There are two types of viral ads. One that will give another reason to crush on your favorite personality. And the other that makes one wonder about the conditions under which the idea got approved! And we’ve seen recent examples in plenty. Remember the Cred commercial that not only reintroduced Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra as a fine actor but it also convinced people that ‘Oscar bhi yahi layega’? Yeah, it was unique, it was cool and most importantly it had subtle messaging where Chopra ripped journalist/media outlets a new one by poking fun at invasive questions he was asked in interviews about his girlfriend and sex life. I’m not being paid to say this but it was a great one!
But that’s not news; what’s news is that another advert is going viral but unfortunately for reasons far from the above. In fact, it is safe to say that it falls into the second category that has left the internet with a lot of pertinent questions. If you haven’t seen it yet, Amul Macho’s new underwear ad starring Vicky Kaushal and Rashmika Mandanna is the talk of the town. Why? Because it has Mandanna, a yoga instructor, ogling at Kaushal’s briefs under different pretexts. The ad shows different scenarios during their yoga sessions where she happens to catch a glimpse of his underwear’s waistband and in an attempt to get another look, has him reaching high shelves and holding longer poses. Yeah, that. See it here.
Now, while according to the brand it is a step towards ‘legitimising the female gaze’ and ‘turning gender stereotypes’, netizens are riled up thinking about the obvious – what if the gender was reversed and if it were a man doing the same. Many have also pointed out that it accounts for objectification of men.
Just like the ad campaign that says “why should boys have all the fun” this ad promotes “why should only boys be the perverts”
atleast those ads in india used to be creative now even that started to suck.
— sagar (@YlnSagar) September 28, 2021
Imagine the same ad if a man forcing a women to bend and stretch to have a glimpse of her undergarment brand in a public place like gym. Would it not be termed as #sexsualharassment by our #pseudo #feminist and an outrage would have created.
I condemn this ad #MachoSporto
— Chandan Saamant♂️ (@chandan_samant) September 27, 2021
One of the cheapest ads I have seen in recent times…
Actresses like @iamRashmika might be ruining it for gals out there…
I don’t think any gal will get so excited to see someone’s macho… https://t.co/GcOVdb4lDu
— Vivek Nair – The Thrifty Marketer (@vivektweetsso) September 25, 2021
— Vaastav Veer (@VaastavVeer) September 27, 2021
— Men’s rights (@menrights8) September 27, 2021
— Tejas Mishra (@tejasmishra5) September 25, 2021
— Sanatani Nationalist (@sanatanitweets) September 25, 2021
While the makers have not offered any clarification, it is fair to think if we can right a wrong by doing another wrong. If it is fair to objectify men in order to redo the harm done by the male gaze and its portrayal for years.
Earlier, food delivery app Zomato was under fire for its commercials starring stars like Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif. While the one with Kaif raised eyebrows, the one featuring Roshan has managed to irk the internet because it had him calling a delivery executive ‘Jadoo’ (alien) and instead of tipping him from braving the rains, decides to give him a selfie. It was all kinds of wrong and had the makers issue a statement.
Only time will tell if the makers of Amul Macho ad will address the debate.