Is the new Surf Excel Holi Ad really Hindu Phobic or is it just the intolerence of people? - Letsdiskuss
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Ajay Paswan

Physical Education Trainer | Posted 11 Mar, 2019 |

Is the new Surf Excel Holi Ad really Hindu Phobic or is it just the intolerence of people?

Preeti Taneja

Entrepreneur | Posted 13 Mar, 2019

Indians love boycotting. We've been on a spree to boycott anything and everything that spills out of the mainstream Hindutva and chauvinist narratives. From boycotting The Kapil Sharma show to the BCCI to then Unilever… And now Surf Excel.


(Surf Excel is a subsidiary of Unilever, by the way. The London-based consumer goods company, Unilever is really in hot water as of late in India. And nobody even remembers why! Maybe this guy can answer…

surf-excel-ad-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: The Indian Express))

In the mix of this senseless, bigoted boycott spree of trained Indian Twitteratis-cum-goons, something funny happened: These users mistook MS Excel for Surf Excel. And this happened…

surf-excel-ad-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: Twitter)

Ah, the reminisce of the time when we mistook Snapdeal for Snapchat and when this trained hate group was still a fringe…

surf-excel-ad-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: ScoopWhoop)

Coming to the new surf excel Holi ad, which now sits at the epitome of controversy with news channels dedicating 30 Primetime-minutes in discussing a brand and its ads, the reaction to it is ludicrous.

It is one of the sweetest ads I have seen in a long time. And through the course, I felt no sense of Hindu-phobia whatsoever.

The way a section of the crowd is reacting to this Surf Excel Holi ad is absurd at best. BUT I don’t blame them. The message comes from the top who have political and Hindutva agendas in their head. The rest just tweet and re-tweet the same texts over and again. This is how we get things trended on Twitter India.

surf-excel-ad-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: The Financial Express)

(I mean, we always see hashtags in-favor (and teachings) of Ram Rahim trend on Twitter. A rapist and murderer! We see people still supporting him. The trending section on this platform has become hot garbage.)

So, the hashtag #BoycottSurfExcel is utterly meaningless -- except for the news channels though. It's a part of the larger propaganda pushed from the top; and we're going to see more of such things as we near General Election 2019. People, trained to be blindfolded and hateful are Re-tweeting this hashtag with no purpose other than to further spread their hateful agenda.

Over the course of five years, we have come a long way to a place where anything that even meagerly involves a hint of religion, it is bound to be in the mix of controversies.

So, while as exhilaratingly stupid this outrage is against the new Surf Excel Holi Ad, one must remember that the makers of this ad very well knew of such kind of reaction. There's a reason why they put a disclaimer at the bottom of the ad, which loosely translates to…

'This ad aims to promote brotherhood between people. Play Holi safely and responsibly.'

surf-excel-ad-letsdiskuss  (Courtesy: Neswsd)

They knew this could happen. And still, they went ahead with it, staying true to the old clichéd saying: NO PUBLICITY IS BAD PUBLICITY.

Along with so much outrage, the Surf Excel Holi Ad also won many supporters and praises. So, the brand didn’t really lose anything. In fact, for the company, it's only a win-win. Getting discussed on Primetime, getting featured in countless articles, being trended on social media-- All for FREE! So, for the company, the festival of color came early this year, and it came with benefits in aplenty.

Yes, it's shocking how we've reached a point where we're so comfortable mixing the entertainment media products with caste and religion. It's shocking to see such massive hate against a brand (and individuals) out of literally nothing. BUT what's more shocking is how the marketing or advertising agencies are ready to leverage this delicate social structure for their own benefit.

Whoever made and approved the Surf Excel Holi ad, they knew of such possible hateful reaction, which could potentially fuel the Hindu-Muslim debate. And yet they decided to go ahead with it anyway.

And it's not just the agencies… It's the whole media industry. Why do think we recently have a score of politically-charged, nationalism-centric movie releases?! Because the industry, as a whole, is desperate to gain exposure and make money… even if it comes at the cost of damaging the political and social fabric of the country.

So, while we should certainly blame the absurd and senseless reactions itself, part of the same blame must also go to the media and digital companies… for producing such contents in the first place for nothing but clear intent to trigger controversy and gain exposure.

All being said, I loved the new Surf Excel Holi ad. It's sweet (and DOES NOT give any sign of Hindu-phobia as the "Nationalists" of this country say)!!


Ruchika Dutta

Teacher | Posted 11 Mar, 2019

All the news reports that have reported the incident of #BoycottSurfExcel, have mentioned it in the first line of their reports, that the new advertisement of Surf Excel promotes communal harmony.


surf-excel-holi-ad-letsdiskuss (Courtesy: DNA India)



So there is no question of it being “Hindu phobic”, promoting love jihad, or insulting Muslim children. All those who are sane would think beyond this fact. They would, for example, ponder why such a sweet and innocent ad facing such flak. Or maybe they would feel sorry about the condition of this so-called “secular state”, India.


I wish Surf Excel could wash away such toxic ideology being spread by the “bhakts”. It is not the Surf Excel advertisement which is promoting love jihad or insulting Hinduism, it is in fact, these harbingers of Hindutva who are promoting the intolerant mentality using this advertisement.

The arguments made by them seem nothing but funny to me. Check some here:

surf-excel-holi-ad-letsdiskuss

surf-excel-holi-ad-letsdiskuss

surf-excel-holi-ad-letsdiskuss

Do you really think we need a counter-narrative on a Muslim festival now to validate this attempt at communal harmony? Is this how we practice secularism in India? Pathetic!

Thank goodness that not all are against this advertisement.

The other side of the picture disturbs me a lot, however. See how religion has invaded the entertainment sector and is prying upon the freedom of expression, even when it is not problematic. I wonder when will we start seeing things deeply and stop coming to the conclusions just by assuming things superficially.

This will have to happen for the picture to change.