A reassuring discovery

A reassuring discovery

Global fashion brand United Colors of Benetton (UCB) has developed a decent affinity in India. Over the years we have seen a lot of ads by the brand...

Global fashion brand United Colors of Benetton (UCB) has developed a decent affinity in India. Over the years we have seen a lot of ads by the brand (adverts, out-of-home ads, and even digital films) but most of them had the similar west-like feel in them. However, the brand decided to go one step ahead and launched an India-centric campaign in August (on Independence Day to be precise).

Lifestyle brands are constantly in a tussle to ensure people know about their latest collections, their add-ons and of course the so-called USPs they offer. But UCB decided to not introduce any sort of clothing or collection in this TV commercial. So what was the whole film about? It was a refreshing brand film that delivered an honest and much-needed message of faith.

The film is set in an urban slum and starts off with a security announcement on the radio. The next thing you see is a man wearing a skull cap going to his friend and saying, “Chal”. As the ad progresses, the group starts to build and slowly there is a huge group of 6-7 people marching fast through the narrow lanes of the slum; on seeing the men approaching, a man sitting on his terrace runs to his friends and there is another group of men gathering parallel to the previous one.

It becomes very evident that the groups of Muslims and Hindus respectively. However, the detail is that both groups are gathering different props as they march through the lanes; they are carrying bricks, bottles, and sticks. For a first look, it seems as though the men are approaching for a fight. The overcast setting, dull colour gradients add the much-needed intensity to the scene.

You are on the top of your emotions, thinking there is going to be an outrage, and just then the ad shifts perspectives and intensifies the realisation of hope. The men had actually gathered to play cricket.

While the film is indisputably heartwarming, it very different from anything we have seen before. The film talks about a harmonious coexistence and communal celebration, and above everything else puts the narrow mentality – two different religious faiths have an aggressive relationship – to shame. And hence is aptly titled ‘#UnitedByPlay’.

Among the thousand good things about the film, the minimally intense storytelling and the intelligent use of props as instruments of play and not violence, made us go wow. The film was conceptualised by Terribly Tiny Talkies, the micro-fiction specialists very famous for their short films on YouTube. #UnitedByPlay is like a mirror that questions every person with a cliché outlook towards religious faiths and invokes a sense of communal harmony.

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