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Republic Day which falls on January 26 is an important day not just in our nation’s history but also seminal from a marketing and branding point of view. The holiday has traditionally seen many sale campaigns. But now with the nationalistic narratives almost always in vogue, the day also presents brands with interesting content opportunities.

Colours constitute a major theme within the nationalistic discourse. The national flag complete with its three colours at once is used as a signifier for a myriad of feelings and characteristics such as bravery, peace, prosperity to name a few.  JSW Paints in association with ABP Uncut launched a video employing the imagery of multiple colours:

Har Rang Mein Hai Desh ka Rang | JSW Paints

The short video tries to encapsulate a feeling of unity through a montage of colourful images from around the country. The accompanying narrative pictures people of India as several different colours that in turn come together to form the colours of tricolour. Thus, it invokes the theory that a nation is made of its people.

However, the video smoothly focuses also on the individual beauty of each colour/person and situates the idea of beauty in one’s thought process that is to think beautifully is beautiful. JSW being a paints brand achieves the brand connection of course, through the vivid imagery of colours.

The video strikes a good balance between a residual narrative and an emergent one. The residual narrative pictures the citizens as a collective entity that constitute the nation while the emergent narrative enforces each citizen’s individuality.

After a much-loved campaign last Republic Day which had a fairly popular rendition of the flag song – ‘Vijayi Vishwa Tiranga Pyara’ that Ambuja Cements released last year:

The brand this year focused on the true story of a small village in Uttar Pradesh:

Ambuja Salutes the Spirit of Saidpur | Ambuja Cements

With over 3500 veterans, 1500 men on the front and a hundred and seventeen martyrs, the story of Saidpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr is impressive from the word go. It only goes on to become more impactful when adapted into a two and a half minutes video with poetic narrative by Ambuja Cements.

Titled ‘Ambuja Salutes the Spirit of Saidpur’, the video highlights the unparalleled contribution of Saidpur in enlisting at least one man from each household. Visuals of veterans pointing to pictures from their service days and young men working-out to join the army make for a stirring patriotic video.

But often it is almost a given that a patriotic video will also be a stirring video. The video’s remarkableness instead lies in smooth and subtle brand integration that it achieves without deterring once from the primary narrative. Let’s see how it achieves this:

As visible in these old TVCs, ‘Wall’ as a signifier has been attached to Ambuja Cement’s brand for a very long time now:

Over the years, the brand has invented many quirky and profound meanings of the word. The memorable association immediately comes to mind when the narrative in the Saidpur video not only equates people of the villages with the metaphorical wall that protects our nation but also makes use of the walls of houses in the village.

The walls are all decorated with colourful graffiti depicting patriotic motifs such as the national flag, the territorial boundary of India, Women pilots of the IAF, etc. Many villagers stand in front of these walls with their hands poised in a gesture of salute even as the narrative reinforces the great role played by the village in protecting the country’s frontiers.

Perhaps a well-balanced script that has equal amounts of tribute as well as subtle plug-ins for the brand is what makes this video poignant but not a melodramatic appeal for nationalism.

The term ‘Republic’ iterated as ‘gantantra’ in Hindi is essentially about the ‘gann’ or the public of India. Following from the word itself then, it would make quite a lot of sense for a brand to come up with content that focuses on the public, the masses. We already have an example of the same with JSW Paints. Ghadi Detergent offers a yet more nuanced take:

De Khud ko Bhi Shabashi | Ghadi Detergent

The brand conveys the good wishes of Republic Day to the ‘common man’ through this video. It uses the interesting device of placing a full-length mirror on the road for the people passing by to take note of their own selves. The accompanying narrative does the rest by calling the common man the custodian of not just borders but also of health and freedom.

It makes for an impactful piece of content that recalls the contributions of a common man and shows several people acknowledging the same and saluting themselves. The video fits completely with the theme of Republic Day when it visualises the public as the ‘symbol’ of the Republic.

The brand connect in this video as in the aforementioned ones is also done subtly with just one line that credits the common Indian with the ‘safedi’ (cleanliness or spotlessness) in the country’s fabric.


Apart from being one of the three major National holidays, Republic Day is increasingly becoming a major spot on the content calendar for marketing. With the heightened feeling for all things Indian, the day also presents Indian brands with an unmatched chance to make their presence felt. But just because there is an increased demand for local products, a brand cannot possibly take shortcuts and position themselves deliberately as “desh ka brand”.

The best way to build an image that truly exudes Indianness is to ensure that every marketing opportunity, including Republic Day, is marked with a great piece of branded content.

While discussions of patriotism cannot escape the use of abstract values of bravery, courage and the like, it is important to anchor these values in something tangible that is connected to the category and product that the brand is best known for, within one’s content. For instance, the ‘wall’ is a physical manifestation of the strength of cement. It is also a metaphor for the protection of the nation’s borders as well as the sentiment of patriotism among its people, that gives the nation its strength. All of these are exemplified in the village of Saidpur. Similarly, we look at ourselves in the mirror when we wear sparkling white clothes; the mirror is also the device of self-recognition and validation. Thus the mirror and its meanings are sought to be connected with Ghadi Detergents, the quintessential brand of the common man.

The brands mentioned above do well to keep the central focus on the people of this nation as Republic Day after all is a day representing them all and the laws that govern them!

With a never-seen-before penchant for patriotism, it becomes difficult to produce content that will in fact cut through the noise. A good way in that direction is to first and foremost engage in the search for inspiring stories and examples. These can then be worked around one’s brand iconography and be scripted with a balanced narrative that can as per requirement touch upon the themes of sacrifice, bravery, patriotism, collectivism and of course celebration.