A recent advertisement promoting the Layer’r Shot perfume brand caused an outcry for being “misogynistic and promoting rape culture”. Even after the brand issued a public apology for running the ads, people have not stopped targeting the brand because according to netizens, a simple apology cannot undo the damage they have caused and it requires a strong action.
The announcement had created such an outcry that it even caused the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to react. The ministry had issued a notice to remove the ads from all digital platforms days after it went live.
However, this may not be enough to set a precedent, according to the advertising industry. Therefore, BestMediaInfo.com reached out to experts to get their views and opinions on the harm caused by ads, a just punishment for the same, and also the way forward for the industry as a whole to get better. ensure that such “mistakes” do not occur. will happen again.
Ritu Sharda, Creative Director at Ogilvy, said: “The brand should be penalized in the harshest way. Not just by removing the ad, but by holding every stakeholder accountable. This is not a joke. It is a serious offence. We have to make an example. The severity of the punishment is my only hope.
According to Pallavi Chakravarti, Creative Head, West, DDB Mudra Group, when an abomination like the Layer Shot campaign is created, it shows us that no one in any of these functions thought there was anything wrong with it. “Or if they did, they didn’t raise enough stench to keep it from seeing the light of day.”
“So taking the ads off the air is really the least anyone can do in a situation like this. I can go on and on about the appropriate penalties, but the truth is, what will accomplish? For example, I may believe that the public flogging of all parties involved is an appropriate punishment – but that’s not going to happen, is it? There’s no law for that sort of thing” , said Chakravarti.
“What we really need to take away from this episode is to understand how deeply misogyny runs in our country. It wasn’t an autowallah and his cronies who did this, so we can’t sit back and wisely sneer and laugh at “these people” and how they treat women. “These people” are often uneducated and may have seen women being treated like second-hand citizens in and around their own homes, throughout their lives. This, however, has been perpetrated by educated people, wealthy people, people in air-conditioned conference rooms ordering decaf and discussing how the war affects their stocks. Now, that going to minister about it?” she asked.
Several other experts have also suggested stiff penalties, ranging from hefty fines to temporarily suspending the product for a quarter of a fiscal year.
“The very fact that the social media furor forced the client to take the ad down within 24 hours must mean something. Especially to the client, the agency and the production house who thought they could get away with it. creating something so repulsive. I’m not entirely sure how such incidents can be avoided in the future (unless we suggest more regulation, which in itself is not a good solution), but we can hope that all customers and their partners will have their hearts and minds in the right place and understand that without a functioning human core within them, their brands cannot hope to survive. their own interest in being better human beings before being better communicators,” said Vistasp Hodiwala, co-founder and chief creative officer at Underdog Communications.
“The action requires some thought and deliberation from cool minds in the industry rather than a knee-jerk reaction. I believe, however, that while there are no financial consequences to such acts, the message won’t pass as well as it should. Perhaps a temporary suspension of the product for a financial quarter would be a good start,” he added.
Akshneel Dasgupta, Creative Director at Network Advertising, said, “Many brands think all advertising is good advertising, as long as you know that’s what they would have wanted. However, you cannot operate at this level. It shouldn’t be given up so easily. I think legal action should be taken and it should affect the brand.
He further added that there can be no debate about whether the publicity is good or bad, as in the uproar against brands like Tanishq. “There’s a difference between being bold and being sleazy,” Dasgupta said.
The advertising industry must speak out
Some other executives believe the Shot ad is the result of the ad industry not being bold enough to speak out.
Soumitra Karnik, an independent creative consultant, said, “I don’t think the advertising industry has taken a big hit for past incidents like Tanishq. It was a nice announcement, but no one defended it against outrage. There is no doubt that this is a rude advertisement (Layer’r Shot ad), so there should be unanimous opposition against it. While ASCI has taken a brilliant position, what about industry leaders? I don’t see them taking a position on anything.
“There must be at least 20 people associated with the announcement. Does anyone find this offensive? So either they are all on board and that is their mindset and it should be an even more worrying situation. However , another situation is what would happen if no one spoke out for fear of losing their job?” he further explained.
Karnik further suggested that Layer’r shot’s ad budget should be used for gender-positive portrayal to repair the damage done by the ads. “It will be like community service; the goal is not punishment but the reformation of the offender. People should understand the repercussions of such actions,” Karnik said.
Azazul Haque, Content Director at Media. Monks, added: “The brand got attention, everyone is talking about it and I actually think they did it by design. I don’t think they were unaware of its impact and wanted to create controversy. I have come across such clients and brand owners in the past who want to create something controversial. This behavior should not be encouraged, a precedent should be set. I think the best agencies should also oppose it and put in place mandates so that the people behind it don’t get hired easily. These strict measures must be taken. It is not a question of boycotting a brand but rather of creating a precedent.