The I&B Ministry on Saturday asked Twitter and YouTube to remove demeaning ads of perfume brand Shot from their platforms. In a letter written to both the platforms, the ministry said the videos were detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency or morality.
In letters to Twitter and YouTube, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that the videos were "detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency and morality" and in violation of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code).
The videos of the Layer Shot perfume brand sparked outrage among a large section of social media users, who claimed the advertisement sought to promote sexual violence against women.
"It has come to the notice of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting that an inappropriate and derogatory advertisement of a deodorant is circulating on social media. The Ministry has asked Twitter and YouTube to immediately pull down all instances of this advertisement," an official spokesperson said.
The ministry, in the letters to Twitter and YouTube, said that the Advertisement Standards Council of India (ASCI) too has found the videos in violation of its guidelines and asked the advertiser to suspend the advertisement on an immediate basis.
Watch the ad in question:
Can't find the ad online but here it is, apparently being played during the match. I didn't see it till @hitchwriter showed it to me— Permanently Exhausted Pigeon (@monikamanchanda) June 3, 2022
Who are the people making these ads really? pic.twitter.com/zhXEaMqR3Q
Here is another distasteful ad from Shot:
One more https://t.co/6oYQkv49QN— Rishita (@RishitaPrusty_) June 3, 2022
ASCI said that it immediately invoked a special process called “Suspended Pending Investigation” (SPI).
In most cases, ASCI provides an opportunity for the advertiser to put forth their arguments before a recommendation is provided on the ad. However, in exceptional circumstances, when it appears prima facie that an advertisement is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and its continued transmission can cause public harm or its continuation is against public interest, then ASCI would, pending investigation direct the advertiser / the advertising agency / the media buying agency and the media concerned to suspend the advertisement.
The Consumer Complaints Council shall adjudicate whether or not the advertisement is in breach of the Code and pass appropriate order accordingly, after giving a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the advertiser whose advertisement has been suspended.
The said ad is in potential violation of ASCI’s chapter II, which states that advertisements should contain nothing indecent, vulgar, especially in the depiction of women, or nothing repulsive which is likely, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave and widespread offence.
In this specific case, ASCI wrote to the advertiser on June 3rd, informing them of the decision to suspend the advertising, and invited the advertiser’s response which would be tabled before the Consumer Complaints Council in the coming days.
ASCI later received confirmation that the channel that originally aired the ad has already pulled it down. ASCI also notes that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has intervened to ensure that the ad is also pulled down from social media channels.