CategoryA07. Public Sector
EntrantGREY INDIA New Delhi, INDIA
Idea Creation GREY INDIA New Delhi, INDIA
Production ASYLUM FILMS Mumbai, INDIA


Name Company Position
Sandipan Bhattacharyya GREY group INDIA Chief Creative Officer
Varun Goswami GREY group INDIA Executive Creative Director
Mohammed Zishan GREY group INDIA Copywriter
Sahil Mehta GREY group INDIA Creative Controller
Piyush Jain GREY group INDIA Senior Creative Director
Arjun Bhimwal GREY group INDIA Associate Creative Director
Gurdev Singh GREY group INDIA Associate Creative Director
Harshvardhan Sharma GREY group INDIA Creative Controller
Bhavya Goel GREY group INDIA Art Director
Gautam Bhasin GREY group INDIA Senior Creative Director
Rajesh Kumar GREY group INDIA Creative Controller
Manoj Tapadia Freelance Consultant Freelance Consultant

The Campaign

There’s poetic justice in the fact that women fighter pilots are taking to the skies at a time when gender barriers and stereotypes still thrive on ground. It is a known fact that Indian women conform to all the gender stereotypes she's been boxed into. What work she's supposed to do, how she's supposed to act, how she's supposed to take care of the house, give birth to children and bat her eyelids at her man's bravado. Her role in society is predetermined and any future outside those guardrails is strictly limited by societal pressures. The fact that the IAF recruited its first women fighter pilots shattered that notion, and shaped our idea - Let equality in the skies inspire more equality on earth.


The film is narrated from the point of view of an Indian woman who speaks of conforming to all the gender stereotypes she's been boxed into. The things she's supposed to be scared of, how she can never take on the burden of a man's job and how she will snuff out her ambition only to give birth to a son. This against the starkly contrasting visual backdrop of Indian Airforce jets blazing through the sky and wiping out targets with ruthless tenacity. The film goes on to reveal the brave women behind these awe-inspiring aerial acts and how they're now changing the stereotype of the Indian woman - from that of a homemaker to one who will now protect the nation. The film was released online through IAF social channels.

Time magazine said - 'It powerfully challenges the gender stereotypes that keep women grounded at home.' BBC said - 'It challenges the idea that women should be at home.' As a result of this campaign, total recruitment registrations went up by 10%. From 343542 in the first cycle of 2016, to 377816 in the first recruitment cycle of 2017. More importantly, female appilcation numbers have gone up by a whopping 24%, to a historical high of 43332 applications in the first cycle alone. In a span of 15 days, the film garnered Earned Media worth 102 Million INR. It also amassed approximately 150 Million global impressions and 19 Million views. Also, after 10 days of the campaign, the IAF announced it would accept women candidates from the National Cadet Corps, to apply for positions in the Indian Air Force.

The Situation

This campaign used India's first women fighter pilots to change the strong patriarchal mindset and gender stereotypes that abound in India. The use of these women pilots in our film as a PR idea, not only sent out a clarion call to women to join the air force, but served to inspire the next generation of brave women and made them believe they can do everything that a man can do. The "I'm A Girl" film shattered the gender ceiling and showed the Indian Air Force as a visionary organization that walks the talk when it comes to women's empowerment.

The Strategy

While it's seemingly an online recruitment film, the intention was to change archaic gender norms and stereotypes across society. A huge ambition that could possibly empower and inspire a whole generation of young Indian girls to aim higher and shatter every ceiling that comes their way. The most important strategic PR decision was to creatively use India's first batch of women fighter pilots - no actors, but real women who are marching through the drills every single day and proving that women can do everything a man can. This is what sparked off the conversation in the media which is used to seeing brands paying lip service to the ongoing debate on empowerment. We wanted the IAF to be seen as an organisation that walks the talk and is a pioneer when it comes to changing deeply etched societal barriers.


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