5 Indian Ads That are Breaking Gender Stereotypes

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​Havells Fans: 'Hava Badlegi'

This brilliant TV commercial is a simple, effective 20- second-er that has a couple sitting at a registrar's office, with the husband taking the wife's last name and making the official do a double take. Feminism plus shock value—what's not to love?

Anouk: 'Bold is Beautiful—The Visit'

Here, two girls dressed in Anouk kurtas (that don't conform to any of the trademark lesbian stereotypes) are prepping for one to meet the other's conservative parents and tell them about their live-in relationship. What's nice is that most of the nerves we see are classic, heterosexual, parent-meeting jitters, until just one tiny 'You sure about this?' at the end, taking the anomaly factor out of it all.

Titan Raga: '#HerLifeHerChoices"

In this brilliant, stereotype-toppling watch commercial, a beautiful woman bumps into the 'one-that-got-away' ex from forever ago, and he exclaims she hasn't changed a bit. As they reminisce about why they fell apart, he casually throws in the line 'If only you'd quit your job'. When she asks him why he couldn't have been the one to quit, his response ('How can a man quit working?!') leads her to smile and gently imply that he hadn't changed a bit, either. Subtle, yet poignant.

Sofy Conversations: 'I'm Not Down'

This sanitary napkin ad campaign challenges the notion that a woman isn't 'down' or unhappy because she's on her period—and aimed to nix the negative connotations linked to menstruation. It has three parts—a conversation with three women about why they use the phrase 'I'm down', a poetry slam about periods, and an acoustic song by Kavya and Khyati Trehan. Very cool.

Whisper: 'My Touch the Pickle Moment'

A woman drives by a bunch of boys playing on the street and enters a store where the shopkeeper gives her sanitary napkins wrapped up clandestinely in newspaper. Her reaction to this is both enlightening and refreshing.