Urban Company Campaign Film Calls for Dignity for Massage Professionals

Ad calls for dignity of labor for women massage professionals.

Urban Company has launched a new campaign that aims to create a conversation around the dignity of labor for their professionals. In 2023, the brand started a conversation to narrow the respect gap between ‘blue-collar’ and ‘white-collar’ professionals with their film, “Chhota Kaam.”

This year for Women’s Day, they took an intersectional approach to talk about the dignity of labour for their women professionals- specifically belonging to the Spa category.

The 4-minute film via Talented follows the journey of a young masseuse who unpacks the stigma surrounding her profession, first for herself, and then for her family.


 

“Our cultural biases colour certain professions in India, and those bleed onto perceptions of Professionals on the Urban Company platform,” said Tarun Menon, Director of Brand at Urban Company.

“Each Professional goes through weeks of vocational-skill training conducted by experts and is certified by the NSDC – it’s the reason they’re called Professionals. Despite that, such biases colour their careers. Everyone has the right to work with pride and dignity, and more importantly, to be respected for it. This is true for Professionals on our platform as it is for society at large – work isn’t always just work, for some, it’s their life’s work.”

Binaifer Dulani and Leena Gupta, Creatives at Talented, said: “The mainstream media portrayal of massages are shrouded in pervasive secrecy and indentured servitude on the back of sexually coloured undertones. A masseuse is an expert in the science of body relaxation, but her technical craft and expertise are completely disregarded in media portrayals of the vocation, and society at large. The same, however, is not true for physiotherapists who also engage in touch-based wellness.


 

We translated the lived experiences of hundreds of UC Spa Pros to develop our plot, and our creative decisions were guided by ethnographers and fieldwork researchers, and academicians in gender, Garvi Dhar and Dr. Papori Bora. The UC Spa Professional doesn’t just create equity for all masseuses, but all working women whose success is often credited to everything but their hard work and expertise.”

The film follows the journey of a young Spa professional who comes home to an angry younger brother. The “bade bhaiyyas” in the building have supposedly ridiculed him because his sister is a massage therapist. She then proceeds to unpack this bias and make him understand the systemic stigma that results in this prejudice.

Kopal Naithani, Founder and Director at Superfly Films, said: “For long, Women’s Day ads have followed the same formula: first show an imperfect world that inflicts injustice on women, then show an empowered woman who stands up for herself and makes it a perfect world. But this is unsustainable in the real world. Women’s fight for gender equality shouldn’t be such a lonely fight. The need of the hour is not only raising strong women- it is also raising men to be secure allies to those strong women. Young boys need to grow up to become men who actively advocate for women, or else, in 2054 we will still be making ads about empowered, but unsupported women who are struggling for equality in silos.”

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