Mindshare Wins Glass Lion for Creating India’s First Transgender Pop Band

Tea brand shatters stereotypes

In the second year of the Glass Lion award, Indian agency Mindshare Mumbai scored the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions festival here tonight for creating India's first transgender pop band, the 6 Pack Band, in partnership with tea brand Brooke Bond Red Label.

The Glass Lion, which started last year at Cannes, awards creative work that helps to shift culture and addresses and impacts gender inequality. This years Grand Prix winner found a way to tackle gender inequality in India, where there are roughly 1.9 million transgender people, also referred to as the "Hijra" community, according to The Guardian.

Many trans people in India find it difficult to find stable jobs or simply find any acceptance within their community. They often belong to the lowest economic class. Brooke Bond Red Label teamed up with Mindshare Mumbai and Y Films to spotlight transgender people, sparking positive conversations about the community by creating a band unlike any other—one that shatters gender stereotypes. 

"The brand is 113 years old. And for a brand that is that established and is a household product to really take on the issue of transgenders [was amazing]," said jury president Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

The band's first music video, "Hum Hain Happy," features the pop group covering Pharrell Williams' catchy anthem "Happy" and has racked up almost 2 million YouTube views. The 6 Pack Band has released a number of tracks, available on YouTube, since it formed in January.

"They approached it from the perspective of 'How do you embrace it? How do you combat gender norms?' " Di Nonno said. "Their approach was incredibly inventive. They actually created a band and used music and some very popular experiential pop-culture entertainment, which was very significant. And they backed it up with some incredible videos, which really engage consumer and speak to our humanity. It hit all the check marks that we could possibly want."