Every Hindu festival acts as fodder for brands to get creative and start negative portrayals with their so-called “awareness campaigns”. From wanting to appear as a responsible brand to spreading defamatory propaganda, Hindu festivals are conveniently used to get quick fame for advertising agencies, brands and celebrities.
Of late, these brands seem to suddenly become hyper-aware of their moral and societal responsibilities only around Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali. TV campaigns, social media campaigns, influencer campaigns- the brands fly in from your television screens, social media platforms, and newspapers to remind you to be a ‘good citizen’. How thoughtful!
However, this festive season, social media users have strongly opposed the virtue signaling by brands and ‘influencers’ centered around Holi.
Twitter users started trending #NoPropagandaHoli just before the arrival of the festival.
We have seen propaganda over Diwali, Navratra, Karwa chauth, Rakhi, Holi, rather almost every Hindu festival.— Aaj Ki Taza Khabar (youtube channel) (@AKTKadmin) March 28, 2021
We don’t want these propaganda anymore.#NoPropagandaHoli
So let us look at all the selective virtue signalling against Holi by different brands in the past that have people fed up and start trending #NoPropagandaHoli.
01. Surf Excel #RangLaayeSang
A TVC released by Surf Excel showed a young girl taking all the water balloon attacks in the colony till her friends run out of them. She then shields her Muslim friend to reach a mosque safely, without being attacked by the colors. The objective clearly was to paint Hindus as oppressors and Muslims as persecuted.
02. FBB #BuraNaKhelo
In an online video campaign, FBB in collaboration with digital sensation Mithila Palkar preached how one should stand against harassment. What starts as a jovial video, soon turns dark when Mithila says while hinting at eve-teasing on Holi, “par saath hi hogi thodi zor zabardasti, thodi ched chad, thodi manmaani”.
The video talks about standing up against harassment done in the garb of ‘Bura Na Mano, Holi Hai’. A simple message could have been done without portraying Holi as a festival that encourages eve-teasing.
03. Viviana Mall #NoHooliganism
Last Holi, Viviana Mall reminded us to be responsible and say no to hooliganism. The campaign poster shared on Instagram is supported with the caption, “The festival, which brings a wave of zest and zeal, has seen a rise of hooliganism that jeopardizes the safety of others. This year, let us pledge to celebrate Holi joyously, but responsibly.” A thoughtful campaign that should run not just on one single day but all around the year.
04. Reliance General Insurance #HoliNotHooliganism
Reliance General Insurance too through its campaign emphasized on harassment faced by women on Holi. In a social media campaign, the brand uploaded a series of posters about eve-teasing Holi with the caption, “Behind the joyous colors of holi lies an unfortunate reality. Press and hold to find out what it is. And pledge to ensure this year’s celebrations are truly happy and safe for us all. Happy Holi! #HoliNotHooliganism“.
05. Finolex Pipes
The brand in its digital campaign promoted a 10-second video that said, “Every drop you save, adds color to someone else’s life”.
06. Livpure #BinaPaniHoliManani
The fascinating tagline is supported with a video campaign where a few kids are seen stealing balloons from a shop. When confronted by the shopkeeper, they lecture the owner by saying they have done a good deed by stealing these balloons as it will prevent others from wasting water on Holi.
07. Bisleri Save Water
Bisleri in collaboration with Mumbai Dabbawalas crafted a campaign to spread awareness on playing waterless Holi. The dabbawalas were given Bisleri bottles with eco-friendly colors to deliver with the tiffin boxes that the Dabbawalas deliver across Mumbai. Bisleri representatives also gathered at different toll nakas to give away colors promoting waterless Holi.
As if these awareness campaigns were not enough, the brands have taken it a step further to sexualize Hindu festivals as per their convenience.
While no untoward act targeted at women should go neglected, or natural resources should be used with utmost care and responsibility, using the agenda to malign a Hindu festival is worthy of condemnation.