Advertising is supposed to be a persuasive means of mass communication. A good advertisement also gives a message and does not merely sell a product. But some Indian ads are known to repeatedly lose the plot when it comes to one product -men’s deodorants. The latest ads by Layer’r Shot decided to pick on a theme of suggestive gang rape to promote their perfumes! And you wonder if things are yet to get worse?
The controversial ads were aired during the first Test match between England and New Zealand. The two ads show four men targeting a woman and having conversations about who gets a ‘shot’, only for them to proceed and pick up the ‘Shot’ perfume bottle on the rack. A horrendous choice of wordplay and a classic example of objectifying women to promote perfumes. The ads have now been taken down by the Advertising Standards Council of India. However, the company’s so-called apology statement conveniently blames the audience as “wrongly perceived by some.”
It also largely portrays how the agency and multiple departments thought to give this idea approval. An ad has to be given a green signal at multiple levels before its execution and filming on screen. At a time, when we are still fuming about gang rape reports, the visual of some men walking in on a man and a woman in a bedroom and talking about getting a shot, gets approved? How does it not cross the mind of a single person on the team that this could possibly evoke a controversy?
Shameful and disgusting. How many levels of clearances did it take for this commercial to be green lit. How many people thought this was ok? I’m so glad that it was called out and now the ministry has taken it down. Appalling!
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) June 4, 2022
What we also fail to understand is the need for sexual objectification in promoting a manly scent. While women are already fighting the stereotypes in other advertisements, they continue to be sexual objects when promoting men’s perfumes. Visuals of attracting women like magnets after putting on a body spray are not new. The women in these ads lose logic and are full of lust the moment they sense of whiff of men’s perfumes. Fantasizing, titillating shots of women and men have formed the premise of deodorant ads in India for years. These ads have, time and again, been called out or even released in censored versions but lust over logic prevails.
The Layer’r Shot ad goes a step ahead by suggesting taking a shot at the woman. Gang rape or sexual harassment cannot be the themes of promotion. Agencies can attract brilliant ideas instead of men attracting women like magnets with a scent. We need to put behind the sexist ideas and liberate ourselves from this toxicity to truly attract audiences to buy these products.
A writer who categorically misfits as 'Words are better than actions'. Spilling thoughts on travel, food, and lifestyle to everything in between.