Iconic Ads: Femina – Woman of Substance

It presented Indian woman as one who was modest, intelligent, socially conscious and mentally strong, thoughtful of her family and friends.

From the mid-1980s, Femina carried a large number of articles on social issues and how women were working to improve them through their charity work.

Something like Cosmopolitan’s ‘fun, fearless female’, Femina also covered a diverse array of topics, all relating to a complex set of characteristics that the woman should have in her life and personality.

In the 90s, liberalization changed India and the thought process of many Indians started reflecting these changes. It played a dominant role in bringing about major transformations in attitudes and perspectives.

The core target for Femina was the multi-tasking professional Indian woman between the ages of 20 and 40, a homemaker, perhaps young children in school. Beyond that is the woman who is interested in improving her own life from an aspirational perspective.

The brief landed at Nexus Equity.

And that resulted in a campaign Femina is still known for – Woman of Substance. Created wonderfully by Sunil Shihab and Aradhana Chitnis.

It reflects an Indian woman who is beautiful both inside and outside. It presented Indian woman as one who was modest, intelligent, socially conscious and mentally strong, thoughtful of her family and friends than of herself.

It was that time when women found comfort in being themselves, with no baggage of guilt, who was liberated about sexuality and who expressed themselves about bigotry that was known in India.

Femina’s ‘woman of substance’ represents a “superwoman” who easily carved her path & identity in the array of choices around her

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