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Breaking Gender Stereotypes in Indian Market Advertising

The devastating Covid-19 pandemic forced Indians, like others around the world, to adapt to the “new normal” in countless ways. This included many changes for mothers, who had to step up to additional responsibilities as schools and sports clubs were closed. While some of these disruptions were temporary, new dynamics in the approach to caretaking may be more permanent for many Indian mothers.

In order to better understand these shifts, the Kellogg India team undertook an ethnographic study in 2021. The results revealed new cultural nuances around consumer decisions during an unprecedented time.

“Mothers became the ‘captain of the ship,’ managing the household budget during uncertain economic times and playing a more pronounced role in their children’s lives,” explained Sumit M., Marketing Director, India.

This dynamic is reflected in Kellogg’s latest ad campaign, which features twin sisters, Aarti and Gayatri, and their mother in the midst of a busy morning. The ad series, called “Breakfast Se Badhkar” or, “Beyond Breakfast,” launched in early 2021 across TV, digital and mobile.

In the ad, the sisters are seen sharing a cereal breakfast at home before practicing their hockey skills outside. Their mother, dressed in traditional Indian attire, gets more deeply involved in the game, first as a coach and then as a goalkeeper.

Not only does “Breakfast Se Badhkar” illustrate the ways mothers are helping their kids achieve their dreams, but it also builds on previous installments of stereotype-busting commercials that portray young women as active, bold athletes. Women in India are underrepresented in the world of sports, and this imbalance is often reflected in mainstream advertising.

“We wanted to break this stereotype and build passion for sports among Indian women,” said Sumit. The ad also highlights hockey, which is the national sport of India, but often attracts less attention than the more popular game of cricket.

The “Breakfast Se Badhkar” campaign had a wide reach, driving Kellogg’s market penetration in India to its highest-ever levels. It also won a silver medal in the Economic Times’ “Shark Awards” for the Business-to-Consumer ad category.

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