CategoryA04. Use of Licenced or Remastered Music for a Brand or Campaign
Idea Creation TBWA\INDIA Mumbai, INDIA


Name Company Position
Suchitra TBWA Creative Director

The Campaign

Item Numbers are Bollywood music videos made with raunchy visuals and vulgar lyrics objectifying and degrading women to promote movies. These ungraded videos are aired on television all day and can be viewed by all audiences, including children. Therein lies the problem. Especially, in a country where 92 women are raped every day and rapes by juveniles have risen by 143% according to the National Crime Bureau 2013 Annual Report.   The problem is so deep-rooted that people don’t even recognise it.  Children perform to these Item Numbers at school Annual Days, birthday parties, reality shows and even before guests at home. So, we decided to use ‘reverse psychology’ to get our idea across by putting children directly in to the centre of the problem.

Creative Execution

We bought a famous Item Number song and shot a typical video. But, with a disturbing twist. It featured young boys mimicking what adult men do in these videos. The film was released on YouTube on 30 th April, 2016 and followed up by a post on Facebook. The conclusion of the film led the viewers to a petition page on Change.org where they could sign the petition to ‘Re-grade Item Numbers’.

We had 1 signature every 5 minutes on an average on the petition page. Scoop Whoop and BuzzFeed featured the video and this was shared over and over by several people. Bollywood stars took to the cause and tweeted about the same.

Item Numbers are Bollywood music videos made with raunchy visuals and vulgar lyrics objectifying and degrading women to promote movies. The music used in this video is from a popular Item Number. We bought the rights of the same and turned it around on its head. After all, who would think an Item Number could be used to spread a public service message that aids to the well-being of children and breaks the customary objectification of women in Bollywood. We used an Item Number to spread the message about re-grading Item Numbers and build a better world.

We wanted to shake up the people of India by creating something more disturbing than Item Numbers. And thus, sensitise people by bringing focus to the effects of glorification attached to the ‘objectification of women’.


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