New Delhi: "Holi ke din dil khil jaate hain, rangon mein rang mil jaate hain gile shikwe bhool ke doston, dushman bhi gale mil jaate hai (As the colours blend with each other, on the day of Holi everybody is happy. As the colours blend with each other, even enemies keep aside their differences and hug each other)", so goes the lyrics of one of the most iconic Hindi songs that celebrates the festival by acknowledging its spirit of togetherness.
Detergent brand Surf Excel, known for its heart-warming advertisements, recently tried to do something similar with its latest Holi special (colours that bring us together) campaign. Under this campaign, the brand released an advertisement created around the Hindu-Muslim unity theme and instantly faced flak for the concept.
The one-minute-long ad features a young Hindu girl, dressed in a white t-shirt, who chooses to get stained in Holi colours in order to protect her young Muslim friend who has to go to the nearby mosque to pray.
The advertisement ends with its classic tagline: "Daag acche hain. Agar kuch achha karne mein daag lag jaaye toh daag achhe hain. (Stains that come as a part of a good deed are good stains)."
To the Bhakts. You have no idea how much Surf your outrage helped sell....congrats Youre practically the new brand ambassadors.— Vir Das (@thevirdas) March 11, 2019
I have a better suggestion. Bhakts should be washed properly with Surf Excel. Kyunki Surf ki dhulai daag ko karain saaf. https://t.co/YiYrW4AM2j— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 10, 2019
This is not the first time Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has faced flack for the plot line of their advertisement. Earlier this year, HUL Kumbh Mela advertisement had irked several Twitter users.
In the ad, a son contemplates abandoning his aged father in the crowd, but soon realises his mistake and comes back to him. Soon after the ad was shared on the HUL Twitter handle, people objected to it by saying it hurt sentiments of Hindus and portrayed the festival in a wrong light.