Look out for version 2: Siddharth Narula on Dove’s #ChangeTheRhyme

“Chubby Cheeks, Rosy Lips…” – who hasn’t heard this nursery rhyme growing up? However, a closer look makes one wonder if this verse is the first seed of a singular beauty ideal in the minds of young girls.

Culture Machine’s lifestyle channel ‘Blush’, along with Dove, continues to ask provocative questions, break the rules of beauty, and challenge the notion of ‘ideal beauty’ with the video – ‘Is That You?’ The video seeks to fuel a conversation that challenges the beauty stereotypes society hands down to impressionable young girls. Campaign was created by Culture Machine in collaboration with Mindshare.

Blush and Dove India’s #ChangeTheRhyme campaign coincided with the Rio Olympic Games 2016 and featured sportswomen from different disciplines: Aditi Sinha (Table Tennis); Rutuja Parkar (Gymnastics); Akshita Karkera, Sakshi Shetty (Wrestling); Mrudula Parande (Archery); Iccha Priti (Shot Put); and the hockey team from Mary Immaculate Girls’ High School.

Adgully spoke to Siddharth Narula, President, Culture Machine, to know more about the campaign and why it is so significant in today’s times.

Was the ‘Is That You’ film made specifically keeping Brand Dove in mind?
No, this film was conceptualised and co-created by the Blush team and Mindshare, keeping in mind a beauty product that dares to be different, relevant and real. However, once it was ready, we pitched the concept together to Dove, and they loved it because it went well with their brand philosophy. Dove is a brand we have immense respect for because they recognise a woman’s true beauty and individuality. And that is what the core message of ‘Is that you?’ as well.

Dove’s campaigns have been using non-models and their recent ‘Let’s Break the Rules of Beauty’ campaign also tackles the narrow beauty standards imposed on Indian women. Did that also trigger the thought behind the ‘Is That You’ film?
As I mentioned earlier, this film was not made keeping ‘Dove’ in mind, but its core proposition, the challenge was to break the stereotype. We made this video because since childhood we are taught that there are certain notions to beauty – so much so that we are taught nursery rhymes like ‘Chubby Cheeks’ that talk of dimpled chins and rosy lips as the standard for beauty. Obviously, we all know that beauty is much more than that. With this thought, the Blush team brainstormed with Mindshare and created this film. We wanted to abolish these notions through ‘Is That You?’ and enforce that strong and powerful is also beautiful. Look out for version 2.

How was it working on the film without a brief?
It was a unique challenge thrown at us by our friends in Mindshare, they gave us a few words to play with. And the rest is history. The video has garnered over 6 million views.

How did you arrive at the idea of including real life sportswomen to challenge the beauty stereotypes in the society?
We wanted all girls and women out there to know that they don’t have to mould themselves into a certain brand of delicate to be beautiful. This video is real and we didn’t want to ask someone to emote in a certain way. Hence, we chose to feature real sportswomen who love their sport so much that they forget all about the cameras, the lights and how they look as soon as they get into the game. That’s one kind of beautiful, right? Especially now, at this moment, we feel that we could not have been more right about choosing real sportswomen to feature in this video, as the whole country is celebrating the victory of two beautiful sportswomen at Olympics.

Please tell us about the making of the film, especially since the girls were not professional actors.
It took us 2 to 3 days to shoot the video, and one day to record the rhyme with the children from the school.  Shooting outdoors was a big challenge during rains, which eventually worked out well for us, as the hockey girls playing in the rain looked more dramatic. The other big challenge was shooting with ‘non-actors’. All these girls are real athletes, who you cannot ask to ‘fake’ emote. But by the time they got into their game, they forgot the cameras were rolling, and true passion was captured.

Who came up with the idea of using the ‘Rosy lips, chubby cheeks’ nursery rhyme as the background score for the film?
As mentioned earlier, right from the impressionable age of 3 we are taught that beauty only comes in certain forms and physical features, which no one has control over. None of us can predetermine the colour of our eyes or skin we are born with. Through this video, we want women to celebrate their individuality and their passion. This is why, our team Blush and team Mindshare decided to use this rhyme and inspire people to change it.

We saw several ads featuring sportspersons during the Olympics season. How did you steer away from the clichés?
It is the sporting season, so in some ways it is relevant. That being said, we would have made this film irrespective of the Olympics. What kept us going was the absolute knowledge, that where we’re coming from, the purpose of this film, the point it is making, the stand it takes and the manner in which it is doing that, we are completely different from everything else that has been viewed thus far. If this one stood out from the inundation of sports themed videos, our job here is done.


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