Not Fair And Lovely: A Look At Sexist Ads

Gender Roles Vintage Ads

Danish fashion brand, Jack and Jones, is the subject of social media wrath after it put up billboards reading ‘Take Your Work Home’ with an image of actor Ranveer Singh, carrying a girl on his back.

The brand has since apologised for the ad, and will take down all the billboards depicting the sexist image.

Sexist ads aren’t uncommon in our country. For every ad which tries to promote women’s empowerment, there is another which perpetuates gender stereotypes.

Here’s a look at 7 campaigns which are quite outrageous in their messaging:

1. Ola’s ‘Girlfriend’ Ad 

Ola had to pull down this ad after Twitterati expressed its wrath over it. The ad shows an indulgent man who buys anything his girlfriend asks. It ends with the man turning to the camera and saying that his girlfriend runs at Rs 525 a km, while an Ola Micro only costs him Rs 6 per km.

Ola subsequently issued this clarification:

What do you think? Is this apology enough?

2. Ford India’s Figo Ad

This ad showed caricatures of scantily clad women with their hands and feet bound. The driver’s seat depicts a caricature of former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, who is looking back and grinning.

Ford India Ad

Source: Economic Times

The company responded by apologising and saying that the creatives were not supposed to have been published. They even fired the employees who were responsible for creating the campaign.

3. Clean and Dry Intimate Wash

This ad is perhaps the most outrageous one that Indian consumers have seen. It advertises a product that is meant to ‘lighten’ a woman’s private parts so that she can keep her man happy.

4. Nivea’s deodorant ad

The ad features actress Anushka Sharma, finally ‘daring to wear sleeveless’ because Nivea has made her underarms fair and attractive. And this is just one of the many fairness ads the country produces!

Anushka Sharma Nivea ad

Source: Youtube

5. Lotus Oil

Lotus Oil shows a newly-wed woman trying to impress the household with her cooking skills. She is very nervous and gets disparaging looks from her mother-in-law, while cooking. When she finally serves the food, she shyly asks the patriarch of the family how it was. Luckily, the food is delicious, all thanks to Lotus Oil of course, and the woman is able to cement her position in the family.

Watch it here:

6. The 18 Again Ad

The ad, which was created by Ultratech India, promotes vaginal tightening cream, 18 Again. It shows a woman singing about how using the cream has made her feel like a virgin again. Her husband, who is dancing along with her, could not be more overjoyed.

7. Nando’s Chicken Ad

The print ad reads “We don’t mind if you touch our buns, or breasts, or even our thighs. Whatever you’re into, enjoying any Nando’s meal with your hands is always recommended.”

If you don’t think through your ads, social media will not be your friend:

Nando’s quickly issued an apology following the scandal.

Also Read: Sexist Ads: What were you even thinking, Nando’s?

Ads sell product by showing us how certain goods can improve our lives, and help us reach our aspirations. And in doing so, they reflect our everyday lives and dreams. But are companies being responsible if their advertisements reflect the patriarchal and backward norms in our society?  With their widespread reach, shouldn’t advertisements shoulder some of the responsibility of trying to showcase and perpetuate the modern and forward moving attitudes and aspirations of millions in our fast changing country?

Also Read: Respect women in advertising dammit: Love Vir Das’ new commercial

This Ola Advert: Hyper sexism or a reality called life?