Deconstructing the New Oppo F5 Ad

Oppo, a leading mobile phone brand, has a new advertisement up on YouTube and it is doing great with 16 million (and counting) views. Their new phone is seemingly targeted at single women. The advertisement stars Sidharth Malhotra and Kriti Kharbanda. In the advertisement, Aditi (Kriti Kharbanda) has lost her ambition to become a model, which leads to her boyfriend breaking up with her on Valentines Day. This causes her to become even more hopeless and pitiful. Here, a moment that could have lead to a narrative of empowerment is instead used to imply that Aditi is dependent on men more than ever. After the breakup, Aditi’s new phone, the one she got for her boyfriend for Valentines Day, is personified as a man (Sidharth Malhotra) in the ad. Since the aim of Oppo was probably to show that the phone is responsible and could perform every task Sidharth Malhotra’s character is portrayed as responsible for her every success.

Source: https://i2.wp.com/www.manilashaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/oppo-f...

 

The ad makes him seem more in charge than the female lead. Aditi is portrayed as a character who needs her phone to motivate her whenever she is feeling low.The parallel that is drawn is that just like people are dependent on their phones for everyday tasks, women are dependent on men. Instead of breaking or challenging gender norms, the ad is simply reinforcing them. Here is what the ad could have done instead:

 

  1. Instead of making Aditi’s dream that of becoming a model, she could have wanted to become a successful businesswoman. This would show that women can go beyond just the sphere of beauty and be interested in pursuing more intellectually demanding jobs.
  2. Aditi uses a lot of filters to make her face look beautiful for a picture she needs to put in her portfolio. What’s worse is that Sidharth Malhotra’s character tells her to hide her dark circles and the filter makes her look fairer. This again reiterates the idea of women needing to always look beautiful. It projects a very unhealthy image to the audience. This part of the ad could have had her taking pictures of everyday things or the scenery around her instead.​​
    Source: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DVkhAMmVwAI2atw.jpg  
  3. The phone could have been personified as a woman. This would show the positive relationship that women can share. It would also dispel notions about women being completely dependent on men when their self-worth was involved.
  4. There is a scene where Aditi shouts at Sidharth Malhotra’s character for not warning her that her ex would try to take advantage of her newfound fame. Here, his character is depicted as being omniscient, and having and possessing the power to see the future. This sets unrealistic expectations not only for the phone but also regarding what women can expect from men.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/oppomobileindia/photos/a.1409587659289042.10737...

 

The only empowering scene, in my opinion, was when Aditi walked away from her ex’s party by herself (without any advice from Sidharth Malhotra’s character). However, most of the advertisement makes it seem like this entire sequence of events was a quest for love for Aditi rather than her attempt to find herself. It also makes it seem like she wouldn't have been able to achieve her dreams without a man’s help. All of this to advertise a phone, which was honestly relegated to two actual appearances in a thirteen-minute movie!

Here’s the link to the advertisement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljbCyumiVA

 

Edited by Rangoli Gupta

Images curated by  Sanjna Mishra