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Bombay Shaving Company ad supporting topper Prachi Nigam draws criticism online

The ad addressed Prachi stating, “Dear Prachi, they are trolling your hair today, they’ll applaud your A.I.R. tomorrow.”

Amid a social media storm surrounding Prachi Nigam's remarkable academic achievement of scoring 98.5% in Uttar Pradesh's Class 10 board exam. While Nigam's outstanding score garnered widespread attention, the attention quickly turned sour as trolls targeted her facial hair for ridicule, overshadowing her success.

Bombae, a women’s hair removal brand by Bombay Shaving Company, released a newspaper ad subtly promoting its product — razors for women. The ad addressed Prachi stating, Dear Prachi, they are trolling your hair today, they’ll applaud your A.I.R. tomorrow.”

But it didn’t end here, there was more to it. The message beneath urged her not to succumb to bullying and to use their razor. In their words, “We hope you never get bullied into using our razor.”

This subtle marketing tactic sparked a debate about whether the brand was exploiting the situation for its gain.

A user on social media commented, “The kid would want this episode to end as soon as possible. But No! A brand wants to splash her name again. Without her consent. To sell their razors. Very poor taste!” Another one said, “Marketing is as cold a business as selling caskets.”

The third remarked, “That’s the world we live in. fake outrage and fake sympathies. for people it’s for likes, for brands it’s for business,” while the fourth joined, “Seriously disgraceful”

While Prachi herself hasn’t directly addressed the advertisement, she previously responded to the massive trolling she faced, stating, “Trollers can live with their mindset, I am happy that my success is now my identity.” 

She further noted, “My family, my teachers, my friends never criticised me for my appearance and I never bothered about it either. It was only when my photograph was published after the results that people started trolling me and then my attention was drawn to the problem.”

Jaskaran Singh Kapany, former CMO of Xiaomi and PayTM, commented on this on Linkedin and stated, "A teenage girls tops a competitive exam but gets trolled by a few folks for her facial hair. A personal care & grooming company releases a full page ad on this. At a basic level, to me- it fails on various counts: distasteful, insensitive, unnecessary, esoteric and irrelevant.

Deepti Karthik, fractional CMO, Sleepyhead also stated his views on Linkedin, added "Tough times to be a marketer, sometimes all you wish is you are not trolled , it's ok if the ad doesn't win any awards or doesn't go viral at least let it not go horribly wrong. To err is to be human ..
To accept error and take corrective action is to be a wise human."

Shantanu Deshpande, founder of the company responded to the crictism and wrote on the platform, "It was shocking to see the amount of hate targeted at a teenage girl who had TOPPED AN EXAM because of her facial hair.Our simple message to this amazing young woman with such a bright future. Love to see my team ooze class. No opportunistic sale, QR code, nothing. Just a heartfelt message to a fellow Bae."

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