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This Brand Made An Ad About Maids Being Carriers Of Coronavirus And Got Slammed For Being Classist. They Had It Coming

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These are tough times for most people. Except for Netflix and Prime Video. I think they are absolutely killing it and raking in the moolah. And in these times, most brands are probably holding on their money, keeping their ad budgets low and mainly advertising online because, hey, no one is really stepping outside.

Health and hygiene is a priority and if your product is related that, you might want to talk about it. Otherwise, you will probably choose to just lay low, right? Wrong. See, sometimes, enthusiastic brand managers, agency people and ill-informed writers are all allowed to get creative and sometimes, they think, ‘If only we could use the current pandemic to make a relatable ad, it will be gold.’ Which, honestly, fair enough. But then, you can’t be tone deaf and force fit something that simply won’t work.

Like Kent did recently and got called out quite harshly for it. One of the most important things that this pandemic has taught us is that our house help is just absolutely the best and that we simply cannot function without them. And even if we do, we struggle and everyone in the house is constantly annoyed. So, yeah, our house help is probably going to have a welcome like Shahukh did in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham once this is over.

Something that Kent didn’t realise or just didn’t want to pay attention to. Tone deafness is a real thing. As is being classist. And being idiots.

In the ad, a carousel one that appeared on someone’s Instagram (we couldn’t trace it back), the screenshots reveal the conversation the brand is trying to have. It starts off by posing a question about who is making the dough in your house. No, this is not about money, the real dough – the atta. And then it reminds you gently and jaw-droppingly that if your made is using her hands, she could be infected. And that now that they have alerted you, let’s all move on and buy their atta and bread maker.

If your reaction is also ‘WTF?’ then we get it, because, well, this is what we did too. There are so many problems with this ad but it has mainly been called out for being classist. See, maybe the creators didn’t know this but corona doesn’t only pick on those who aren’t well off- it’s extremely humbling in that way. It can happen to anyone, at all. So, it’s possible that you’re infected and gave it to your house help. Okay? Shut this rubbish down. And that’s exactly what netizens are also saying.

Of course, realising the backlash, the ad was then taken down and a apology swiftly drafted. Of course it was. What did it say? That Kent doesn’t believe in these things. Yes, it’s the same trope we have seen and heard before.

Hema Malini, the actress who is the face of the brand called the ad ‘inappropriate’ and said it doesn’t resonate with her values. Of course, she doesn’t have anything to do with it. Being the face of the brand means that her picture gets plastered with any ad or flyer Kent puts out.

Who approves these things? I just want to talk. No really.

As usual, several people on Twitter claimed that they were planning to buy a product from the brand but have now decided not to. Because we are so gullible, let’s believe them.

These are tough times. A little kindness goes a long way. And if you must ride a wave, a little sensitivity also goes a long way. And please, let’s not burden the less privileged with that tag of infection carriers. This simply isn’t true.

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Mansi Shah is the resident humour writer and random conversation starter. Tends to laugh manically at puns. Deeply enjoys the blunt force of sarcasm. Preys on chauvinists and people with incorrect grammar. Hoards makeup and beauty products. Attacks Nutella with vigour.

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