Balenciaga says sorry for 'creepy' ad, photographer breaks silence … – Exchange4Media

The luxury clothing brand has pulled down the controversial advertisement featuring kids but has dubiously blamed 'parties' for using 'unapproved items' for the shoot

One of the top streetwear brands Balenciaga found itself in a soup when it received backlash against its recent ad campaign. The photoshoot for the campaign featured toddlers holding teddy bears dressed in risque bondage-style clothing. With the backlash not seeing any signs of abating, Balenciaga issued an apology and immediately pulled down the campaign from all the platforms. 

Here are fast facts about the campaign that you need to know.

1. The ad was a part of Balenciaga’s ‘Toy Stories’
The ad was part of Balenciaga’s holiday campaign ‘Toy Stories’ for its signature teddy bear bags, which are a part of its spring-summer 2023 collection. The photoshoot was done by National Geographic photographer Gabriele Galimberti. Two toddlers have been featured in the ad dressed in Balenciaga gear holding the teddy bags.

2. Outrage over bondage-themed ad

The Toy Stories campaign was severely criticised on Twitter and netizens called out the brand for seemingly “sexualising” children. Critics argue that the usage of teddy bears and kids in the ad belies the perverted intent behind it.

I thought people were trolling, but nope. It’s real. Maybe this is why Balenciaga left Twitter. They don’t want to be held accountable. Yes, these are children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage outfits.

To lend some credence to the accusations, the teddy bears were dressed up in harnesses, fishnets and spiked leather collars that are associated with the bondage lifestyle.
An eagle-eyed netizen also pointed out that one of the teddies carried by the child model has a lock around its neck. In another one of Balenciaga’s ad, an adult model covertly holds a key in his hand.

3. The supreme court document(s)
To make matters worse, another one of Balenciaga’s ads also features a supreme court document pertaining to a 2008 child pornography case titled United States vs Williams.
Way more going on here

It deals with the ruling that criminalised child pornography, reaffirmed the constitutionality of PROTECT Act and raised penalties for sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Others argued that the document is different but offered cold comfort to the brand. Some netizens pointed out that the document refers to the Ashcroft v Free Speech Coalition. In the 2002 case, the court took a portion of the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act, which deemed virtual child pornography as protected speech.
The jury is out on whether the random placement of such a document is deliberate or coincidental.

4. The photographer absolves himself from the mess

The Nat Geo photographer Gabriele Galimberti who was entrusted with the shoot insisted that he did not give creative direction to the campaign. Through an Instagram post, he categorically stated that he was requested to take pictures in his “signature style.”
Galimberti also added that the photographs with the supreme court documents were not a part of his shoot. “That one was taken in another set by other people and was falsely associated with my photos,” he wrote.

A post shared by Gabriele Galimberti (@gabrielegalimbertiphoto)
5. Balenciaga issues apology, removes campaign photos

After the tremendous backlash that followed, the fashion brand issued an apology and removed the campaign pictures from all the platforms.
Balenciaga is now apologizing for their child porn marketing campaign. The apology should not be accepted.
Through a social media post, Balenciaga also vowed to take legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including “unapproved” items for its spring-summer 2023 campaign. The said items could be the supreme court documents with the child abuse rulings since the other contentious objects used in the shoot are Balenciaga’s own products. 
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Commenting on the association, Jayanti Chauhan, Vice Chairperson, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd., said, “Cricket as a sport unites the entire country in setting benchmarks of athletic performance and endurance. The collaboration of Bisleri with Gujarat Titans is a strategic approach towards being a part of our consumers’ health and fitness mission. As we move forward, we will continue to drive more meaningful sporting and athlete-led collaborations that build brand connect with youth.”
Arvinder Singh, Gujarat Titans COO said, “It gives us immense pleasure to announce Bisleri as our Hydration partner for the next three seasons. Both of us strive for excellence in our respective fields and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”
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Kingfisher has come on board as the title sponsor
By exchange4media Staff | Dec 22, 2022 12:46 PM   |   2 min read
Kingfisher has announced a partnership with NODWIN Gaming to become the title sponsor for the India Premiership 2023, scheduled to start from January 5, 2023.

