Surf Excel ad promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony provokes backlash

Surf Excel ad promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony provokes backlash
An attempt to create an uplifting ad showing a heartwarming friendship between a young Hindu girl and a Muslim boy has backfired on the Surf Excel detergent brand with angry viewers calling for a boycott.

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.

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.

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