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Tata Motors Rewards Women with the “Spare Key”. Well, Thanks. But no thanks!

Not too long ago, we celebrated International Women’s Day, reminding the world, yet again, of equality and dignity we deserve.

Like every year, this year too many brands released campaigns targeting women. Most of them are covered here.

However, what caught my attention was this Tata Motors commercial “Her Key”. If you haven’t watched the campaign, you can watch it here.

The commercial intends to empower and encourage Indian women to drive (full marks on the intent). But execution couldn’t have been worse.

They start off by showing young independent women who are not dependent on others to make their life choices or to drive them around. Given that most of the car companies target men, I was extremely impressed by the first 30 seconds of the ad, admiring them for taking this bold step of marketing to women. Well, my happiness was short-lived. Just in the next scene, we see a man signing the documents at a Car Dealer, while his wife and kid wait.

That’s when the so called brilliant idea of Tata Motors came in. Why not brand the Spare Key as Her Key. So as they give the “main key” to the male member, they decide to give the Spare Key to the accompanying female.


As if we haven’t had enough of second-class citizen treatment, we have a car manufacturer telling us that the spare in a man’s life is yours to enjoy.

How is spare key Her right to drive? The communication was a failure on multiple levels.

First off, it does not acknowledge women as amongst the primary users of their product, a car. Essentially, the women were just there to pick up cars with their family, that their husband or members had bought.

Secondly, it has multiple logical flaws: handing a spare key does not mean one becomes the primary owner of the vehicle. Primary ownership still resides with the husband.

Now usually in their TG, husband and wife would drive to work. Assuming the husband takes the car, what is the woman supposed to do with the spare key?

Oh wait, I understood. We are to be at the mercy of the man to let us have the car as per his convenience.

I was like, “Really? Not impressed at all”


This is what happens when we have no cultural and gender diversities in our work places. We either propagate stereotypes or have seemingly progressive ideas, which actually perpetuate the divides.

Now, we all know (as has also been proved by many studies), most of the things are designed by men for men, since women were kept out of work fore for a long time. And cars are no exception.

Here’s an interesting fact.

Did you know that cars are built to be safe for the average male size?

Cars are tested for accidents and crashes with the male body dimensions in assumption. So, in the exact same turn of events leading to same accident, a woman is prone to more injuries than a man.

There goes the lady. Oh the man is safe as expected from the crash test results! Hurrah!

But hey, is that really a big problem? May be we should just make a nice sounding campaign and shrug off our responsibility seems to be the attitude here.

Instead of marketing cars to independent, earning, strong women, we have stereotypes personified. A mother who does not know how to drive and is happy to take a back seat. A seemingly modern wife who had never thought about driving, forget about owning a car.

And then the priceless reactions from women. I mean they weren’t being handed out free cars in a lottery. It’s a spare key (which anyway comes with car, in case we have forgotten about it).

The ad reeks of misogyny. They could have shown working women coming to buy their first car, or a woman driving from work/club in the night (while talking about safety features of car), or even a homemaker from tier 2 city registering in a driving school.

But who needs progressive thoughts when it is much easier to be regressive and show women to be dependent on men, and be happy with the left overs of a man?

I think brands need to introspect and take charge to change the narrative. Women are no longer the docile multi taskers, doing most of family’s unpaid work.

We are as competent as men, and deserve the same dignity. Sometimes, it is hard to believe we are living in 21st Century and still struggling to find basic respect, even in the reel world.

It is about time for us to come out and voice our opinions. We don’t need Pink ribbons, pink razors, or pink clothes. We want equality and respect.

As usual, please feel free to drop your comments below. Would love to hear from you.

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