Case Study: The Pink Ladoo Project
What a shame that you were born
Imagine on the day of your birth being showered with hatred, negativity and marked as a burden.
Family members cry, not tears of joy, but tears of despair as they mourn over your birth.
How would you feel? Angry? Shocked? Or would you just accept it? You are just a baby after all, who’s going to stand up for you?
For many South Asian girls, not boys, the day they are born is the day they have to start defending their position in society and their very existence. Mourning the birth of girls and celebrating the birth of boys is a long deep-rooted tradition that, even in 2018 in the UK, is still often the kind of welcome many newborn girls will receive.
In September 2015, the Pink Ladoo Project was founded as an urgent need to raise the awareness of this gender bias tradition and elevate the value of women in South Asian cultures. It was set up by Raj Khaira, a talented force of nature, who had the determination to expose this cruel ideology and make a change for the good.
Re-inventing a sexist tradition
One ancient tradition that keeps such thinking alive is the offering of a round yellow sweet, called a ‘Ladoo’, as a marker of celebration for the birth of boys, but not for girls.
So the answer was simple… turn the Ladoos pink.
Raj used this “tradition” to make a statement. By encouraging the celebration and conversation of equality for girls through the giving out of pink Ladoos at their birth. This transformation of a normal yellow Ladoo into a pink one creates a powerful yet simple symbol of protest against bygone sexist customs.
The power is in your hands
The cause had already began sharing stories and messages of women and girls who had experienced such inequality, with the intention to wake up the world to the breadth of the issue. But not enough people were listening. Why? Because the charity lacked a cohesive identity to tell it’s story.
So we offered to help.
The challenge was to create a brand identity that felt unique to its cultural origins yet welcoming to everyone, while balancing an empowering spirit and female tenderness.
We needed to create a brand that had the strength to fight for it’s belief while educate and spread the message that inequality can be changed. For us the logo marque was crucial in reflecting this action.
An upright hand is a significant symbol in South Asian cultures, often depicted on images of Goddesses. The palms of a bride are painted on before their wedding day symbolising femininity and womanhood.
Lastly, Ladoos are traditionally made by mums, aunts and sisters of the family by rolling them in their hands. We tied this all together, turning the Pink Ladoo into a symbol of power, which is in the hands of the beholder. Creating a strong iconic logo with the action line – ‘the power’s in your hands’.
Equality is sweet
The rawness of the logo with the playful type set the personality for the livery and marketing collateral for the Pink Ladoo Project teams across Canada, Australia and the UK. The design had to be easily adaptable and flexible so it could be used by volunteer groups at hospitals, charity events and fundraisers.
Choice of colour was important too.
The end goal for this project is to obtain equality for all. So the choice of yellow complimenting the pink which was a purposeful decision to connect the traditional yellow ladoos with the girls too.
We also helped convey real women’s stories with a series of thought provoking posters capturing the typical comments made to mothers who gave birth to girls.
Since the brand’s launch the project has received a phenomenal response. It’s been featured in The Guardian, The Metro, The Stylist and many other global media outlets. It’s seen it’s followers rise from 8,000 to over 35,000 when a post went viral alongside the new branding.
The Pink Ladoo message has become a global movement, reaching over 3 million people with many stories being shared from families, individuals and volunteers across the world.
One of the organisations biggest strength has been it’s social media strategy. From planning short campaigns highlighting specific stories to building up content to a particular date, the content has always been strong, emotive and concluded with a strong message. Having a clear tone of voice is really important alongside a bold identity.
More than just a branding project
The Pink Ladoo Project is already creating an impact in the communities where it counts…
1. It’s turned South Asian cultural expectation on its head by given a voice to so many women to unite and stand against these crippling cultural norms.
2. It’s inspired men and women to celebrate the birth of their daughters and start a much needed conversation in families.
But it has also been a cause very close to our hearts (and not just because I’m a South Asian woman). This was the project that made us realise we can go it alone as a business and make a difference – using our skills and expertise to change people’s lives for the better.
We believe every business should do some form of pro bono work or integrate a higher purpose into their product or service. Be that donating a percentage of every purchase to a cause or offering your skills to a non profit organisation or just someone who really needs it. It’s amazing how easy it can be to transform a life.
Seeing The Pink Ladoo Project grow and get the attention it deserves has been so fulfilling and been a highlight of our business so far. Raj has been an inspirational client to work with who has blown the lid off the patriarchal norms of society and provided a platform of conversation and celebration. She’s a challenger and she’s not afraid to ruffle a few feathers – everything we look for when we take on a new project.
We really hope one day inequality between man and women will be erased. After all, equality is sweet.
The client says
“When Kiss showed me their concepts I cried – because I never imagined that anyone could so perfectly capture what I had been trying to articulate for my campaign. The final result is emotional, whilst clever, which is exactly what we wanted. The branding has been very effective, helping convey our message clearly.”
Raj Khaira – Founder of The Pink Ladoo Project