When sweet nostalgia reinvents itself for gender equality

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The advertising for Cadbury cricket in the 1990s that we forget we remember made a big comeback this week reinvented and hit a straight sixer. Memories of model Shimona Rashi wearing a floral dress, Dairy Milk in hand, and dancing her iconic happy dance on the pitch after her boyfriend scored the winning run have awakened. Except this time it was a young man coming through security to dance for his bats-wielding girlfriend.

An effortless fit to the original Cadbury and Ogilvy commercial and what a world of difference it can make! Reinvented for the time, classic advertising now has a place alongside our nostalgia as a paradigm of the push for gender equality being as simple as it has shown it to be.

The ’90s ad was very popular and straightforward. In a way, maybe it was a daring display of a liberated woman, unafraid of judgment, waltzing on the pitch like it wasn’t nobody’s business. All the new ad does is revisit and readjust without touching the larger format.

He simply asks: What if the gender roles were reversed? Oh damn, why can’t they be? It is as possible as it is natural.

By superimposing the old and the new announcements, what do we get? A stimulating testimony to how far we have come on the road to equality, keeping intact this invaluable nostalgia that we appreciate so much.

Watch the two ads here:

The new Cadbury ad: when screens speak to people

There are many facets to the Cadbury Cricket ad that fit together like a fantastic design. First, that the women on the cricket pitch are not extraordinary events no matter how patriarchal belief systems made us think differently. Anyone with a cricket bat is holding it because they deserve to have it.

Second, the normalization of a male partner wholeheartedly encouraging his other half in such a carefree manner as women are usually shown. How many men in the ads are genuinely supportive of their partners beyond the mundane blasphemy that no one takes seriously anymore? The new Cadbury cricket ad turns that tale upside down. And all that the viewer feels at that moment is pure joy without judgment.

What if the gender roles were reversed? Oh damn, why can’t they be? It is as possible as it is natural.

Third, how chocolate comes full circle after decades as a unifier of people across generations and genders. The Cadbury advertising of the 90s was particularly marked by the change in perception of chocolate, from a treat just for children to a treat for all. This time, chocolate – this delicious and not serious food – comes to make a precise point on the genre.

Clearly, there is power in the way ads carry weight and by witnessing it, their depth jumps out at us with the hope of leading us towards change.

The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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