Surf Excel ad promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony provokes backlash
The ad centers around the Hindu spring festival Holi, also known as the festival of colors, which includes the tradition of people drenching each other with brightly colored paint. It depicts a young girl on a bicycle goading children to soak her in Holi colors until all of their ammunition runs out.
When they finally run dry she gives the all-clear to her Muslim friend, who is dressed in an immaculate white kurta, and takes him to the mosque for prayers. One of the paint attackers attempts to fire one-last balloon but is stopped by one of his colleagues.
“Later it’s your turn to get sprayed with colors,” the girl tells the boy. The song Rang Laaye Sang (colors that bring us together) plays during the ad and it finishes with the tagline: “Daag acche hain” (stains are good, especially for a good cause).
The ad has racked up nearly nine million views since its release but in recent days it has garnered attention for all the wrong reasons as it is accused of being “hinduphobic”. Those opposed to the ad’s message are now calling for the product to be boycotted.
DO NOT SHARE THIS ADD!— Akash Banerjee (@akashbanerjee) March 10, 2019
How dare they show colour, love, laughter, masti, innocence, cultural respect, bonding, bonhomie ....ALL IN ONE MINUTE?
THIS WASHES OUT ALL THE WORK THAT WE HAVE PUT IN! ARE WE IDIOTS?
I REPEAT DO NOT SHARE THIS AD!#BhaktBanerjeepic.twitter.com/xDMrnF3GoC
#BoycottSurfExcel how dare they promote Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb?! In Modi's India we only have to learn to cleave apart, tear asunder, divide, polarize and communalize. Welcome to the new India!! https://t.co/e35poz6yFv— Brijesh Kalappa (@brijeshkalappa) March 11, 2019
People behind Surf excel are such a hypocrite. On one hand, they say “Daag Acche hai” and then convince us to wash our dirty clothes.#BoycottSurfExcel— 🅲🅵🅼 (@CarefreeMunda) March 11, 2019
Cancelled my @amazonIN monthly subscription for #SurfExcel coz they r protecting only #ReligionOfTerrorist & encouraging #LoveJihad— ENFZ (@redlebul) March 11, 2019
Cheating in religious freedom #BoycottHULproducts#Surf_Excel_India#BoycottSurfExcel#PhirEkBaarModiSarkar@TajinderBagga@AmiSri@ExSecularpic.twitter.com/QhOWkift5P
However for all those attacking the ad, just as many appeared to appreciate its message and claimed they would go out of their way to support the company. Either way, the video has surely got people talking and the marketers will chalk that up as a win.
Surf Excel advertisement is what real India is about.— Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) March 10, 2019
This is how we have always been. This is how we will always be.
Bhakts, merely boycotting Surf Excel won’t be enough.
You should boycott us. We are India.
Just go away.
We are better off without you.
The #SurfExcel ad is worth appreciating because it beautifully tries to promote inclusivity. The message is loud and clear: people vouch for love, peace, humanity, friendship& harmony.— All India Mahila Congress (@MahilaCongress) March 11, 2019
The campaign by trolls to boycott it is exactly what is their idea of India- a divided nation. pic.twitter.com/9Ni4bXImbE
If sanghis want to boycott HUL for this beautiful ad, they must use Surf Excel to wash their mind firstpic.twitter.com/EFK1f4Vxzf— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) March 10, 2019
To the Bhakts. You have no idea how much Surf your outrage helped sell....congrats 🙂 You're practically the new brand ambassadors.— Vir Das (@thevirdas) March 11, 2019
Proud to have been a part of the #SurfExcel Holi commercial. An amazing and a brave team behind this!— Vasan 🅱🅰L🅰 (@Vasan_Bala) March 10, 2019
Unfortunately to convey compassion, tolerance and love one needs to be brave these days.
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