It’s that time of the year folks! No, no. I’m not talking about Ganesh Chathurthi, but the time when netizens take up the job of critiquing big brands.
This time around, the focus is on Hindustan Unilever’s Brooke Bond Red Label Tea that has released its latest advertisement keeping with the theme of Ganesh Chathurthi.
The narrative follows a Hindu man entering an idol shop in search of a Ganesha idol. However on realising that the idols are made by a Muslim man, he takes a step back, startled. The ad ends with the two men reconciling and bonding over a cup of the brand’s tea.
You can watch the ad here:
Twitterati is furious with the brand, as they believe it is promoting Islamophobia and is casting Hindus in a bad light. Some are put off by the dramatic way in which the Hindu man is shown to react. Some even think that ads must steer clear of religion.
The hashtag #BoycottRedLabel has been trending on Twitter. Netizens want the makers of the ad to remove it from all streaming platforms, as well as to apologise for hurting people’s religious sentiments.
There are a lot of accusations including ones which state that this is part of a ‘Secular Theory’ of conspiracy against one particular religion only. One user believes that it is a form of ‘pseudo-secularism.’ Another user is disappointed that the ad depicts a Muslim man as being more knowledgeable in Hinduism than a Hindu man.
Here are some of the tweets:
#BoycottRedLabel Who insult Hindus, Ganesh Chaturthi on Hindu Festival, Who teach fake secularism to hindus through advertisement. @KiranKS @Unilever @TVMohandasPai @mechirubhat @ShefVaidya @HinduJagrutiOrg pic.twitter.com/yB1EZWkbwD
— Mohan Gowda (@HJS_Mohan) September 1, 2019
Time to unite..
Need to expose these antihindu agendas…
— Vishwanath Kulkarni (@vishwanathkul) September 1, 2019
Wtf is wrong with @HUL_News ??? Why squeez propaganda into every Hindu festival??
Do u dare to do same in Muzlim or Xtain festivals???
These ad makers surely surely PEACEFULS who r trying to spread propaganda
— Srikanth (@srikanthbjp_) September 1, 2019
On the other hand, other Twitter users say that this is not something that Indians need to worry about, and that there are way bigger issues to focus on. There are even a few who are making fun of the agitated group by saying how much they love the brand’s tea.
Felt shocked after knowing about #BoycottRedLabel but actually after watching the ad I came to realise that there is no Appesing of minority or majority communities.. The ad is inspired by a true story . Stop! Spreading rumors. #RedLabelChai pic.twitter.com/fppcJyS8oC
— sundhar reddy (@SundharReddy_) September 1, 2019
— Aayushi (@Aayushipatil01) September 1, 2019
— Patel Vinay (@vnayptl) September 1, 2019
Some consider this to be a top-notch promotion exhibited by the company, as within minutes of the ad’s release, Red Label has been trending all over the internet.
As someone from the stream of Arts, I am trained to look at this (or for that matter, any ad) from an artistic point of view. On first viewing, my mind was inadvertently appreciating the efforts taken by the creators of the ad.
Not only did they portray a true story, they even did that in a manner that promoted communal harmony. There wasn’t even an iota of apprehension in my mind until I saw the traffic online.
That for sure got me thinking. Although I strongly believe that the #BoycottRedLabel is a classic example of a making a mountain out of a mole, now I am not able to watch the ad without thinking about an apparent insensitive marketing strategy behind it.
Perhaps we humans do tend to blow things unnecessarily out of proportion. In the end, all I’m wondering is whether this is just a matter of perception? Well, Twitterati might have an answer for that too.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.
Find The Blogger @NandanaNair19