Kingfisher has for the first time partnered with NODWIN Gaming as the title sponsor for the India Premiership. NODWIN Gaming has hosted five editions of the longest-running independent esports league so far. This edition of Kingfisher India Premiership, a NODWIN Gaming IP, will run for 9 months starting January 2023 and will be divided into 3 seasons.

Registrations for the Winter Season of this mega tournament will be open from December 22, 2022 to January 3, 2023 and those who are 21 years of age and above can register here.

The Winter Season, which will include games like World Cricket Championship 3 (Mobile), Tekken7 (Console) and Clash of Clan (Mobile), will culminate in a grand LAN finale event.

Jacqueline van Faassen, Senior Category Head, Marketing at United Breweries Ltd, said, “Kingfisher has been a beacon of excitement and camaraderie for consumers over decades and is the perfect partner to celebrate moments of fun. We are thrilled to be collaborating with NODWIN Gaming and are confident that Kingfisher India Premiership will be a new milestone in our journey to delight consumers. We believe this association will create a differentiated consumer engagement experience for GenZ and millennials. Gaming has always been a passion point for the youth and we are confident that Kingfisher India Premiership will deliver an exciting gaming experience for fans.”

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Chandrika Jain, Director- Marketing, Lenovo India, shares interesting insights into Lenovo's 'human-centred innovation' campaign
By Anupama Sajeet | Dec 22, 2022 9:05 AM   |   6 min read
Chandrika Jain, Director- Marketing, Lenovo India talks about how the marketing function can wield a huge influence on the way a company carries out its sustainability efforts, and one such example is Lenovo’s ‘human-centred innovation’ campaign currently running in India.
Can you take us through the human-centred innovation campaign Lenovo has launched? What is it about?
This campaign is a true reflection of our brand DNA. Lenovo stands for what we call smarter technology for all. That’s not just our brand tagline, but it’s also our purpose. There are two parts to it- first there’s innovation, and second, there is purposeful technology. In my opinion, if technology doesn’t have a purpose, it really isn’t worth it, why do we need it at all? This campaign allows us the opportunity to show how technology can enable some of the most critical things that challenge human needs.
For example, we use a water-cooling technology within our servers that make our servers consume less power than when compared to anything else out there in the market. Therefore, by using our technology, any institution or company is able to attain that sustainability goal faster. We’re able to save about 40% of the power consumption.
What is your take on the evolved landscape of the workplace post-pandemic, and its impact on the brand? What learnings did Lenovo have from the two years of the pandemic?
I think the biggest learning for all of us, keeping personal learnings aside, was how technology could actually be the enabler in several areas of our lives, while we were all stuck in the pandemic. For tech companies, the pandemic jumpstarted a whole new era wherein the adoption of technology saw a meteoric rise. We see this trend evolve and become a reality, as technology is addressing this requirement in the world today. That obviously had a clear positive impact on how the brand and the business grew. Some of our solutions, called ‘the workplace solution’ is something that we are driving in the whole world, enabling people to work from anywhere, anytime, in the absolute and most seamless fashion that is possible today.
If we look at the pre-pandemic vs post-pandemic data, Lenovo India’s total revenue had seen a consistent growth with 14.5% year-on-year increase in FY 20-21 (ending March 2021), and 38% year-on-year increase in FY 21-22 (ending March 2022). This was supported by nearly doubling the volume of manufactured PCs and smartphones in India, while significantly increasing local manufacturing of tablets.
What’s the current marketing mix for Lenovo India for its recent campaigns?
In the context of this campaign, it spoke more to the B2B audience because of the kind of technology that we were bringing to the fore. The campaign mix was largely a seamless integration of digital and traditional, we had both digital and social operating along with Out-of-home (OOH) and TV in some of the major cities in India.
In terms of the split itself, we saw a 60-40 split in this campaign because of the audience, its content type, the objective that we had- which was about building awareness with a larger audience on the kind of impact that technology can have. 60% was dedicated to print, TV and OOH, while 40% of it went to the digital medium. But that split is not a fair split anymore because actually each of these mediums has to work in tandem with each other.
