Voltas Beko draws flak for ‘sexist’ dishwasher ad

Voltas Beko ad

Voltas Beko spokesperson clarifies the intent of the ad was to capture a casual conversation between four independent and spirited friends.

In a recently released digital ad film, Voltas Beko showed four affluent friends chatting over a video call. They talk about their lives under the lockdown and how washing utensils is a task none of them likes. All the friends in the narrative are women and the overall packaging of the campaign is targetted towards women, more specifically mothers, something that reflects in the hashtag that accompanies the ad film on social media: #TestedByRealMoms.

The campaign has been created by Wunderman Thompson South Asia.

This has brought the brand a lot of flak on social media, with users pointing out instances of sexism in the ad. While some users spoke about the lack of men in the narrative, others pointed out the issues with the usage of the term ‘real mom’.

The anger was directed towards the brand’s effort to sell the dishwasher, comparing it to vintage ads when domestic goods/tools were sold to women, tugging at their emotional quotient in regards to being mothers/wives. Such a narrative has no space in 2020, users say.

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When approached for a reaction on the flak they are receiving online, a Voltas Beko spokesperson said: “As a brand, Voltas Beko has always celebrated the spirit of womanhood in all our campaigns. Likewise in this advertisement, we captured a fun, casual conversation between four independent and spirited friends who got together over a video call during the lockdown.”

“One of the characters in the video refers to how the family has been managing household chores, with her husband taking over the responsibility of washing dishes. This is when the protagonist of the film recommends a dishwasher. Our products have been developed to create convenience and comfort for all our customers, and are gender agnostic,” they added.

The flak received by the brand comes on the heels of the conversation around Scotch Brite’s announcement that they would be dropping the vector portraying a woman in their logo in an attempt to be more gender-neutral in their approach to selling kitchen products.

While thanks to social media outrage, brands are now becoming more aware of the consequences of the narrative they build around their products, we are still arguably way far from a time where such conversations won’t be needed at all. And, brands would truly ensure an inclusive treatment in their marketing of products that are used by all.