#BoycottRedLabel trends on Twitter over a year-old advertisement

#BoycottRedLabel was one of the most popular hashtags on Twitter in India on Sunday, as thousands of users bristled at an 11-month-old advertisement of the tea brand with Ganesh Chaturthi as its theme. Holding placards and sharing posters to declare the boycott, users claimed the advertisement targeted Hindus, portraying them as “intolerant”.

Appealing to the Hindustan Unilever Limited, which owns the brand, to remove the ads, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti tweeted: “We appeal Red Label Chai and HUL News to remove ads insulting religious sentiments of Hindus and apologise to Hindu Community”.

In the more than two-minute-long advertisement, which Red Label claims is inspired by a true story, a man visits a Ganesh idol sculptor ahead of the festival. However, realising the sculptor is a Muslim, as he puts on a skull cap hearing a prayer call, the buyer hesitates - deferring the purchase to the next day. Yet, later when the two have the brand’s tea, together, the buyer fixes the deal the same moment. “What happens when a cup of tea breaks deep-rooted prejudice?” reads the video’s description on Youtube.

One user, suggesting a happy ending, tweeted: “It’s disappointing to see how a Hindu is being projected as intolerant. It could have been a happy ad where the Hindu man gets excited after knowing the artist is a Muslim and both could have felt proud on India’s diversity & pluralism.”

Most users shared a post created by the Samiti which read: “Red Label put the label of intolerant on Hindus in the ad.” By evening, more than 33,000 users had given a call on Twitter to boycott the brand and Hindustan Unilever Limited, which drew flak in March for an advertisement of Surf Excel, another of its products, promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony on Holi.

One user wrote: “Redlabel - you don’t have to teach us to be peaceful. We are already peaceful religion and don’t bother. Boycott all HUL products”. Another said, “#BoycottRedLabel why? Because they shove their one sided agenda down our throats and always make Hindus look bad.”

On Bakrid this year, many of the 45,000 users, who had vouched for an “eco-friendly Eid”, had shared posts curated by the Samiti. Recently, Twitter users gave a call to boycott food aggregators Zomato and Uber Eats and restaurant chain McDonald’s for “hurting sentiments” of Hindus.

Parth M. N., a journalist, hit back at critics tweeting: “At this rate, the boycott industry will eventually have to boycott itself.”

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 4:55:28 PM |

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