They stare at you from hoardings in Delhi and Mumbai. Italian designer Domenico Dolce has one hand on the shoulder of his designer partner and former lover Stefano Gabbana, his other hand holding the new Motorola phone. You stare back and raise an eyebrow.
The eyebrow is raised because the stance is suggestive even if you did not know the two men were lovers. The commercial has stepped out of the closet in India.
Is this a hint of who Indian ads will target next: consumer groups like homosexuals, as in the West? Sources at Motorola and its agency, O&M, say it had no such plan. Says an ad man associated with the campaign, "The client didn't expect people to see it that way and we didn't think most consumers knew about the duo's past. They are featured as designers."
KS Chakravarthy, creative head, Rediffusion DY&R, says no brand will advertise predominantly gay messages in India unless it wants to attract controversy. Also, the gay community is not prominent enough to solicit focused advertising.
But this is half the story. Internationally, Motorola is on the list of brands focusing on the well-off, gay community. As long as the ad catches more eyeballs, the market will remain happy — and gay.