Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's capture has now been mocked in racist Pakistani ad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against Virat Kohli's India. The advertisement by Pakistan's Jazz TV shows a model, made to look like the IAF officer with his trademark moustache in a Blue Jersey answering questions on camera.
The lookalike keeps on repeating “I’m sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this” in the ad several times as he faces questions related to India’s playing XI and the team’s strategy if it wins the toss.
However, this is not the first time that advertisements, be it on print or on television, have courted controversies. Television and print media have over the years presented a number of controversial advertorials that have either, faced a lot of flak, or at times have been pulled down altogether.
Tuff Shoes Footwear Print Ad (1995): The advertisement saw Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre sporting Tuff shoes and otherwise being stark naked save for a python entwined across their bodies. Besides being called obscene, the ad saw animal rights activists filing a case under the Wildlife Protection Act for illegal use of the python, which saw a verdict of not guilty in 2009.
Meat and Livestock Australia ad featuring Ganesha loving lamb meat (2017): The ad showed Lord Ganesha eating a lamb. The theme of the advertisement was “You Never Lamb Alone”, and wanted to portray that no matter what is your faith and belief, everyone loves to eat lamb. Even though the ad showcased a host of other gods including Jesus, Moses, Aphrodite, Buddha, Zeus and even founder of Scientology Ron Hubbard, it managed to hurt Hindu sentiments and is banned in India.
Calida ad (2008): The underwear brand featuring Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea saw the latter pulling off Bipasha Basu's underwear with his teeth. The ad was opposed by a number of women's groups and was banned. Years later Basu had revealed that the images were from private moments and were not meant to be photographed or used.
Idea TV Commercial (2011): The ad featured Abhishek Bachchan discussing the issue of overpopulation where the ad goes on to show that due to the frequent power cuts in India, the husbands watching TV in their homes are interrupted and they then go ahead and make love to their wives, causing pregnancies and in turn overpopulation. According to the advertisement, Idea's 3G services would thus keep the husbands distracted long after the power is cut and impede this crisis.
Jawed Habib’s advertisement featuring Gods to sell services (2017): The advertisement, released before Durga Puja, saw Jawed Habib deciding to use Gods to sell their services of hair and beauty salon. The advertisement showed Lord Durga, Ganesh, Karthik, Lakshmi and Saraswati relaxing and enjoying a spa day in a Jawed Habib salon, with the tagline, “Gods too visit JH salon.” Needless to say that the ad received a lot of flak and Habib had to issue an apology as well.
Zatak Deo TV Commercial (2010): The deo-spray ad shows a newly married woman waiting for her husband when she is suddenly hit by a whiff of perfume fragrance and rushes to the window to see who it is. The bride sees her neighbour wearing the perfume and then eyeing her sexually. The ad ends with the woman taking her wedding ring off.
Sunny Leone's condom ad during Navratri: Talk about courting controversy, Sunny Leone featured in an advertisement for condoms during Navratri, that too in Gujarat. The ad, which had the caption, “Aa Navratri Ramo Parantu Prem Thi (This Navratri, play, but with love)," saw The Confederation of All India Traders accusing the star of being irresponsible and going to any level to earn money.
AC Black Apple Juice Commercial (2002): Another World Cup ad that released in 2002, the ad saw a man drinking apple juice at a bar, checking out a woman. With each sip, her neckline goes deeper. The commercial was immediately banned after being screened.
Amul Macho (2007): The launching pad of model Sana Khan, the ad saw her exhibiting over the top sexual expressions while washing a man's underwear with the words "yeh toh bada toing hai" being repeated in the background. While the ad campaign saw the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, ban its screening, the Advertising Standards Council of India cleared it for public viewing.
Wild Stone Deo TV Commercial (2007): The ad showed a traditional Bengali woman bumping into a man during Durga Puja celebrations and because of his deo she gets turned on and is compelled to have sex with him. While the ad was not banned, a highly censored version was aired on television.