Outrage over ads is not new. For years, consumers have been complaining about ads for undergarments and condoms, saying they are very embarrassed to watch these with their families. But the nature of complaints and complainants has changed.
Of late, there have been several ads that have invited the ire of some consumers and consumer groups. Many famous and obscure brands find themselves trending on social media for the wrong reasons.
ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) is no stranger to “controversial” ads. Invariably they land up at our doorstep in the form of consumer complaints. For years, consumers have been complaining about ads for undergarments and condoms, saying they are very embarrassed to watch these with their families. And that such depictions are against Indian culture. Unless such depictions are explicit, and cross a line beyond being merely suggestive, one cannot put unreasonable restrictions on their right to advertise as long as they are compliant with applicable laws.
However, in recent times the nature of complaints seems to be changing. The nature of complainants seems to be changing too. The tone of complaints is more strident and punitive action is demanded instantaneously; and these expectations are quickly amplified and escalated by social media.