Ever since brands started weaving causes into their storytelling, it is time to start paying attention to brand messages again. If you are quick to reach for the TV remote or prone to skipping ads, you may want to hold off for a bit. Brands that are tuned into their customers and keep their eyes and ears open, are learning that for storytelling to be successful, it has to engage. It has to evolve beyond housewives dancing in the kitchen and swooning over the fragrances of mutton qorma. Audiences love a good story and they want the chronicle of the qorma. We relish the gory details of how Natasha’s daadi learnt the secret recipe from her mother-in-law and how she used it to win over the husband after a tiff. Wait! Even this is too last century. How about going beyond stereotypes like winning over the husband or the susraal and challenging complicated social conventions, instead? How about some good old causevertising?
Which is exactly what MoltyFoam and Mashion.pk have been doing with their Mashaadi campaign.
A part of Mahira Khan’s online platform Mashion.pk, Mashaadi is about all things marriage, including life beyond the jewellery and the joras. Khan has been a brand ambassador for MoltyFoam and part of their long running nanhi pari campaign.
Both brands realised it was time for the nanhi pari to turn the tables and get a reset. So MoltyFoam and Mashion teamed up to refresh the brand’s image and shake things up. Breaking away from outdated storylines of loving fathers sending off their daughters to their new homes, complete with a traditional mattress in her jahez, Mashaadi first attempted to start a conversation around the uncomfortable topic of the remarriage among women. The first offering of the campaign featured a young divorced woman all dressed up in her bridal finery, ready to marry again, complete with young child in tow.
With authenticity being de rigueur thanks to social media, brand storytelling on traditional media is slowly catching up. It needs to be mentioned here that Indian brand Tanishq has been promoting the concept of remarriage in the context of South Asian culture for close to a decade and in a culture that is even more averse to remarriage than ours.
In 2020, the MoltyFoam/Mashion partnership took the next step, this time featuring an older woman with grow up children, finding a partner and marrying again with the blessings of her children. The nanhi pari is now the adult daughter of the bride.
Holding onto what worked (the popular nanhi pari association), letting go of what didn’t (the connect with jahez) the brand created a new story by challenging outdated social conventions. And they did it with a touch of class. Not only is the concept of remarriage (especially among women) new to the world of Pakistani advertising, it is a quantum leap from what we have traditionally seen in this sphere. Depicting squeaky clean and happy extended khandaans, local campaigns have steered clear of any hint of familial disharmony. Family discords in TVCs stay firmly within the realm of issues that can be easily resolved over a cup of tea.
Pairing Marina Khan (the mom) and Mahira Khan (the daughter), both media darlings from different eras, #Mashaadi2020 takes an outdated convention head on and starts a public conversation about making choices regardless of age. Hats off to MoltyFoam and Mashion for waking up to the fact that the best way to break through the clutter is by aligning with the emotion of a cause so powerful, it is worth fighting for.