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ASCI orders inappropriate Layer'r Shot deodorant ad to be suspended

ASCI and MIB have taken action against the ads which were made by the brand's in-house creative team.

Deodorant brand Layer'r Shot offended social media users with its ads which were running on television. There were two ads, made by the brand's in-house creative team. Both ads contained sexually inappropriate themes. The ads had women feeling threatened by the words that the protagonists were saying, only to wear a look of relief when she realises they're talking about deodorants instead.

A user tagged ASCI on the tweets and asked for the offensive ads to be taken off air. ASCI responded to the complainant, calling the ad a 'serious breach of the ASCI Code' and 'is against public interest.' "We have taken immediate action and notified the advertiser to suspend the ad, pending investigation," it tweeted.

Another ad features a woman shopping in a supermarket and she overhears a group of four men talking. They are heard saying "There's four of us but only one," in Hindi, and the woman standing in the supermarket aisle has a shocked expression on her face and then a look of relief when she realises the men are talking about the deodorant.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) also took note of the ad and tweeted that the I&B Ministry asked Twitter and YouTube to immediately pull down all instances of the ad. Netizens spotted the offensive ads during the first Test match between England versus New Zealand on OTT platform Sony LIV. The video has been removed from YouTube and tweets carrying uploads of the ad on Twitter have been marked as 'sensitive' content.

ASCI was alerted about the offensive ad on Friday (3 June 2022). According to a statement from the regulatory body, ASCI immediately invoked a special process called “Suspended Pending Investigation” (SPI) to take action against the offensive ad. 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 on / through / by any medium causes or has the effect of causing public harm and / or injury 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," reads the statement.

The statement also mentioned that the ads are 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 has 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.

There were rumours that Mumbai based agency Triton Communications were the ones that had created this ad, but Kim Solomon, the executive director and branch head took to Twitter to clarify that the agency did not do the ads. His tweet also clarified that Triton Communications does not have the account of Adjavis Ventures (the parent company of the Layer'r brand of deodrants.)

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