In India, an Ad About a Lesbian Couple Is Going Viral

Are Taboos Starting to Break Down?

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In India, an ad depicting a lesbian couple is going viral. And it might be the country's first ad featuring lesbians (or maybe the second -- some commenters online pointed out that a cheeky Indian ad from a fashion brand in 2013 showed two women getting out of a closet together and putting their clothes back on.)

The new spot by Ogilvy & Mather, for an apparel line called Anouk, shows two women getting ready for dinner and sharing a kiss. That's pretty bold for India, which in 2013 reinstated an old law banning gay sex.

The ad is part of a campaign called "Bold Is Beautiful" – other spots in the series depict a single mom and a woman getting rid of a creepy guy in a bar. Anouk is a brand from app-based shopping platform Myntra, which is owned by e-commerce giant FlipKart.

The YouTube video featuring the lesbian couple has about 968,000 views, with about 3,200 likes and 525 dislikes. The Times of India wrote that it is

"heartening to see that popular culture is beginning to reflect an acceptance of alternate sexuality. True, this may not reflect the attitude of a majority of Indians toward gays, but at the very least it shows that some sections, which also play a key role in opinion-building, are willing to change mind-sets, and that is welcome."

Manish Aggarwal, VP, Marketing, Myntra Fashion Brands, is confident the ad won't backfire.

"The campaign targets the everyday woman in the tier-1 cities of the country who is bold, sensuous, likes to make her own decisions and is out there to prove herself," he told Ad Age India. "We wanted to create presence for Anouk, which has vibrant designs and is full of colors."

A few campaigns have started taking on long-held Indian taboos about love, relationships and marriage. In 2013 it was big news when an Indian jewelry brand, Tanishq, shot an ad showing a woman getting married for the second time, tackling the taboo over divorce.

-- Ad Age India's Devesh Gupta contributed

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