Bharat Matrimony, a matrimonial website became the punching bag of Twitter users on the day of Holi (March 8), when one of its advertisement on women sparked furore on social media.
The advertisement which intended to show the plight of women who are subjected to harassment during the celebrations of Holi, didn't go well with the social media users, especially those belonging to the Hindu faith.
As soon as the advertisement was released, it initiated a massive backlash from the neitizens. Soon there was a trend of #BoycottBharatMatrimony on Twitter. Users were threatening the company to either take the advertisement down or face the consequences.
dailyO has sought a response from the company on Twitter and the story will be updated as we receive a reply.
What was the ad? The advertisement starts showing a woman whose face is smeared with colours. As she washes her face and the colours are removed from the skin, the face appears to have a dark patch on the left side of her face around the eye.
This was meant to show how women during Holi are sometimes victims of physical harassment in the guise of celebrations, and the message was to understand it and make Holi safer for women.
This Women's Day & Holi, let's celebrate by creating safer and more inclusive spaces for women. It's important to acknowledge the challenges that women face in public spaces and create a society that truly respects their well-being - today & forever.#BharatMatrimony #BeChoosy pic.twitter.com/9bqIXZqaXu— Bharatmatrimony.com (@bharatmatrimony) March 8, 2023
But some Twitter users thought the ad was targeting Hinduism and started a boycott trend against Bharat Matrimony.
However, Bharat Matrimony isn't the only company to have faced the wrath of the boycott trend. There have been many other big brands who have been faced such backlash.
1. Surf Excel: In 2019, detergent brand Surf Excel was also at the receiving end because of its advertisement during Holi. The short commercial which showed a Muslim boy with a Hindu girl during Holi celebrations provoked criticism from many Twitter users.
In the ad, the girl who is seated on her bicycle, asks all her friends to throw balloons filled with colours on her. When the other children are finished with their balloons, she signals her Muslim friend to come out. The Muslim boy wearing white kurta-payjama.
The ad closes with a popular tagline, "daag ache hai." Though some hailed the advertisement for showing communal harmony, a section of Twitter users also called for the boycott of Surf Excel for hurting Hindu sentiments.
2. Tanishq: Titan's jewellery brand Tanishq also faced boycott calls in October 2020, when one of its advertisements released before Diwali showed a Hindu woman married in a Muslim house, doing rituals done in a Hindu house. The motive of the ad appeared to promote communal harmony, but it was severely criticised, and Tanishq even had to take down the ad.
3. Hindustan Unilever: In 2019, a Brooke Bond Red Label advertisement caused controversy as it showed a father and his son reuniting at a Kumbh Mela where the son intentionally ghosts his father. After realising his mistake, he comes back to his father and the father gets two cups of Brooke Bond Red Label tea, which he had pre-ordered knowing that his son would come for him.
The commercial finishes with Brooke Bond Red Label package being shown in the end. The advertisement, however, was panned by the viewers and calls for boycott of Hindustan Unilever Limited, parent company of Brooke Bond were raised. Many Twitter users said that HUL was defaming the Kumbh Mela.
4. Swiggy: Swiggy Instamart was another brand that faced a lot of backlash on social media users along with Bharat Matrimony during this Holi due to an ad. #HinduphobicSwiggy was a popular trend on Twitter after one of its billboard ads asked people to use eggs to make Omelette etc and not for throwing it on someone while celebrating Holi.
Neitizens got angry and asked the brand not to tell Hindus on how to celebrate Holi. A Twitter user pointed out that Swiggy didn't tell Muslims how to celebrate Eid or Christians on how to celebrate Christmas.
Swiggy later pulled down the billboards with these ads.