Parody of old Sunsilk ad stirs mini Islamophobia storm

A short clip, taken out of context from a humorous hijab ad, causes a minor uproar.

A video of a woman rubbing shampoo on top of her headscarf would not be a wise move for a respectable brand trying to reach Muslim consumers.

When a 14-second clip above depicting such a scene surfaced on social media earlier this week, it triggered a flurrly of criticism on Twitter and 9gag.

Some commenters apparently took the clip (above) as evidence of religious extremism controlling advertising standards in Malaysia, where the clip originated.  Others took the opportunity to level criticisms and even outright hate speech at Islam itself, followed by condemnation of those comments, and so on. 

It turned out that while the clip is from an ad, it's not from an ad about shampoo. It's taken from a comedic video promoting a local hijab brand called Escarves (the full video is below). However—and perhaps this is where the confusion came from—the Escarves video is a parody of a 2006 Sunsilk ad centred on a woman who wears a hijab.

Sunsilk, by the way, has included hijab-wearing women in its campaigns for many years, both for the now discontinued Clean & Fresh line, launched in 2004, and for its Sunsilk Hijab Recharge line launched last year. 

Local humour site Cilisos was seemingly the first to confirm that a digital production house, Mr The All Shared Production, made the Escarves video.

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Anis Syuhada, spokesperson from the production house, said its client, Escarves, is pleased with the publicity, although the controversy was unintended and unexpected.  

"The parody is just to poke fun at a very popular shampoo ad years ago. We want to show that the headscarf is so comfortable that it feels like you have come out from a hair wash every time you put it on," said Anis. Besides Escarves, Mr The All Shared Production has been involved in the production of humour and sarcasm-laced videos for several local SME brands targeting the Malay Muslim community in Malaysia. 
 
Escarves apparently has a penchant for living a bit dangerously; it also named its new hijab collection "Pucci" in reference to the Italian fashon designer Emilio Pucci.

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