Controversial Ads around festivals-Marketing or targetted attack?

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Posted: 18 days ago

I am sure some of you, if not all, are aware of the latest controversy that is plaguing brands like Swiggy and Bharat Matrimony due to their recent "Holi" themed advertisements - on hoardings & audio-visuals.

For the unversed, let me summarise:

  • Swiggy: Just a day before the festival of Holi, Swiggy launched its new billboards .As you can see in the link, the billboard suggested to promote usage of eggs for making omlettes and poached eggs and not for throwing on peoples heads during holi. Several people on social media found the advertisement offensive and a targetted attack on particular community. Within hours of the news spreading, #boycottswiggy became a top trending topic which forced the company to pull down the billboards.
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  • Bharat Matrimony: On the occassion of Holi, the official social media handle of Bharat Matrimony issued an ad. The ad highlights domestic violence and sexual harassment faced by some of the women on Holi. This has led to an outrage as many on social media found the ad maligning the festival of Holi by equating it to sexual harassment. Again #boycottbharatmatrimony started trending but as of now, the company has not recalled the ad. Several women too have shown their support for the ad particularly in light of the recent viral video of a Japanese tourist being forcibly coloured on Holi.
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Swiggy & Bharat Matrimony are neither the first nor likely to be the last in a long list of brands who have stoked controversies in India based on advertisements themed around festivals of a particular community. You can take a look at some of the other such controversial ads from Tanishq, Fab India, etc. in this Link

So what do you think - is it a marketing ploy of brands to get into the limelight by posting such controversial advertisements or do you think it is a well thought out attack on a particular community. Or perhaps, we, the people, have become less tolerant or more aware about the intention of brands behind such ads?

Let's discuss!

Edited by Armu4eva - 11 days ago
Posted: 18 days ago

Tagging some more friends smiley1

Posted: 18 days ago

Normally, controversial advertising captivates people's attention by exposing them to shocking content that prompts them to  engage with that advertisement, and consequential to that brand.

Making false claims about products or services, using fear tactics in ads, and discriminating against certain groups of people are immoral and unethical.  Unethical advertising has a negative impact on society and brand credibility, so it should be avoided.  

The potential of advertising to influence people's attitudes and emotions is largely responsible for how advertising affects people's buying priorities. An excellent advertisement eliminates any remaining doubts that a viewer may have about purchasing the advertised items. 

Of late, there has been a surge in the number of ‘angry’ and ‘hurt’ people in India, who have shown their discomfort at advertisements that they have found ‘offensive’. It has begged the question of, ‘Indians ko gussa kyun aata hai?‘ 

Advertisements, in particular, have been targeted because those were considered as ads against a religion/ caste/ tribe. Interestingly, these ads have tried to show the country in a ‘modern’, more ‘tolerant’ light, which has been resisted by a section of people that has even cried ‘boycott’!! 

Clothing brand Manyavar was also targeted this year, when an ad featuring actor Alia Bhatt questioned the concept of ‘kanyadaan‘ as something we should be doing in the modern age, asking why women are treated as objects to be given away. A pro-Hindu outfit had staged a protest outside one of the brand’s showrooms in Navi Mumbai against the advertisement, claiming that it hurt religious sentiments of the community. During the protest, the members held placards and shouted slogans against Manyavar’s company Vedant Fashions Ltd, calling for the boycott of the brand. 

Our recently posted Kanyadaan thread is still attracting members to share their valuable views on that age-old ritual. smiley1

Many advertisements have drawn criticism throughout the years. Nonetheless, the advertising business is essential for any nation to raise crores of rupees in the form of taxes for the government and raise the standard of goods since it makes consumers aware of the quality of products that are offered.

@Amrita, very good topic to discuss and share our views on this issue. smiley32

Posted: 18 days ago

Jab jobs na create karne par bhi logon ke dimaag ko bhatkna padta hai toh aisi fizul ki baaton mein bhi khatra dikhta hai.

Any world religion presently is old enough and flexible enough that it isn't threatened by a)prioritising women's rights b) treating other humans as equals. The idea of bunch of jobless, twenty-something incels defending a 4500 y/o religion is laughable if it weren't so rabidly fluelled by hatred.

Edited by Deltablues - 18 days ago
Posted: 18 days ago

Hoḷī has never been a part of my Hindu identity. I have never seen an actual Hoḷī or Raṅga-Pañcamī celebration in person, and I was almost forty years old before I glimpsed these fictional celebrations on TV. Needless to say, I am not offended by these ads.

