Cannes Lions says ‘touch the pickle’ with gender-neutral ad award

26 Jun 2015

Cosmetics giant Proctor & Gamble picked up the Grand Prix prize at the inaugural Glass Lion Awards for gender-neutral adverts at this year’s major advertising awards, the Cannes Lions.

While the concept of ‘Touch the Pickle’ might sound like a strange phrase to use for an ad campaign, it actually offers a very important message for women in a country where menstruation is treated as something to be shameful about.

As for the relevance of the pickle, it is a commonly-held belief in India that if a woman is experiencing her period, her touching the pickle jar will cause them to rot, hence the advert making light of ‘touching the pickle’.

According to AdAge, the advert was produced by advertising giant BBDO and was first aired on Indian television last year and ran with the slogan: “For years, we have been hearing many ‘Don’ts’ during period days. When you don’t let anything else stop you, why let these taboos hold you back?”

Since its release, it has sparked national debates in India and has led to something of a national discussion about the normalisation of body issues in the country.

President of the jury was none other than MakeLoveNotPorn founder and recent Inspirefest 2015 speaker Cindy Gallop, who said the ad ticked all the boxes: “We were laser focused on work that challenges and shatters gender stereotypes and has the power to effect true cultural change.”

She continued, “What made the [Grand Prix] decision unanimous was that we have in ‘Touch the Pickle’ a campaign that takes on the challenges of a huge gender issue … in a very open and disruptive way … and is humorous and engaging.”

Person trying to open pickle jar image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic