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Family is an integral part of Indian culture, and it is often reflected in the country's branded content. Indian branded content often portrays family relationships in different forms, highlighting the emotional connection and values that bind family members together.

There are various common tropes (story themes) that are used to portray the relationships within families from the lens of branded content in India. Some of the common ones are:

- The relationship between parents and their children is a loving and caring bond that is unbreakable.

- Sibling relationships are portrayed as playful and friendly yet competitive at times. 

- Grandparents are also often featured extensively, denoting their importance and value in the typical Indian family.

They are often portrayed as wise and experienced, passing on their knowledge and life lessons to the younger generations. 

All brands try to leverage the theme of family in their branded content in some form or the other. However, the brands that consistently feature family as a theme in their marketing communications either belong to the insurance category or are Indian origin brands.

Brands that associate themselves with the idea or the identity of India itself also dial up the theme of family. Their Indian origin is what makes them position themselves as an extension of the family.

In this article, we will explore how family relationships are portrayed in Indian branded content:

Farhan Akhtar Finds ‘Sukoon’ With Loved Ones - Secure Health Insurance for family | InsuranceDekho

The video starts with actor Farhan Akhtar getting ready to go to work. It features him dressed up as a middle-class man with a white-collar job. He lives in a joint family, wherein three generations exist under the same roof - his parents, him and his wife, and his children.

The video leverages the theme of ‘peace of mind’ in the larger sphere of family relationships. The intent of the content is to show that the peace of the family is of fundamental importance to the family man. While Farhan’s character appears to be going to work, his wife is teaching yoga to their little daughter, dressed up in comfortable clothes meant for the home. There is a subtle implication that Farhan is the only working person in the family and thus is the ‘man of the house’.

The video intends to appeal to the emotions of men as, just like many Indian families, the man is deemed to be the family's sole breadwinner. But the video intends to appeal not just to the financial aspect of ‘being a man’. In the video, the protagonist is delighted that his retired father can relax without any worry, he also supports his mother’s creative pursuit of dance, and he loves his daughter. He does not just support them financially but also emotionally as well. It is as if the ‘man of the house’ is the one holding the family structure together.

A couple of lines in the video also reflect the sentiment of putting the family above yourself:

Lines such as “Apno ke sukoon mein hi sukoon hai” and “Sukoon na shehar mein hai, na bade ghar mein. Chai ki pehli chuski lene par, papa ki ‘ah’ mein sukoon hai” denote that the peace of the family is the peace of the self. Nothing will ever give your more satisfaction than knowing that your loved ones are filled with contentment. A family is only held together when the family members are altruistic towards one another.

Marriage Conversations | In-Laws

In the campaign appropriately titled ‘Marriage Conversations’, Tanishq depicts the conversations that a couple could, and ideally should, have with each other. In the campaign, one content piece that stands out is the video about the in-laws. The video beautifully narrates the story of ordinary Indian folks and how they find it challenging to navigate their nuclear family structure within the larger system of ‘The Extended Family’, which includes parents and grandparents of both the husband and the wife. 

In this particular video, the wife is worried about her parents’ ailing health. She is supposed to move into her husband’s home, which includes his parents.  Her husband’s home is quite far away from her parents’ home. To mitigate this problem, the husband buys the flat downstairs. He tells his wife that her parents are his parents too, and they will take care of them together. Even his parents are looking forward to the housewarming party in which they will be welcomed. 

The campaign intends to portray the ideal man, who is a family man. He is kind, giving, and cares for the woman’s family like his own. He is generous and always puts the family above everything else. 

The man once again becomes the pillar that holds the superstructure of the entire family together.

Amul Taste of India - Woman

Amul being an Indian brand that is backed by the state makes a conscientious effort to ensure that its marketing communications are also ‘Indian-ised’. In a lot of Amul’s marketing, whether it is set in an urban space or a rural space, we see the Indian family featuring a conjugal couple who are the bread earners for the family.

In the new video of Amul’s classic ‘Taste of India’ campaign, we see Amul shifting its focus to each demographic individually - we see that in the title of the video itself, from ‘woman’ to ‘gentleman’ and ‘kids’ to ‘youth’. All of the content does however feature the family in one way or another. 

In the campaign centring on women, however, the focus on the family is the most dialled up. In the video, we see various kinds of women - from the newly married to the family matriarch. However, two threads that tie them all together are:

- They are all serving their families; whenever anyone is hungry, they go to the woman of the house, who then fixes up a delicious meal.

- All the families belong to the middle class.

Amul’s entire campaign is centred on the family. We never see an independent woman making a meal for her friends or herself as she prepares for the office. While Amul’s lens of women can be critiqued for not being progressive enough, one can also understand that they are trying to mirror the typical Indian-middle-class family, as perceived by them.

Even Amul’s tagline - ‘The taste of India’ can be deemed to be an extension of the family unit itself, wherein India itself is a family, and the common usage of Amul ties together the consumers.

Actionable insights

- Grandparents are prominently highlighted in the branded content about insurance, as they appear to be the most vulnerable in the entire family structure. Thus, becoming the ones most in need of insurance. However, apart from serving as a prop, it would be better if brands start to take notice of the older demographic and include them in the storyline, even if they are not the sole target audience for the product.

- Brands play it quite safe when it comes to family relationships. The portrayal of the Indian family is often a stereotypical one.   The modern man is eulogized as the pillar holding up the family structure through being the caring bread winner, while women are nurturers through cooking.  The challenges of modernity confronting the family e.g. technology's effects, gender issues, caste-community issues, travel and distance would make the stories more real and interesting.

- ‘Indian-origin’ brands see themselves as an extension of the family unit. While they do have an advantage of familiarity, that is just one element. It is also vital to highlight the positive selling points of the brand and not just rely on the story of ‘Indianness’. A lot of the Indian brands get comfortable doing just that.

In conclusion, Indian branded content often portrays family relationships in a positive and heart-warming manner, highlighting the emotional connection and values that bind families together.