Welcome back to the nostalgia corner and a very happy new year. For the past weeks, we have focused on well-loved success stories. This week, however, we would like to focus on video and print advertisements that made headlines for being notorious. Infamy could also make you famous. So here are 6 controversial advertisement stories, you should know about:
Mr Coffee Print Ad (Early 90’s)
The print advertisement showed Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora in several intimate positions, with the tagline “real pleasure can’t come in an instant”. The advertisement received a lot of backlash from the conservative Indian public, which was still struggling with the influx of advertisements and products in the market. The advertisement created such a hype that even Amul created a parody of the advertisement.
Kamasutra Condom Video Advertisement (1991)
This ad featuring Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson was released in 1991. The ad showed the two of them in a shower, an advertisement with the two lead under a waterfall had already been aired. However, this advertisement was banned from Doordarshan for offending the sensitivities of its family-oriented audience. Other media channels also refused to carry this advertisement.
Tuff Shoes Footwear Print Ad (1995)
This advertisement was probably the most controversial advertisement of all time. This ad featured then models and alleged couple Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre caressing each other, posing nude with a python wrapped around them. The couple was only wearing Tuff shoes footwear. The ad was meant to portray the shoes as durable and tough. Apart from a case of obscenity filed against it, animal rights activists also protested against the then believed to be illegal use of the python under the Wildlife Protection Act. The legal proceedings lasted for 14 years, with the court finally ruling in 2009 that the accused were not guilty.
Calida Print Advertisement (1998)
This Swiss underwear company launched an advertisement with Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea where the latter was pulling on the former’s underwear with his teeth. The caption for this image said, “And you thought your appetite for indulgence could only we whetted by Swiss Chocolates.”
The advertisement was protested by many women’s rights organization and was opposed by many political leaders including the then Minister of Cultural Affairs, Anil Deshmukh leading to the ban of this print ad. Bipasha Basu later claimed that those pictures were private and were not meant to be used in such a fashion.
Bisleri TV Commercial (2002)
Bisleri changed its tagline from “Pure and Safe” to “Play Safe”. The advertisement featured a man and a woman playing on a beach. The woman whispers something in the man’s ear and the man searches everywhere, finally buying a crate of Bisleri bottles from a pharmacy. The tag then said “Play Safe”. Bisleri’s advertisement was an effort to spread the message of safe sex however, the advertisement was not accepted by the public in the same spirit and the advertisement was banned.
AC Black Apple Juice Advertisement (2003)
The surrogate for AC Black Whisky, this advertisement was launched during the Cricket World Cup of 2003. The video was scheduled to air during match breaks. The advertisement featured a man drinking AC black apple juice, who was eyeing a woman wearing a turtleneck dress. The neckline of the dress reduced with every sip the man took. The tagline of the drink being “kuch bhi ho sakta hai”. The advertisement faced instant criticism and was immediately banned. The brand, however, also suffered a huge commercial backlash as a result of this advertisement.