#SocialThrowback 7 brand social media controversies from 2017

Sarmistha Neogy
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brand social media controversies

Social Samosa takes a look at 7 brand social media controversies - both Indian and global that happened in 2017.

Social media today has given people the freedom to express their opinion in any matter. On one hand, this comes as a boon, but it has also made the situation extremely tough. Now people and brands are always under public scrutiny and the fear of hurting people's sentiments and resulting in backlash.

Several big brands, both Indian and global, had their tryst with controversies this year. They faced the ire of social media.

Social Samosa takes a look at 7 brand social media crisis - both Indian and global that happened in 2017.


Bipasha Basu and her husband Karan Singh Grover were trolled vehemently on social media for endorsing a condom brand and shooting a sensuous and 'cheesy' advertisement.

Javed Habib- Durga Puja

During Durga Puja this year, a cartoon that appeared in the local dailies of West Bengal depicting Goddess Durga and her children chilling in Jawed Habib's salon drew a lot of social media backlash. The stylist in the end had to come and apologise in front of everyone.



The Zomato ad, with letters that are short for Hindi language expletives, started going viral on Twitter and Facebook with people calling it sexist, cheap and crass. The ad had to be pulled down because of all the flak. Experts even criticized the ad for being in bad taste.


Manforce - Navratri

Traders' body CAIT asked the Centre to ban an outdoor advertisement in Gujarat of Manforce endorsed by actress Sunny Leone, saying it was derogatory and encouraged the youth to use its condoms in the name of Navratri festival. According to reports, the brand had to remove 500 such hoardings across Gujarat, following the massive controversy and it even apologized that the intension was not to hurt any sentiment.



The ad, a three-second GIF, featured three women, each removing her shirt to reveal the next. The ads showed a black woman turning white with the use of Dove body wash. Following the massive social media backlash, Dove apologized and removed the ad from social media.



Nivea ads were also in the centre of a social media storm after they were accused of promoting Natural Fairness Body Lotion, a cream that promises, according to the tagline, 'visibly fairer skin.' There were severe criticism in Ghana and several social media users calling for a boycott of Nivea products and for the ads to be pulled, using the #pullitdownnow hashtag.



Pepsi had to apologize for a controversial advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement, following intense criticism from people who said it trivialized the widespread protests against the killings of black people by the police. The brand had to also remove the ad from YouTube.

Do you know of any other brand social media controversies that should be added to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

The article is a part of our Social Throwback series that recaps the year that was for the industry. 

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