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India has a rich culture of music and dance. If transgender people were to be accepted, we needed to get India to love and accept them on the biggest stage. Our idea was to launch India’s first transgender pop group – The 6 Pack Band. By putting them in the limelight, we wanted to show that they are just like everyone else.Many hijras live on the outskirts of society, facing verbal abuse and discrimination every day. They face a pressure to conform and can’t be themselves. It was integral to the idea that the band released tracks about their philosophy of being happy despite the adversity they are subjected to. They sang about the importance of gender equality, reinforcing our message of breaking down barriers.The aim was to celebrate togetherness by depicting a more welcoming world by raising awareness for India’s transgender community.Synopsis:India has an estimated 1.9 million transgender people. They are known in the country as hijras, and are stigmatised and alienated. Hijras find it impossible to get conventional jobs because they are ostracized from society. Begging and sex work are the two only ways to make money.In a landmark judgment, the Indian supreme court ruled that transgender people had equal rights under the law, and granted legal status to a third gender in addition to male and female. But despite this, they have restricted access to education, health and public spaces and until recently were even excluded from effectively participating in social and cultural life. Brooke Bond Red Label strives to bring people together, making the world a more welcoming place. Our objective was to force India to confront its prejudices and change the way ‘the third gender’ are perceived.Strategy:It’s known that the LGBT community in India is very different from the rest of the world. They belong to the lowest economic strata and are shunned by their families. To generate awareness of the 6 Pack Band auditions amongst the transgender community, we created a team that went to traffic signals and on local trains across various pockets of Mumbai. Over 200 transgender auditioned before the final line-up was determined. 6 Pack Band songs were launched on YouTube. Without stereotyping or mocking the transgender community, which is often the case in Bollywood films, we needed to reach a mass audience so that people can look at them differently, with more tolerance.Execution:We have launched 3 songs over 3 months. The first was ‘Hum Hai Happy’, cover of Pharrell Williams’ hit. It’s a vibrant track infused with Indian rhythms, incorporating the hand-clapping gestures synonymous with hijras.The follow up was created in collaboration with India’s top musician Sonu Nigam, ‘Sab Rab De Bande’, which translates to ‘We are all children of God’ and reinforced that all people are born equally and they should be embraced for who they are. We also recorded an acoustic version of this song, to show the credibility of the act as real singers and performers.Soon after our YouTube launch, leading television music and radio channels played them as part of its programming. They were available to watch and listen on live-streaming music apps Wink, Hungama, Gaana and Saavn and the top mobile operators offered the song as a caller tune, so people could show their support.Outcome:Over 10 million views of the first 3 songs on YouTube6 Pack Band have been invited to perform live at the prestigious Radio Mirchi Music Awards, the Global Indian Music Awards and at the YouTube Fan Fest So far, the campaign has reached over 25 million people and counting…Total PR value earned INR 100 million ($1.5m) for the 3 songs launchedIndia’s biggest celebrities, including Sharukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan tweeted about 6 Pack Band and shared their videos, generating support from the world’s most renowned mediaGlobal response to this video has been huge and overwhelmingly positiveOur aim of global awareness was achieved with universal acceptance of the 6 Pack BandKomal Jagtap, 6 Pack Band Member: “After years of silence, my brother invited me home” and “The people who used to harass us on the street say, ‘that’s the star from 6 pack band’”
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