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  Entertainment   In Other News  25 Nov 2016  What were they thinking?

What were they thinking?

THE ASIAN AGE. | AARTI BHANUSHALI
Published : Nov 25, 2016, 12:08 am IST
Updated : Nov 25, 2016, 7:04 am IST

Everyone in the team is equally responsible for the debacle - the agency, the brand, and the celebrity, says Rajiv Rao

A fashion brand issued an apology after it’s ‘sexist’ hoardings were splashed across the city.
 A fashion brand issued an apology after it’s ‘sexist’ hoardings were splashed across the city.

Earlier this week, Mumbai woke up to hoardings of an apparel brand, starring Ranveer Singh, with a rather curious message. The large ads splashed all across the city show Ranveer, the brand ambassador for Jack and Jones, a Danish fashion brand, hoisting a lady across his shoulder, as a lift operator looks on. The cheery look on the faces of all three is accompanied with the caption ‘Don’t hold back. Take your work home.’ The company duly apologised and took down the ads — albeit slowly — but not before the furore had taken over social media. “We didn’t intend to offend anyone with one of our billboards. #NOTHOLDINGBACK and withdrawing it immediately,” the brand’s official handle tweeted.

Actor Siddharth (of Rang De Basanti fame) took to Twitter to vocally decry the ad, and said, “A new low for women’s rights in the workplace in India. What were they thinking? #Fail (sic.)” His tweet was retweeted over 1,000 times, and also saw multiple users complain to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

“The advertisement is downright cheap, degrading, demeaning and backward,” asserts Rajiv Rao, national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather, and the brains behind Vodafone’s ZooZoo campaign. “Everyone in the team is equally responsible for the debacle — the agency, the brand, and the celebrity. It’s very surprising that something as glaringly offensive as this was passed.”

Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee agrees with Rajiv when she says  that the onus lies on the content creators to avoid such regressive advertisements. “I don’t understand how even after so much outrage content creators come up with repulsive concepts. It’s very irresponsible on the brands part to promote such blatant sexism and this won’t be stopped till we keep voicing our thoughts strongly. The content creators’ thought here reeks of patriarchy; such thoughts are so ingrained in them since childhood that they fail to see what they are promoting. We should keep fighting and keep raising our voices till this is finally stopped,” she says.

Rajiv believes that despite the outrage against Ranveer, this ad could have irreparably damaged the image of Jack and Jones as a brand. “The brand has ruined its image, and I’m sure people don’t have respect for it anymore. It’s not a mass brand, but a premium one. It’s a huge disappointment that they started a campaign on such a bad note,” he signs off.

Tags: ranveer singh, twitter, jack and jones, ad agency