Campaign India Team
Jun 5, 2022

India's ad watchdog suspends deodorant ads for promoting rape culture

The ads potentially violate the Advertising Standards Council of India's chapter II, which states that advertisements should contain nothing indecent, vulgar, especially in the depiction of women.

India's ad watchdog suspends deodorant ads for promoting rape culture
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has invoked a special process called ‘suspended pending investigation’ (SPI) to suspend the ads aired by Layer’r Shot, a deodorant brand owned by Adjavis Venture. 
The brand has been accused of promoting rape culture through its two films which were being aired on Sony Liv during the first Test match between England and New Zealand. 
Of the two 15-seconds each ad, one showed four men speaking to each other at a store. The men speak about who will take the ‘Shot’ as there are four of them and only one shot. The woman in front of them assumes that the conversation is about her. In fear, she turns around to look at them. She then catches them staring at the last bottle of Shot’s deodorant on the rack. 
The other ad shows a group of men entering the room, where one of their friends is seated with his girlfriend. The men ask his friend if he’s taken the shot, to which he says yes. His partner is startled by his response, as she finds the conversation an implication about receiving sexual favours from her. As the men state that it’s now their turn and walk near her, she twitches in the bed, while they go ahead to grab the bottle of Layer’r Shot. 
The said ads are in potential violation of ASCI’s chapter II, which states that advertisements should contain nothing indecent, vulgar, especially in the depiction of women, or nothing repulsive which is likely, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave and widespread offence. 
In a statement issued by ASCI, the body stated that in most cases, it provides an opportunity for the advertiser to put forth their arguments before a recommendation is provided on the ad. 
The statement read, “In exceptional circumstances, when it appears prima facie that an advertisement is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and its continued transmission can cause public harm or its continuation is against public interest, then ASCI would, pending investigation direct the advertiser / the advertising agency / the media buying agency and the media concerned to suspend the advertisement. 
Swati Maliwal, chairperson of the Delhi Commission For Women (DCW), tweeted on Saturday that the advertisements reflected ‘toxic masculinity in its worst form’ and that she had taken up the matter with the Delhi Police and Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.
The I&B Ministry too, has ordered YouTube and Twitter to take down the brands ads, on grounds of promoting rape culture. ASCI has also confirmed that the channel that originally aired the ad has already pulled it down. 
Other members of the Twitterati called the ads cringe-worthy, derogatory, unsafe for women and demanded that the creators of the ad be fired. 
Although several body spray brands like Axe and Wild Stone have been infamous and slammed for objectifying women through their ads, Layer’r Shot’s ads have been accused of crossing every line when it comes to glorification of the rape culture.   
Campaign India

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