Deodorant ad that allegedly plays on women’s fear of rape slammed online in India

A deodorant ad is being panned in India for using wordplay to mock a “a woman’s worst fear” of sexual violence, leading to many expressing “disgust” and anger online.

The advertisement for the Layer’r Shot ad shows four men at a supermarket discussing who will “take the shot” as a woman enters dragging a shopping trolley.

“We’re four, and she’s one, so who is going to take the shot?” says one of the men as the woman gasps and turns around, apprehension written on her face. The ad, that aired during the Indian Premier League cricketing season, uses innuendo to refer to a shot or a hit of the deo spray.

Another ad from the same company shows the four men bursting into a room where a young couple is sitting, with one of them asking the man, “did you take the shot?” He answers, “yes, I did.” To which one of the men, rolling up his sleeves, says, “now it’s our turn.”

Indian netizens are not amused.

“How does this kind of ads get approved, sick and outright disgusting. Is @layerr_shot full of perverts?” asks Twitter user Rishita Prusty.

A Thomson Reuters poll of global experts found in 2018 that India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour. India’s official crime records data shows that a woman is raped every 16 minutes in the country. Rape culture is often blamed on content that objectifies women and feeds the misogyny.

“There have to be some regulations for ads man. That Shot deo ad is nothing short of disgusting actually. Even though I knew it was an ad and it wouldn’t happen. The fear for a second I felt was real. Imagine making an ad on the fears of millions of women! WTF,” said culinary expert Monika Manchanda.

Many people also tagged the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), demanding a review and ban on the ad, while some said the broadcaster needs to share the blame.

“We live in a country where women are still afraid to go out alone while on the other hand these dumbfu*s are normalising gang [email protected] jokes,” said another user.