When I read the story of Holikā as a child, I was told that yes, some people do make bonfires or smear colours on each other, but our family tradition is to stay away from undignified festivities. As our Marathi community in Canada grew over the years, we happened to attend a picnic where someone said, "Go after the walkers on the trail and tell them to come to the tables where lunch is spread. Or, since Hoḷī is almost here, you could put your fist to your mouth and hoot their names!" My parents were so embarrassed, they wouldn't even tell me what that was about.

I was also raised to believe that anna he pūrṇa brahma - food is entire divinity - and food fights are deplorable. Eggs are food - eaten openly by one side of my family and secretly by the other. Even those Hindus who would feel defiled saying the word "eggs," never mind looking at them, wouldn't want eggs to be destroyed for sport. So, Swiggy Instamart's message seems to me very Hindu in spirit.

Bharat Matrimony's ad doesn't tell me that the woman was given a black eye on the occasion of Raṅga-Pañcamī. Without seeing the caption about harassment during festivities (which is a real problem and deserves attention), my interpretation is that the ad is asking us to look past the festive colours and see the hidden bruises from daily life. Domestic abuse exists in every community, and Hindus have a responsibility to act like the majority and take the lead in raising awareness.

All of these "offensive" ads seem sensitive, inclusive, and positive to me. However, if someone actually wants to tell me how wrong my Hindu traditions and festivals are, please go right ahead. An attack on my beliefs is not an attack on me. My great-great-grandparents were social reformers, and so I take pride in my family tradition of evolving for the better.

Posted: 18 days ago
Originally posted by Viswasruti

Of late, there has been a surge in the number of ‘angry’ and ‘hurt’ people in India, who have shown their discomfort at advertisements that they have found ‘offensive’. It has begged the question of, ‘Indians ko gussa kyun aata hai?‘

You mean, it has prompted or raised the question.

"Begging the question" means "pretending there is no doubt." It's a logical fallacy of circular reasoning. You are not making that mistake when you ask a question.

Posted: 18 days ago

Out of the two ads by these huge companies centered around Holi theme,only one was opportunistic and not directly relevant to the brand they actually endorse - ad by Bharat Matrimony. But again they didn't actually do something immoral IMO. What they highlighted in the ad is reality. 

Most woman face harrasment during Holi. I've seen some horrible videos on my TL during the past two days Japanese woman being harrassed, a young girl is being forced to play Holi with her "Jija"(that was the worst and shows that harrasment during this festival is done by family members as well) and one video which had 2-3 women in burkhas were chased by people. 

I don't think it is wrong to point out the negatives of a festival. Age old traditions if they were wrong...we can question it and try to alter it. Be it any festival and not just Holi. I think that instead of being more open towards change, people are becoming less tolerant. Fear of boycott or protest should not discourage from raising their voice against anything that is not morally correct. So I will support Bharat Matrimony ad ...not coz it is directly related to their brand but coz they are trying to spread awareness. 

Coming to Swiggy... I don't understand why people are even offended! Eggs wastage on the day of Holi is a big issue. Not to mention if they are throwing it on people who do not consume is hurtful. Tabhi Hindu ko dukh ya Hindu khatre mein nahi hota?

Edited by CottonWorld - 18 days ago
Posted: 18 days ago

Originally posted by BrhannadaArmour

You mean, it has prompted or raised the question.

"Begging the question" means "pretending there is no doubt." It's a logical fallacy of circular reasoning. You are not making that mistake when you ask a question.

  You've brought up a really very good point.

Yes, that is one of the many meanings behind that expression.  'Beg' suggests earnestness or insistence in the asking.

If we want to express our opinion on something  strongly, or with great emotion, we normally say it that way. 

Absolutely, we use that, either by acting as if there is no doubt or by insisting that the question is appropriate for the situation. The purpose of using that is to show the approval. It must be referred to as a factual fallacy.

It's crucial for the reasoning supporting our argument to make sense and have significance when we're trying to establish a point. It's crucial to properly comprehend logical fallacies because if we commit one, it can weaken our case and leave us with little to support our argument.

When people assume that correlation equates to causation, they are engaging in a factual fallacy. Correlations may result from chance events or other factors. They don't necessarily imply that something is causing another directly. In spite of the fact that this argument may appear simple to recognise in theory, proving it in practice might be difficult.

The Fallacy, roughly, involves drawing conclusions about human psychology that improperly ignore the large background of mostly accurate factual beliefs people hold. The Factual Belief Fallacy has led to significant mistakes in both philosophy of mind and cognitive science of psychology.

The fallacy of circular argument, known as petitio principii (“begging the question”), occurs when the premises presume, openly or covertly, the very conclusion that is to be demonstrated. 

The fallacy of begging the question occurs when an argument's premises presuppose the validity of the conclusion rather than providing evidence for it.

Edited by Viswasruti - 18 days ago

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