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Patanjali drops an ad accused of racism

In an ad published in Deccan Chronicle, Patanjali had claimed that its beauty cream heals skin ailments such as dark complexion. Baba Ramdev clarified on Tuesday that the copy was lost in translation as the original creative was in Hindi

After coming under fire for releasing a racist advertisement for its beauty cream, Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved has decided to retract the creative.

The print ad claiming that the daily use of beauty cream will cure skin ailments such as dark complexion led to an outcry on social media. The digital version of the ad is also being pulled.


In an advertisement that was recently published in Deccan Chronicle, the company had mentioned dry skin, dark complexion and wrinkles as skin ailments.

The ad drew criticism from all quarters.


Sameer Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment had pointed out in a tweet ‘Despite the criticism last time, these clowns continue to refer to dark complexion as a 'skin ailment'. Not sure who the creative or release agency is so can't tag them.’

Paritosh Joshi, an industry observer also tweeted saying that if the advertisement is not seen fit, complaints should be registered with Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).


However, the company claims that the copy was originally written in Hindi and the mistake isn't intentional but a translation error. The original Hindi advertisement of the company doesn’t mention dark/ fair skin, it just mentions ‘skin complexion’ as one of the skin ailments.

Baba Ramdev took to Twitter to clarify that the meaning of copy got changed while translating from Hindi to English.


"हमने Skin Complications (त्वचा के विकार), शब्द approve किया था जो translation/copy-writing में ग़लती से बदल गया। मैंने कभी रंग-भेद की बात नहीं की और हमेशा क़ुदरती सौंदर्य को निखारने के आयुर्वेदिक उपाय बताये हैं। कुछ लोग एक शब्द को पकड़ कर विवाद पैदा करने का प्रयास कर रहे हैं," Ramdev said in a tweet.

SK Tijarawala, Spokesperson, Patanjali Ayurved mentioned in his reply to this tweet, “It's just a translation error from the Hindi ad on the same product. The Hindi ad has no mention of the dark complexion.”

Patanjali Spokesperson SK Tijarawala told BestMediaInfo that the ad is retracted and will be replaced with fresh copies.

“We will replace the ads with new copies. The message was lost in translation. We meant that any variance in the natural colour of skin can be treated with this product. The Hindi advertisement clearly mentions that we don’t discriminate on the basis of color. It also states that the products can not make your skin fair or dark," Tijarawala said.

He further explained what did the ad mean by ‘skin ailments like skin complexion,’ “Whenever the natural colour of skin gets affected because of some melanin issues or pigmentation or sunburn/ iceburn issues, that can be healed by our products.”

While the earlier ads by Patanjali have mentioned skin tones and fairness, the company has received enough flak for that. This time around though, the company is ready to correct its doing before anyone takes a complaint to the standards council.

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