#BoycottSurfExcel: Hindustan Unilever detergent brand faces right-wing flak for Holi ad promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony
New Delhi: Surf Excel, Hindustan Unilever Limited’s detergent brand, recently, in its latest special Holi campaign released an advertisement created around the Hindu-Muslim unity theme. It immediately attracted right-wing ire for the concept.
The one-minute-long ad features a young Hindu girl, dressed in a white t-shirt, who chooses to get stained in Holi colours in order to protect her young Muslim friend who has to go to the nearby mosque to pray.
The advertisement ends with its classic tagline: “Daag acche hain (Stains are good). Agar kuch achha karne mein daag lag jaaye toh daag achhe hain. (Stains that come as a part of a good deed are good stains).”
Hindustan Unilever attempted to promote religious harmony and bringing people together with the power of colours in their latest ad campaign.
However, the campaign has faced the wrath of right-wingers on social media who felt that the ad is “Hinduphobic” and was an attempt to showcase that namaaz (Muslim prayer) is more important than Holi. Some even called it an attempt to promote “love jihad”, which is a term given for alleged grooming of Hindu girls by Muslim men with the intention of converting the girls to Islam.
Right-wingers on Twitter trended the hashtag #BoycottSurfExcel and #BoycottHindustanLever over this add. Many shared photos of them trashing HUL products in protest, while some tweeting collage of logos of HUL products calling for their boycott.
#BoycottHULProducts #BoycottHindustanUnilever pic.twitter.com/LP9tE6zOFd— Anil Mattoo 🇮🇳 (@AnilMatt00) March 7, 2019
Some creative right-wingers doctored photos to show men saffron bandanas, scarfs and turbans smearing colour on hijab-clad women to portray Hindu men playing Holi with Muslim women.
Dear #SurfExcel will there be any ad about Hindu boy and Muslim girl in future?#BoycottSurfExcel #BoycottHindustanUnilever pic.twitter.com/TKk1IyHxVS— Rohit Navile (@RohitNavile) March 9, 2019
We believe in love— Shruti Ranjan Panda (@SOOVAM_SR) March 10, 2019
We believe in peace
We believe in harmony#BoycottSurfExcel pic.twitter.com/D0EDujUr6u
However, there were many voices who said the right-wingers were exposing their “bigotry” by outraging over this “beautiful” ad.
I am no fan of #Holi, but I am a big fan of anything that pisses off bigots. #SurfExcel #FTW. https://t.co/4LCD23ahJU— Mathangi Subramanian (@mathangiwrites) March 10, 2019
@HUL_News The surf excel ad is lovely. Do not get cowed down by a bunch of bigots. They cannot harm you in any way. #SupportSurfExcel. #SurfExcel— The Hypocrite (@TheHypocrite___) March 10, 2019
Do not #BoycottSurfExcel. Do not #BoycottHULproducts.
Some even made fun of those who called for the boycott of HUL products.
ek do baar aur kisi truck ke neeche dabakar paste nikaal leta iss tube se, itni kya jaldi hai boycott ki https://t.co/67P3tyB1ls— Rofl Gandhi (@RoflGandhi_) March 11, 2019
This is the Surf Excel ad that triggered the “outrage”:
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