Layer’r Shot body spray ads slammed for promoting rape culture, ASCI takes action

‘Layer’r Shot’ is a brand of deodorant body spray promoted for men, by Adjavis Venture Limited.
Four men staring at something, and three men with a perfume bottle
Four men staring at something, and three men with a perfume bottle
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Two recent advertisements for a deodorant have come under the scanner for trivialising and propagating rape culture. The two advertisements are for ‘Layer’r Shot’ - a body spray for men - and were reportedly televised during a cricket match. Social media users were quick to point out that the advertisements are not only sexist and misogynistic but also downright disgusting.

In one advertisement, a young couple is seen sitting on a bed inside a room when four other men barge inside, laughing to themselves. The couple look startled, when one of the men says, “Hey bro, it seems you have taken a shot”, and the man on the bed replies “Yes, I have,” much to the woman’s shock. Then, another man, rolling his sleeve, seemingly moves towards the woman, saying “Now it’s our turn.” However, he ends up walking past the woman to the bedside table and picks up a perfume bottle with “Shot” written on it, and says, “It calls for a shot.” The woman is shown relieved. Shot, here, seems to be a euphemism for ‘having a shot’ at the woman, apparently without her consent, which the audience is supposed to be relieved to find is the name of the perfume.

In the second advertisement, a young woman pushing a shopping cart is seen walking along the aisle of personal hygiene products, while there are four men standing and apparently staring at something. As the woman bends down to take something, a man is seen saying “We are four,” to which another one replies, “But there is only one”. And then another man puts his hand on two of his friends’ shoulders and asks, “So who is going to take the shot?” Same logic as the first ad - ‘taking a shot’ seems to be referring to the woman, initially. However, when the visibly shocked woman turns towards them, she notices them staring at a “Shot” perfume bottle. One of the men proceeds to take the bottle and says, “It calls for a shot.”

These advertisements have come under the public scanner, and several people took to social media to flag how problematic and triggering the advertisements are. 

Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal, also took to social media to condemn the ads. She said that she would be filing a complaint with the police against the company and would also write to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. “What a pathetic advertisement! What are these guys trying to promote, gang-rape? I am issuing notice to Delhi Police to register an FIR against the company. Also writing a letter to Min I&B 

@ianuragthakur ji to immediately stop this advertisement from playing on mass media (sic),” she tweeted.

Further, with one of the users tagging the handle of Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to a tweet with the video of the advertisement, ASCI responded by saying that action has been taken and suspension of the ads has been ordered. “Thank you for tagging us. The ad is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and is against public interest. We have taken immediate action and notified the advertiser to suspend the ad, pending investigation,” ASCI tweeted.

The Advertising Standards Council of India has released a statement that the advertisement was "potentially in serious violation of Chapter II (To ensure that advertisements are not offensive to generally accepted standards of public decency) of the ASCI Code against offensive advertising". Once the advertisement was taken to the notice of ASCI on June 3, they said that a special process called “Suspended Pending Investigation” (SPI) was invoked and the ad was suspended.

"In most cases, ASCI provides an opportunity for the advertiser to put forth their arguments before a recommendation is provided on the ad. However, in exceptional circumstances, when it appears prima facie that an advertisement is in serious breach of the ASCI Code and its continued transmission can cause public harm or its continuation is against public interest, then ASCI would, pending investigation direct the advertiser/the advertising agency/the media buying agency and the media concerned to suspend the advertisement," the statement read.

The advertiser shall be provided an opportunity of hearing by the Consumer Complaints Council, who shall make the final decision, the ASCI stated. 

Meanwhile, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has also suspended the controversial advertisements, pending investigation.

‘Layer’r Shot’ is a brand of body spray promoted for men, by Adjavis Venture Limited. According to their website, the company was started in 2013.

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