Throwback Thursday: When ICICI Prudential celebrated 'Ache Bande'

On Thursdays, we revisit old ads to see how much has changed in ad sensibilities over the years

by Team PITCH
Published - November 17, 2022
3 minutes To Read
Throwback Thursday: When ICICI Prudential celebrated 'Ache Bande'

Enough has been written and said about the virtues of womanhood, praised for its compassion, piety, charm and beauty. Men are rarely exalted as such despite their status as the more privileged gender.

When it's not attacked for being toxic, masculinity is being mellowed down or redefined to suit the woke sensibilities of today.

But no matter how vilified or "outdated", traditional masculinity also has its strong points. ICICI Prudential and the Lowe Lintas team led by Amer Jaleel may have wanted to address this when they crafted the "Bande Ache Hai" campaign in February 2013.

Ahead of International Men's Day, we reviewed the ad, which highlighted how men enrich our lives yet take no credit for it.

 

The ad was released at a time when anti-male sentiments were at their peak. A month or two ago, in December 2012, the nation was rocked by the Nirbhaya rape case.
At a time when there was a lingering mistrust against men, especially on social media, ICICI Prudential decided to highlight the fact that there are still good men around.
They are providers, protectors and partners who silently go about doing what is expected of them without tom-tomming about it.

The ad film is a montage of everyday situations involving men: A father who checks whether the wooden plank is strong enough to bear his weight before his wife and child walk on it; a man who waits till the lights in his female colleague's apartment switches on after he drops her off outside her home at night; an elderly gentleman who moves his chair to block the sunlight from directly hitting his wife's face, and a groom who silently comforts his new bride when she bids goodbye to her father.

The ad walks the middle path by refraining to portray men in either extreme, which is the norm in media. When they aren't the gun-toting avengers, they are the beer-guzzling married man jaded by marriage and family. By showcasing them as caring family men who rarely wear their hearts on their sleeves, the ad reiterates there are plenty of men who are inherently good, and often they are our husbands, friends, colleagues and fathers. 

In recent years, attention has been greatly focused on men's mental and general health. Many brands have also dabbled in highlighting men's issues but they have been largely opportunistic to ride the Men's Day wave. The Bande Ache Hai ad was in many ways a trailblazer, coming at a time when there were no ads celebrating men.
Even the controversial Gillette ad, which tackled toxic masculinity, came years later in 2019 and was severely trashed by its own target audience. Many felt that the backlash was due to the brand targeting things that were deemed traditionally or inherently masculine by their consumers. 

The ad also helped ICICI Prudential break the clutter and stand out from its competition. "In a scenario where the majority of advertisers in the insurance category is around functional claims and investor education, the emotional ground that the category has held for many years seems to have been vacated temporarily. It was in this context that Lowe Lintas felt it must once again communicate why ICICI Prudential is so different," read the brand's press release from 2013.

The ad also ties beautifully to the brand's vision with the tagline: "Jo zimmedari nibhate hain, jataate nahi." (Those who undertake the responsibility, don't make a show of it).

The moving film has been set to a peppy yet emotional number written by Swanand Kirkire and composed by Shantanu Moitra. The film was directed by Chrome Pictures.

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