Can you share the marketing spends and strategies ramped up for this particular campaign and for the coming year?
In terms of marketing spends, Lenovo has been working very hard and spending a substantial amount to build its brand for the last two to three years. The human-centred campaign is our effort in the same direction. Going forward into next year, we are hoping to see similar investment in the brand. In terms of strategies, we are still working through our plan for next year. But there are quite a few aspects. One is that we see the market redefining itself post-pandemic. I feel like the need to fortify the brand next year will be even stronger. So, that’s going to inform how we build our spends, and decide our investment for the next year.
The second aspect that is becoming a challenge for marketers like us, is that India is a very crowded media landscape. So, how are we going to get the right attention in media next year? Do we invest in innovation? Do we pick specific mediums or explore newer mediums that are coming into the market?
The third aspect is more consolidated and stronger approaches, while making hard choices.
Do you see the current market outlook with the global inflation slowdown witnessed in tech companies impacting the brand, especially in India? What according to you would be the effect on AdEx because of this?
Globally, we are seeing a slowdown, but in comparison, India as a market for Lenovo is still continuing to do positively well. To put it in perspective, the market is seeing what I would call some level of normalization, especially after what we saw happening during the pandemic.
In times like this, it becomes even more important to fortify the brand, to invest in the brand, to keep the brand top of mind amongst consumers, especially if the market is expected to slow down. So, it is the right time to invest in the brand right now, and I do not see this impacting AdEx right now.
How is Lenovo investing in sustainable design and core business ideologies like diversity, inclusion, and ESG (environmental social governance)?
Sustainability, diversity and inclusion work through every aspect of what we do. So, I’ll give you a simple example of Product Diversity – 75% of Lenovo’s products are vetted by inclusive design experts to ensure they work for everyone, regardless of physical attributes or abilities. When we design headphones, we design them for diverse people and cultures across the globe, and the size differs accordingly. Likewise, we have several examples within our product categories itself that speak about inclusion and diversity.
And it doesn’t stop there, it’s also about our employees. We have several programmes within the Lenovo network that encourages women in leadership.
We all know there’s a carbon footprint that is attached to using technology. We are one of the first companies to venture into CO2 offsetting. Last year we started working with all of our B2B partners, providing CO2 offset as a measure within all the products that they bought from us. Similarly, this year we have extended that offer all the way to consumers. So, for every Thinkpad that you bought, CO2 offsetting was worked within the product itself.
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Guest Column: Jaiti Hariani, Sales Director, West, DoubleVerify, drives home the importance of third-party verification for advertisers to beat ad frauds and to realise the full potential of CTV
By Jaiti Hariani | Dec 22, 2022 9:00 AM   |   4 min read
Connected TV (CTV)has emerged as a unique and new touchpoint for marketers. It is growing rapidly, particularly in urban India, fuelled by the pandemic that resulted in most being confined in their homes. Further, with the introduction of Digital India – the Government of India’s flagship program, data penetration level is now at its peak. Substantiating the growing popularity of CTV, especially due to streaming services, a DoubleVerify report titled Four Fundamental Shifts in Advertising and Media found a massive increase in subscriptions, with over 74% of Indian respondents having subscribed to additional streaming services in the past 12 months, contributing to the ascension of CTV.
According to a recent report by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Boston Consulting Group, the Indian media and entertainment industry has overcome economic losses incurred during the height of the COVID pandemic and it is expected to grow to $55-70 bn by 2030 at a 10-12% CAGR, mainly because of strong growth in areas like Over-the-top (OTT) video and gaming that established itself well during the pandemic. According to the same report, the OTT market share is expected to increase to 22%-25% by 2030, with a 7-9% market share in India’s $27 bn M&E industry.
