TV channels have been instructed not to air a number of men’s deodorant advertisements by the Indian Government following complaints about their “overtly sexual” content.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has asked the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to ensure that the adverts are either modified or taken off air this week, because they offend “good taste and decency”.
The Ministry said that the adverts portray women as “lustily hankering after men under the influence of such deodorants” and that the “depiction and portrayal of women in these ads is overtly sexual.”
India's advertising code, the I&B Ministry points out, states that “cable operators should ensure that the portrayal of the female form... is tasteful and aesthetic and within the well established norms of good taste and decency.”
One of the seven adverts in question shows a woman so overcome by a man’s perfume on a visit to the dentist that she begins to unbutton her shirt. Another shows a woman devouring a watermelon whilst looking longingly at a man wearing another brand of deodorant.
Although the ASCI acknowledges there have been a number of complaints about such deodorant adverts, Alan Collaco, the body’s secretary general, said: "there are very specific guidelines. Any visual that is not likely to cause grave or widespread offence is not a cause of concern. Most of these deodorant ads are played after 11pm on TV, outside family viewing timing.”
In the past three years, the Indian Government has taken action against 14 TV channels which it believes to have repeatedly transmitted vulgar content. One of these, VH1, was told to take South Park off air as the animated show was considered obscene, vulgar and indecent. Last year, broadcasts of Fashion TV were suspended for 10 days in India after the channel showed topless catwalk models.