Himalaya Men’s recent advertisement featuring Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant has come under the spotlight and is raking in negative reviews.
When we say today’s the age of social media, we are bound to agree that it comes with its share of pros and cons, where everyone is eligible to be judged. Recently the ad world has been feeling the heat of this very social media trait and how.
Where good-deed campaigns like P&G Shiksha’s #DontLetDreamsWait and Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad receive a thumbs up from the digital dwellers, there are campaigns like Gillette’s #MeToo razors ad on ‘toxic masculinity’ bashed back and forth. And falling prey to a certain kind of flak or disagreement today was Himalaya Men’s ‘Looking Good…And Loving It’ ad featuring crickets studs Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant.
The video showed Kohli and Pant rapping to a song that subtly had in it integrated a definition of good looks and a mantra to become a hero and be cool. Revealed by none other than cricket God and India’s favorite hero Kohli, the secret to becoming a hero is ‘a face sans pimple’. The ad is presumed to communicate that a man who ought to have a pimple (a natural occurrence), cannot step out of the house and be a cool dude.
As per an official press release by the company, with male grooming emerging as one of the fastest growing sectors in India’s Personal Care segment, Himalaya MEN will play an important role in the new trend of looking good. The concept of “Looking Good…And Loving It” brings to life a unique amalgamation of style as well as the brand vision of “Wellness in Every Home and Happiness in Every Heart”.
“Being role models, both Virat and Rishabh were our first choice. They perfectly symbolize the brand’s promise to make every young manlook good and feel confident,” said Rajesh Krishnamurthy, Business Head – Consumer Products Division, The Himalaya Drug Company.
The campaign has many discussing various aspects of the brand’s message. For one, implying that a man is not a hero and cool if he has pimples, creates self-doubt in the minds of many who follow these cricketing stars ardently. Further, showing captain cool as pimple-less and the junior as someone who is taking cool lessons on how to be cool, doesn’t appear as a responsible form of messaging.
The campaign has also posed various other questions like does it make sense to show sporting figures who represent India globally, dancing to such jingles?
However, it could be that the brand had a certain TG in mind with whom this would work. Social Samosa has reached out to the brand to understand their point of view.
As this debate rages, it brings back the age-old thought that should celebrity endorsers be responsible for the communication they appear in? Or the brands need to be more responsible- because this is the age of opinions and opinions matter?