The considerable shift in streaming behaviour seen over the past two years is a crucial factor influencing the increased adoption of CTV. According to the latest BCG research, India saw 70-80 million paid OTT subscribers at the end of 2021, up from 14 million in 2018. Additionally, the same Four Fundamental Shifts report by DoubleVerify found that a whopping 78% of consumers in India are spending more time each day consuming content now than they did pre-pandemic. 
As per EY-FICCI 2022 report by EY-FICCI found that India currently has around 25 MM CTV households, and this is expected to grow to 40 MM households by 2025. The new behavioural and consumption patterns will persist long after the pandemic, making CTV an important advertising channel in the future.
However, no matter how great an opportunity, a lack of knowledge or concerns about media quality, ad fraud, and ad measurement can prevent marketers from realizing CTV’s full potential. 
As on other devices, CTV ads can also run alongside objectionable content – raising advertiser concerns about brand safety and suitability. One of the most challenging aspects of tackling brand safety and suitability on CTV is transparency. Since app names are not standardized and might differ from platform to platform, it is difficult to identify where the ad was actually aired and alongside which content, especially if a brand is buying programmatically.
Additionally, not only has CTV become one of the fastest-growing digital media channels, but it has also become the fastest-growing environment for ad fraud. The number of fraud schemes uncovered by DoubleVerify surged by over 70% year over year from 2020 to 2021, and an unprecedented number of these fraud schemes targeted CTV and video, according to DoubleVerify’s most recent Global Insights Report. It was discovered that these schemes attempted to steal more than $6-8 million each month from advertisers. 
In addition to the escalating ad fraud landscape in CTV, viewability is also emerging as a major concern for advertisers with reference to CTV advertising. While it is common knowledge that a real person must see an advertisement in order to create awareness, a recent test discovered that one out of every four top CTV environments continued to play programming content and record ad impressions even after the television was turned off. This phenomenon is unofficially known as “TV Off.” 
Another factor that advertisers should consider is ensuring that ads are reaching consumers in the intended geography. For example, if brands are looking to reach consumers in India, but their ad is shown to consumers in Japan instead, it cannot be as effective as it would be if it had reached the intended audience. 
Given these circumstances, third-party verification has become essential to safeguard brands and advertisers against the challenges in CTV environments – including ensuring that ads are played to real humans, in a brand-suitable environment, when the TV is turned on and in the correct geography. With the support of advanced verification solutions, brands can make ads more effective and help unveil new methods to make a campaign successful, all while keeping transparency at the forefront.
The CTV market is currently growing at a rapid pace and is expected to have a bright future ahead. The shift in content consumption behaviours that we are witnessing will continue, thus prompting more advertisers to turn to CTV to reach the modern consumer. Advertisers, however, will benefit from working with partners that can support them in ensuring they achieve the desired outcomes and deliver the ROI on their media investment fully benefiting from the potential of CTV as a new advertising channel.
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The company has launched the milk biscuit in Tamil Nadu and has roped in South celebs Simran Bagga and Sneha Prasanna for the TVCs
By exchange4media Staff | Dec 21, 2022 6:40 PM   |   3 min read
ITC Sunfeast has announced the launch of its new product Sunfeast SUPERMILK’ biscuits in Tamil Nadu (TN). TN currently contributes to around 40% of the milk biscuit industry and Sunfeast is making a strategic foray into this segment to leverage the large business opportunity. 
For the launch of Sunfeast SUPERMILK, the brand has for the first time roped in two celebrity mothers to endorse the biscuit. The two mega South Indian celebrities– Simran Bagga and Sneha Prasanna – will feature in two TVCs, encouraging mothers to choose Sunfeast SuperMilk – the Strong Milk Biscuit for their children. The TVC featuring Simran puts focus on the hectic routine followed by today’s kids and their need for a Strong milk biscuit, just like the need for a Strong Coffee by a father post a tiresome day of work. 

