Legions of women and some men, who would gladly be slung across Ranveer Singh's shoulders otherwise, woke up to a rude shock this week.
Now Singh has never been heard uttering the word 'feminist' in public, ever, but he hasn't also been caught doing things that would make you think he isn't one. But of course, this is Bollywood and feminism, for some of the insiders, is a bigger death knell than being cast in a Ram Gopal Verma film...
Okay, we are digressing.
So Singh, who is the brand ambassador for Jack & Jones, a clothing brand for men, featured in this pathetic billboard. It shows Singh, wearing formals, carrying a woman on his shoulder. And then a tagline says, 'Don't hold back. Take your work home.'
Yes, take a moment to swat the image of the gorgeous, quirky, funny man you had, with a loud, 'WTF!'.
What is most disturbing is the overwhelming number of people, which we are assuming includes women as well, couldn't see how the ad was objectifying and devaluing women. People working for Jack & Jones, people working in the agency which came up with the creative, Ranveer Singh's team. In fact, they were so pleased with it that they decided to run it as giant billboards across cities.
Actor Siddharth showed what fine specimens humans with spines can make, when he tweeted the following:
Siddharth tweeted this on 20 November. It's been three days, but there has been no response from Singh. However, Jack & Jones, decided to respond. Okay, you need to sit down and get a glass of water before you read their tweet.
Yep, you read that right. After you notice the glaring absence of the words 'sorry', or 'apology', do notice that the brand took this very opportunity to plug in their silly campaign tagline again. It's as if the brand could not see why the billboard is offensive themselves, or that they reduced women to an object like their shirts in the ad. It is clear, at least from their tweet, that they were merely retracting the ad because some (important) people may have taken offence and let them know as much on social media.
And, since a celebrity had -- even if under extremely unfortunate circumstances -- made a mention of the brand, why let go of the opportunity to piggyback on it and grab some more attention?
When Mint sought the brand's reaction on the issue, Vineet Gautam, the country head of the company which markets Jack & Jones, Vero Moda and Only in India said this: "As a progressive brand that is loved by youth the world over, we take our responsibility of always being respectful, as seriously as we do our bold attitude. We regret that a billboard of our current campaign has caused people distress. We did not intend to offend anyone, and have discontinued it immediately."
Dear Jack & Jones, in case you were wondering, what a real apology reads like, here's an example: "We apologise for the ad our brand came up with. It was in bad taste and we will review how this passed our quality checks. Sorry."
Till then, we won't hold back the thought that you clearly can't tell women from shirts and trousers.