This Ad Mocking The Rescue Of Indians From Wuhan Is Insensitive. Sona Mohapatra Calls Them Out, Rightfully
How many of you’ll remember their iconic jingle, “Amul Dhoodh Peeta Hai India”? Everyone does, right? Even while I write it, I am singing it in my head. Okay…now it’s stuck in there. Amul is a company that has practically touched every Indian household. I don’t think I have ever drunk milk or eaten butter that wasn’t Amul. It is more than just a company; their products have slowly become synonymous to all dairy products.
The thing is though, making dairy products is not all Amul does. For years they have been running social media campaigns in an effort to spread awareness about societal issues and current affairs, but they do it in a fabulous, cheeky way. They do it in the form of cartoons usually featuring the Amul girl accompanied by a witty slogan. From cricket to Trump, they always find an “utterly butterly” way to spread awareness about things and we love these iconic ads.
So, it stands to reason that their latest cartoon is based on the massive outbreak of the coronavirus. But this time, they really messed up. This ad might have pushed it too far. A play on the Indians who were brought back from Wuhan (the epicenter of coronavirus), it features the Amul girl and a bunch of other people getting off an Air India flight wearing masks and looking super worried, for obvious reasons. The tagline of this image said, “Wuhan Se Yahaan Le Aaye” (Got it here from Wuhan). It also says “Amul, Homecoming Snack”.
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— Amul.coop (@Amul_Coop) February 4, 2020
As innovative as I think this is (loving the pun), it is also highly insensitive. In China, nearly 500 people have died of this deadly virus. Mocking it, even it is right up the brand’s alley is wrong at so many levels. Somethings are just not to be made fun of even if the motive is to spread awareness, it’s just as simple as that.
in bad taste. pic.twitter.com/nw4WA7lBGd
— ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) February 5, 2020
This cartoon sparked a massive Twitter debate. While some people appreciated the creativity, most people criticized Amul for it. Even singer and activist Sona Mohapatra tweeted saying, “in bad taste”. Check out a few reactions:
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In a very very very TASTE Amul. You must sack your market and advertising agency which approved and created this communication 🙁
— Gunjan Kapoor (@gunkap73) February 6, 2020
Had it been a one off thing then yes it would be a bad thing, using a sad situ to get eyeballs. But Amul has covered all major current events, good and bad, for years. In that light, I think the ad is perfectly fine. I don't get why ppl are upset.
— Priya Samagod (@priyasamagod) February 5, 2020
No Amul..this one tastes bitter !
We stand by them. For Butter or Worse..
— pixy jaisingh (@PixyJaisingh) February 6, 2020
I have always loved Amul’s sarcasm and their jokes but this one was pushing it a little. Everything is not to be commercialised. Even if they wanted to spread the word about the rescue, I am sure the brilliant minds behind these cartoons could’ve found a better way.
Talking about the rescue, Air India’s first special fight to Wuhan brought back 324 Indians on Saturday. It’s the second flight that landed in Delhi bringing home 323 Indians and 7 Maldivians who were stranded in Wuhan.