|Title||SINDOOR KHELA - NO CONDITIONS APPLY|
|Brand||THE TIMES OF INDIA|
|Product / Service||NEWSPAPER|
|Category||A12. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Corporate Image|
|Entrant||FCBULKA Gurgaon , INDIA|
|Idea Creation||FCBULKA Gurgaon, INDIA|
|Fred Levron||FCB Group||World Wide Partner|
|Swati Bhattacharya||FCB Ulka||Chief Creative Officer|
|S.Srinath||FCB Ulka||Sr. Creative Director, Art|
|Ranit Mukherjee||FCb Ulka||Associate Creative Director, Copy|
|M. Damodaran||FCB Ulka||Vice President, Client Servicing|
|Gayatri Sriram||FCB Ulka||Digital Creative Head, Copy|
|Shailesh Khandeparkar||FCB Ulka||Group Head, Art|
|Arijit Gupta||FCB Ulka||Group Head, Art|
|Vishakha Khattri||FCB India||Senior Account Executive|
|Vineeta Arora||FCB Ulka||Brand Services Manager|
The vermillion dot on a bride’s forehead is a symbol of marital pride. In our religious society, only a woman wearing sindoor, is considered auspicious. During rituals and traditions, this sacred symbol dictates who’s accepted, and who’s rejected. Today, this sindoor has become a symbol of inequality between the married and the unmarried. We transformed this single dot, a symbol that divides, into 2 dots, a new symbol of sisterhood. The 2 dots were used to ambush Sindoor Khela, a festival reserved for married women. We changed the divisive festival into one that includes every woman. In September 2017, transgenders, widows, divorcees, sex workers, and married women, came together to celebrate Sindoor Khela, for the first time in 400 years.
Towards changing a 400 year old tradition of rejection, into a celebration of acceptance, we started with the 2 dot symbol of sisterhood. This new symbol of sisterhood was introduced to Indian women by top Bollywood actor Vidya Balan. 20 more celebrities followed; including vocal feminists such as Taapsee Pannu, Rituparna Sengupta and Dr. Manobi, the first Indian transgender doctorate. Influencers embraced and endorsed the movement, leading to a groundswell from fans across India. Thereafter, leaders of minority communities were roped in to demand acceptance via a slam poetry film on social media. Unique targeted messages were released on Facebook, inviting women from these communities. Lastly, a partnership with the biggest temple in Calcutta, made it possible for us to organize the first ever Sindoor Khela where widows, transgenders, LGBTQ, sex-workers and married women came together in a joyous revolution of love and laughter.
Our Vermillion wave was unstoppable. In just 4 weeks we clocked in USD 912,335 in earned media & reached 708 million people becoming a No.1 trending topic on social media with 3 million comments & thousands of 2 dot selfies from women & men In a country of thousands of Gods and Godmen, change is not always welcome but when the day of “Sindoor Khela” arrived, a sight never seen before unfolded on the streets of Calcutta. Our campaign successfully broke a 400-year old patriarchal tradition where over 50 temple societies opened their doors to all women. For the first time in history, single, married, widowed, transgender and prostitutes joined in to participate in “Sindoor Khela”. Ultimately, in the process of finding cultural relevance, Times of India became the No.1 newspaper in Calcutta, beating even the local favorite – The Telegraph for the first time in 10 years.
In 2017, a new “Sindoor Khela” was born; where no conditions applied - of marital status, gender or sexual orientation. With strategic pieces of communication we got diverse women to participate in the on-ground celebration. 1. Physical invites with the new symbol of sisterhood were delivered to the uninvited and the unaccepted. 2. A national call to action was released in a slam poetry film. 3. Targeted messaging on Facebook invited women from minority communities. 4. Print and posters were published inviting every woman to join. the celebration. Thousands of women came together at Calcutta’s largest temple.
To change centuries of tradition, we knew ordinary rules wouldn’t apply. Data gathering to just report inequalities was not the answer. We needed to carefully question the core of the tradition by inspiring a groundswell of women towards inclusivity. To achieve this, our strategy was four pronged: 1. We created a uniquely Indian symbol, that every woman could adopt, and become part of a national sisterhood. 2. We partnered with leaders of minority communities like widows, transgenders, and LGBTQ, to release a digital film demanding for acceptance. 3. We joined hands with the biggest temple in Calcutta and invited the “forbidden” women to attend Sindoor Khela. 4. Lastly, to spread our message across all genders & generations we engaged celebrities who were loud advocates of feminism. This led to unprecedented buzz and a spontaneous upsurge of demands for equality - both online and offline.