The TVC featuring Sneha moves the action outdoors to a friendly football session where a playful group of kids demand a Strong milk biscuit in response to their coach’s need for a Strong tea post the match. Both the TVCs depict how today’s multitasking children need Strong milk biscuits to get through the day just like adults need Strong tea/coffee post grueling work/chores. The TVCs are conceptualized by Mind Your Language based in Chennai. 
Given the love for ‘strong’ coffee/tea among the people of Tamil Nadu, SUPERMILK is an insightful approach to address the need for a ‘strong milk biscuit’ option for kids. SUPERMILK contains a higher proportion of milk compared to its previous packs. It also contains Naatu maatu paal which has always been trusted by mothers as a wholesome food choice. SUPERMILK further includes four key nutrients – Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Iron and Zinc – which are known to support Immunity.  The product will be available at all retail and general stores in Tamil Nadu in the price points of Rs.5 & Rs.10, with the brand offering a higher value for consumers in Rs.10 with a 20% extra promotion on select products for a limited period of time. 
Speaking at the launch, Ali Harris Shere, Chief Operating Officer, Biscuits & Cakes Cluster, Foods Division, ITC Ltd. said, “Sunfeast has been a trusted brand in TN, delivering a wide range of offerings that cater to the preferences of every member of the household. The love & support we have received over the past two decades, has encouraged us to embark on this extensive mission to carefully craft a product that is uniquely representative of TN – the all new Sunfeast SUPERMILK. It contains Naatu Maatu paal that is the preferred choice of TN mothers. It also contains the extra punch of milk compared to its previous packs. And just like the Strong tea/coffee preferred by adults in TN, we now have a Strong Milk Biscuit for kids in the form of SUPERMILK”
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The soap brand has also unveiled a modern, revamped look with a new packaging
By exchange4media Staff | Dec 21, 2022 4:00 PM   |   3 min read
Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting’s legacy soap brand, Chandrika, has announced the re-launch of its Chandrika Ayurvedic Soap and unveiled a modern and sleek new packaging, revamping the look and feel of the popular soap bar. 
During the launch, Chandrika further revealed famous South Indian actor Keerthy Suresh as their new brand ambassador, who will also feature in their upcoming TVC campaign for the re-launch. 
Neeraj Khatri CEO at Wipro Consumer Care Business for India and South Asia said, “As a brand that has captured the trust of millions of Indians for more than 80 years, Chandrika is a unique brand that comes with a legacy and an unwavering following. Through this re-launch, we at Wipro are hoping to strengthen our market leadership in Kerala and our other core markets and widen its appeal to new consumers in other markets as well. With the addition of Keerthy, one of the most talented actors in India, who has come on board as our brand ambassador, we are excited to see what’s in store for this evergreen brand!” The new design and packaging highlight the brand’s core values of listening to nature and tradition and marries it with a renewed understanding of the science of Ayurveda. Intending to be transparent and help a person achieve a consistent glow with Ayurveda, the new packaging lists out its ingredients and benefits more clearly to its consumers.” 
S Prasanna Rai, Vice President – Marketing, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting said, “Chandrika, as a heritage brand, has been a part of people’s everyday routine for generations, and our sincere hope is that it continues to be a part of their daily lives for many more generations to come. It is essential for us at Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting to stay in tune with the changing times and trends, thus, we have refreshed our packaging to reflect and highlight the ingredients and benefits as well as give it a more modern feel. The formulation of the soap is beloved because of its effectiveness, so we have not altered it in any way, and therefore, we have retained the goodness of all the 7 ingredients. We are also very excited to welcome Keerthy Suresh to the Chandrika family as we head into a new era of beautiful and glowing skin with Chandrika.” 
