Amul is at the receiving hand of hordes of its customers after it made live its digital ad which is being pronounced as ‘biased’ towards genders.
daCunha Communications, which makes outdoor ads for Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation’s (GCMMF’s) Amul brand, is under flak on social media for creating a digital film that many consider sexist and regressive.
On September 19, Amul launched its fifth digital film on the theme “Har Ghar Amul Ghar”. Ever since the film went live, it has attracted the ire of consumers and the marketing fraternity. GCMMF has denied allegations of the film promoting gender bias. Sanjay Tripathy, senior executive vice president and head of marketing, product, analytics, digital and ecommerce at HDFC Life, tagged Jayen Mehta, general manager for planning and marketing at GCMMF, on Facebook and wrote: “Stop this ad.”
On YouTube, a viewer wrote: “Continuing its proud tradition of no bullshit social commentary, Amul side steps political correctness and gives invaluable parenting advice by answering the ageold question, ‘What to do if your wife accidentally gives birth to a girl?'” The film opens with a little girl decorating a room with dolls and she places a Barbie doll and Winnie-the-Pooh soft toy inside a baby cot. Enters the father with a newborn baby. He places the baby in the crib and replaces the Winnie and the Barbie with a Spiderman toy saying, “Bhai isse thodi na khelega?” and places more superhero toys. And thus begins the narration of a stereotypical antiquated outlook.
The father talks to the little girl who seems visibly upset as her efforts to greet the baby went futile. “Aap naraz ho (are you angry)?” asks the father. “Aap ne to kaha tha aapko ek baby girl chahiye (you had said you wanted a baby girl),” says the girl, to which the father says, “Wahan pe saare girl child khatam ho gaye the. Is liye isko leke ana para (all the baby girls were over. So, had to bring him).” Finally, when the girl says that she is disappointed as her baby brother won’t be playing with her “dolls”, the father starts teaching her to play cricket so that she can play with her brother.
“In this day and age, who writes an advertising film that says ‘dolls are for girls and cricket is for boys’? The saddest part is Amul has made it into a digital film which attracts the most evolved set of consumers,” said the creative head of an advertising agency who didn’t wish to be named. “It is an extremely irresponsible ad, especially when we are trying to bury age-old taboos and create a progressive India.” Rahul da Cunha, owner of daCunha Communications, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. RS Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF, called it “a nice film”.
“It is basically a story about the relationship between a brother and a sister and we are not promoting any gender bias. This is a slice of life film which happens in every home. There are always some people who will like it and some who won’t,” Sodhi said.
Prasad Challapalli, senior VP and head of iContract (part of Contract Advertising), wrote on Facebook: “The father rebuking the girl in the beginning was totally unnecessary. And insensitive in today’s day and age of #BoyBrowsing -when girls get to decide what they want to do. End of the day, it does nothing for the brand except generate backlash.”