India’s First Ad With a Lesbian Couple Goes Viral

Ogilvy pushes boundaries for clothing brand Anouk

An Indian clothing company is out with an ad that news reports are billing as the socially conservative country's first to feature a lesbian couple.

Anouk and Ogilvy & Mather Bangalore created the spot, in which the couple get ready to meet—and, the ad suggests, come out to—the parents of one of the women. Three and a half minutes long, the spot aims for a casual tone, showing the women in their apartment, putting on makeup and chatting about clothing, hairstyles and their relationship.

While LGBT themes in ads are increasingly common and overt in the U.S, homosexuality is illegal in India. Two years ago, the country's Supreme Court reinstated the ban after a lower court had ruled it unconstitutional.

The tagline, "Bold is beautiful," risks conflating putting on a bright-colored dress with being open about one's sexuality in a highly hostile environment. But the brand deserves credit for aligning itself with a progressive message—the ad seems to be mainly garnering support on YouTube (where it has more than 1.6 million views), even if the spirit of it is lost on the obligatory bigots yelling in all caps in the comments section of articles.

Yogurt brand Chobani, meanwhile, is out with its own lesbian-themed ad that's much more explicit—and ridiculous—because why not play to base instincts, too?