Chandrika Ayurvedic soap is one of the most popular soaps, with an 8% market share in the Kerala market, in the toilet soaps category. It was used in 62% of more than 92.2 Lakh households in Kerala last year. Chandrika uses all-natural ingredients and twice the coconut oil to nourish the skin and help consumers get problem-free clear skin. 
Keerthy Suresh said, “I am a long-standing admirer of everything ayurveda, and Chandrika Ayurveda Soap has managed to beautifully capture the essence of ayurveda with its all-natural approach that is scientific, safe and effective over the past 80 years. My perception of beauty has always been to be your natural self and it feels great to work with a brand that echoes the same values. With this partnership, I look forward to creating a positive impact and building an environment where women can flaunt their glowing, healthy skin with or without makeup!”
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Hansa lists the top four trends that ruled in 2022
By exchange4media Staff | Dec 22, 2022 9:10 AM   |   3 min read
Trends are important catalysts for marketers and consumers alike. A unique set of trends dominate sectors every year. In 2022, customer experience became central to making buying decisions (for customers) and enhancing the shopping experience (for marketers). Brands chose endorsers perceived as relatable, fit, trustworthy and likeable. The country watched cricket on Smart TV unlike last years, when people preferred the mobile screen. 
From the increase in the popularity of OTT platforms to the emergence of cruise holidays as a favoured form of vacation, let us sum up the year with a list of top trends that ruled in 2022 as released by Hansa Research: 
1. Entertainment Trends 
As per the Brand Endorser Report 2022 of Hansa Research, Amitabh Bachchan was the most recognised celebrity in India. He surpassed many popular young actors in terms of recognition. In the sports sector, Sachin Tendulkar emerged as the number one celebrity. In 2022, these veterans were preferred by brands for endorsements as they are perceived as trustworthy, relatable and likeable.
In the category of South Indian celebrities, Allu Arjun and Samantha Prabhu were the most recognised owing to the rise in viewership of OTT platforms. YouTube viewership also increased, making Bhuvan Bam the most recognised influencer. They set an example of how good content and performance are enough to create an impact. 
Along with big names, big screens also made a comeback in 2022, with more people preferring to watch cricket on a bigger screen. People chose Smart TV to enjoy cricket on Hotstar. TV viewers also favoured HD viewership to enhance their experience. 
2. Banking & Insurance Trends 
Trust and customer support dominated the trends in the banking and insurance sector. According to the findings of Digipay Customer Experience Score (CuES) 2022 by Hansa Research, customers focused on security, privacy and support from banking digital payments apps instead of settling for non-banking digital payments apps. GenZ and Millenials emerged as frequent but not loyal users of digital payment apps. 
Based on the Insurance Customer Experience Score (CuES) 2022 by Hansa Research, HDFC life and ICICI prudential life became popular choices among customers. People have favoured brands that provide a better purchase, dealing, and advisory experience. 
3. Shopping Trends 
Online shopping remained highly popular during the festive season, even when physical stores also offered sales and discounts, as per the Customer Sales Survey Report 2022 by Hansa Research. Mobile phones topped the list of the most purchased products followed by shoes and electronic accessories. Interestingly, people favoured buying books online and offline equally. 
Customer experience became key to enhancing the shopping experience. Many brands considered customer feedback to improve their products and services. 
4. Travel Trends 
According to a survey by Hansa Research on behalf of Norwegian Cruise Line, Cruise holidays emerged as the top family travel trend, with 8 out of 10 families planning a cruise vacation abroad in the next year. 79% of people want to make up for the time lost during the pandemic and go on a vacation with family in times to come. 89% believe that spending quality time with family is essential for holistic well-being. 
69% of travellers focus on value and intrinsic pricing while 61% consider easy access to attractions and activities while travelling.
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