Dabur pulls down its Karwa Chauth ad featuring same-sex couple

Dabur joins a growing list of brands who recently have had to withdraw campaigns and advertisements, in response to outrage over the content.   | Photo Credit: Twitter.

FMCG company Dabur on Monday withdrew its advertisement depicting a same sex couple celebrating the Hindu festival of Karwa Chauth, hours after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra warned of legal action, calling the advertisement “objectionable”.

Dabur joins a growing list of brands who recently have had to withdraw campaigns and advertisements, in response to outrage over the content.

“Today they are showing lesbians breaking their Karwa Chauth fast… tomorrow they might show two boys taking pheras, getting married,” Mr. Mishra said of the advertisement showing the same-sex couple using Fem, Dabur’s Creme bleach.


Married women, predominantly from northern India, mark the festival of Karwa Chauth by traditionally keeping a day-long fast, praying for the long life of their husbands.

“I have directed the DGP to examine this [the advertisement], and ask the company to remove it,” Mr. Mishra further added.

His comments came on the same day on which the Delhi High Court heard pleas seeking recognition for same-sex marriage under the the special, Hindu and foreign marriage laws. “The law as it stands...personal laws are settled and marriage which is contemplated to be is between biological man and biological woman,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Centre said in Court. In 2018, the Supreme Court had decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting adults.

Following Mr. Mishra’s warning, Dabur released a statement withdrawing the advertisement, and apologised for “unintentionally hurting people’s sentiments.”


“Dabur and Fem as a brand strive for diversity, inclusion and equality, and we proudly support these values in our organisation and within our communities. Our campaigns too reflect the same.” A second statement released by the company read, “We understand that not everyone will agree with our stance, and we respect their right to hold a different point of view. Our intention is not to offend any beliefs, customs, and traditions, religious or otherwise.”

In its statement the company also said that they are “humbled by everyone who showered their support for the brand and the campaign.” While the advertisement did garner some praise on social media, a majority of the netizens were also quick to point out that the advertisement still promotes the practice of using fairness cream and bleach. #BoycottDabur began to trend after a certain section of Twitterati claimed the advertisement was mocking the Hindu rituals, while another section said the advertisement was only supporting patriarchy.

Earlier this month, clothing brand FabIndia withdrew its promotional material showing its upcoming festive line, after facing backlash over the name of the collection—Jashn-e-Riwaaz. This time, last year, Tanishq, Tata group’s jewellery brand was on the receiving end of social media outrage, over its advertisement showing a Muslim family throwing a baby shower for their Hindu daughter-in-law. Tanishq subsequently took down the advertisement. In 2019, Hindustan Unilever’s Surf Excel brand also received backlash after they released an advertisement showing children playing Holi, as a little girl from the group, helps her Muslim friend reach the mosque unharmed.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 6:33:53 PM |

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