The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting took some time realizing the raunchiness of deodorant adverts on TV. A trend that was globally started by AXE deodorant sprays, with their USP of making adverts that deodorants seduce women, has now been aped quite unabashedly by every deodorant manufacturer. It’s surprising that they don’t seem to find any other USP the sex appeal. The semi-pornographic ads do seem over the top given the conservative Indian advertising standards (many global AXE ads have never been telecast in India, but are easily available on YouTube).
It’s also curious to know the standard and criterion for adjudging an ad unsuitable for TV. The AXE chocolateman advert was immediately taken off because it showed a woman eating a piece of chocolateman’s butt! On the other hand, an AXE ad with hundreds (if not thousands) of bikini-clad women chasing an isolated man on island got a clean chit. I think the animated chocolateman was pretty cute even for kids, while the other ad did tickle your libido.
While AXE ads have interesting & creative content, the other Indian brands such as Wild Stone and Set Wet have hit lowest levels in admaking. A woman strolling in the corridors of a house that apparently has a some ceremony going on, is stopped by the fragrance of Wild Stone coming from a man in a nearby room. Entering the room, she sights the man and makes symbolic gestures by biting into a watermelon. Suggestive? Could be. Vulgar? Not really, if kids go and watch Emraan Hashmi movies. While AXE has has been playful, Wild Stone has been gone on explore ‘sex’ in their ads. If you really want to know what I am saying watch the one below where a woman fantasizes a man merely on the basis of his smell.
Such examples are numerous, both in India and globally. It’s a foregone conclusion that most deodorants would play single mindedly on ‘masculine libido’ even if men continue to use it as anti-perspirants and hopelessly hope to find a different sex partner every night after pouring the whole cans of deodorants on themselves. Secondly, where does the I&B ministry draw a line? Who are they trying to protect here? When you have a mutli-million dollar and thriving porn industry which is accessible by a 14-year-old, does the ban really help or further sink us in the abyss of sex taboo?