The Information and Broadcasting Ministry halted the contentious advertising for Layer’r ‘Shot’ deodorant on Saturday, pending an inquiry. The move was taken in response to many complaints that the commercials ‘encourage rape culture.’ The government has also ordered that adverts on YouTube and Twitter be removed.
Kshitij Aggarwal, Assistant Director (Digital Media) at the I&B ministry, stated in his note to the platforms that the videos were detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency or morality, and were in violation of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.
The disputed ads
One of the deodorant company’s adverts depicts four men at a store seeing a solitary remaining bottle on the shelf. A girl is observed shopping in the same aisle. The men are then heard stating, ‘Who will take the last shot?’ The camera is now focusing on the girl rather than the product.
A second commercial, allegedly made by advertising agency Triton Communications, depicted a bunch of young males storming into a room where another man and lady were already present. Thus, the discourse between the two parties is loaded with sexual innuendos.
The two commercials sparked uproar on social media, with many calling them nasty and repulsive. Users also encouraged the regulating body Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to take immediate action against the business since the commercials violated the ASCI Code.
What incredibly tasteless and twisted minds it must take to think up, approve and create these stinking body spray ‘gang rape’ innuendo ads..!! Shameful.
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) June 4, 2022
Earlier in the day, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur received a letter from the Delhi Commission for Women demanding that the ‘misogynistic’ advertising be removed from the air. The panel stated that the advertising ‘supported gang-rape culture,’ and it also issued a notice to the Delhi Police.
DCW Director Swati Maliwal stated that in order to ensure that such ‘filthy’ commercials that encourage rape culture are never shown again, the Centre must implement rigorous procedures. This will assure certain checks and balances. The DCW also demanded harsh sanctions against the perfume company in order to deter future corporations from engaging in such ‘dirty techniques for cheap publicity.’