking, hardly imperfect models instead of ‘ordinary looking’ girls defeats the purpose of being comfortable in your own ‘ordinary’ skin. What is your take on this?
AF: A campaign that addresses the universal problem of a patriarchal culture will obviously always resonate with people across the world. We are extremely happy that Gul Ahmed’s campaign has garnered so much interest! I think our campaign communicates the brand's point of view on a problem that affects women everywhere: being comfortable in one’s own skin. Initiatives about speaking up against unrealistic and unattainable standards of feminine beauty have been taking place for decades. Numerous leading beauty and fashion brands have shared their points of view on this subject through campaigns which are reaching global audiences. A few examples are #IAmBeauty (by Cosmopolitan UK), #PerfectNever (by Reebok) and yes, Espirit’s #IamPerfect. However, while both Gul Ahmed’s and Espirit’s campaigns address the same universal problem, the approach is different. I think Espirit’s point of view says bluntly, ‘Everyone is perfect.’ Gul Ahmed’s point of view, however, is more nuanced, and says, ‘Don’t let others’ judgments about you, convince you that you have flaws, or make you think less of yourself.’
As for, ‘Why models’, we consciously chose them because they are portrayed as ‘symbols of perfection’. Who could be more convincing than someone who has been through the same struggle despite their perceived perfections on-screen? Amna Ilyas was discriminated against and overlooked in the industry for a while because of her skin colour. She shared this as part of her acceptance speech at the Lux Style Awards. Our message is simple: the seemingly perfect women have been through their share of judgments too, but they confronted the world with their imperfections and achieved success.
AA: Do you think the audience’s attention has shifted from the actual product (the lawn prints), to the creative execution of the campaign? Can this work in the favour of the brand?
AF: There is a very interesting theory called ‘The Golden Compass’ by marketing consultant Simon Sinek. I think our fraternity must think about this: People don’t buy what you do; they buy how you do it.
AA: Should we expect more follow-up campaigns of #MeinPerfectHoon?
AF: I don’t want to give away too much on what’s next, but definitely look out for more path-breaking work from the brand.