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Banned Indian ads

Banned Indian ads

If there was a hotness quotient for advertising, most Indian ads would at best rate as tepid. But then, for the authorities even the tepid occassionally gets unbearably hot and the cold water follows soon. We take a look back at the ads that were deemed unfit for public consumption.

The most notorious ad that still remains embedded in the consciousness of the ad-aware Indian is that of a nude Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre along with a python for company.

The campaign with the two models attired only in Tuffs Shoes rubbed many the wrong way, and for the ones growing up in the 1990s - an eye opener.

In the same not-so-innocent 1990s Pooja Bedi played a hot game of chess and had a steamy shower with Marc Robinson while Viveka Babajee and Inder Sudan went wild under a waterfall, all to sell condoms appropriately branded - Kamasutra. This made Pooja Bedi a household name and was perhaps Viveka Babajee's solitary claim to fame

The ads created quite a furore - questions were asked in the Parliament, banned on Doordarshan and complaints sent to the Advertising Standards Council of India

The October 1991 issue of Debonair magazine sold out in a matter of days. The reason, the issue carried ads, featuring Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson, for the just-launched Kamasutra Condoms.

In a 2008 directive to the television channels, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had prohibited the "transmission or re-transmission" of the "vulgar" Lux Cozy advertisement.

The "lucky" scantily clad man in the ad - Lux Cozy has the tagline Apna Luck Pehen Ke Chalo - is ogled at and gets a peck on the cheek by a grateful female for "finding" her lost dog.

This was not the first time that the Ministry was up in arms against advertisements that it found incongruous with the standards of decency and propriety.

Lux Cozy was also in the news in July 2007 when the I&B Ministry had issued orders banning it ad along with the much discussed Amul Macho Yeh to bada twaing hain ad. A few months earlier, in April 2007, orders were issued against the broadcasting of Gen-X undergarments

Back in 1998, when Bipasha Basu was still a model and Dino Morea used to be her boyfriend, the two got cozy for an ad for Swiss underwear brand Calida. The image of Dino tugging Bipasha's panty with his teeth was too hot to handle for the then Minister of State for Cultural Affairs, Anil Deshmukh. The caption accompanying the saucy pictures read, "And you thought your appetite for indulgence could only be whetted by Swiss chocolates".

An ad for VIP Frenchie X underwear showing a girl entering a room to find a young man in his underwear was also deemed obscene.

The complaint registered with the ASCI reads, "Visuals of 'a woman sensually and orally enjoying the flavours of fruits.' are obscene and vulgar"

In the ad a man takes a sip of his drink and looks at an attractive woman on the other side of the room, and her neckline gets lower and diminishes with every sip.

As he sips for the kill, he finds his shirt open. The woman is also playing the same game. The tagline says, Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai (Anything is possible). The TVC was subsequently taken off air.

Malaika Arora had met future husband Arbaaz Khan while both were shooting for an ad for MR Coffee. The ad, due to its sexual overtones, generated quite a controversy. Even Amul came up with a parody ad around it.

There exist stringent directives for advertisers to keep in mind before they release an ad for public consumption.

The Programme Code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, prohibits "carriage of programmes in cable service, which offend good taste or decency; contain anything vulgar/obscene and are not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition."

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory voluntary organisation of the advertising industry, also has a code in place that asks advertisers "To ensure that advertisements are not offensive to generally accepted standards of public decency. Advertisements should contain nothing indecent, vulgar or repulsive which is likely, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave or widespread offence."

In more liberal societies, advertisers have it a little easier, but glancing through the history of Indian advertising it is obvious that Indian advertisers do not shy away from adding some oomph to their copies.

Though government orders can put such "offending" ads off-air, they remain a big hit on the Internet. And banning them only adds to their aura on the relatively unregulated Wild Wild Web


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