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India’s ad watchdog suspends local deo ad over rape undertone

India – The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has announced the suspension of ads launched by deodorant brand Layer’r Shot due to the ad’s nature of promoting rape culture and sexism against women.

The ad, which has since been taken down across the brand’s official social media channels, depicts a woman shopping when a group of four men begin to say “We’re four, and there’s only one” while keeping a glance at the woman. Later on in the ad, it pointed out that the phrase was meant to pertain to the single Shot deodorant on the shelf.

Following the release of the ad, netizens have called out the ad for its ‘sexist and derogatory’ themes that undermines issues women face with rape culture and an unbalanced society that still favours men.

In a statement by ASCI, they noted that the ads are in serious violation of Chapter II of the ASCI Code against offensive advertising.

“The said ad is 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,” the association said in a statement.

It also informed the brand’s advertiser on 3 June, informing them of the decision to suspend the advertising, and invited the advertiser’s response which would be tabled before the Consumer Complaints Council in the coming days.

Meanwhile, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also stated that the ad has been pulled off from official Twitter and YouTube channels, as well as being taken down from the TV station it aired.

Following the backlash, Layer’r Shot released a statement, stating, “We, the brand Layer’r SHOT would like to inform one and all that only after due and mandatory approvals, we have aired the advertisements, wherein, we never intended to hurt anyone’s sentiments or feelings or outrage any women’s modesty or promote any sort of culture, as wrongly perceived by some.”