South Asia

India TV channels told not to air sexy deodorant ads

Advert for Wild Stone in India
Image caption The ministry says the adverts violate the cable operators' code

Television channels in India have been ordered not to broadcast "overtly sexual" deodorant adverts that use female models in racy storylines.

The channels have been given five days to modify the offending adverts or take them off air.

"The ads brim with messages aimed at tickling libidinous male instincts," India's information ministry said in a statement.

None of the companies named by the ministry have so far responded.

The ministry said that the adverts offended "good taste and decency" and appeared "indecent, vulgar and suggestive" by subtly sending a message that the products "arouse women's sexuality".

It said that they portrayed women as "lustily hankering after men under the influence of such deodorants".

"The depiction and portrayal of women in these ads is overtly sexual."

The ministry argued that the adverts violate India's advertising code, which 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".

Correspondents say that none of the companies concerned is likely to respond in public to the ministry's move because of the sensitivities surrounding the issue.

'Not objectionable'

There are several advertisements in question, including one in which a woman finds a man's deodorant so stimulating that she begins to undress.

Image caption The adverts depict women lusting after men who are wearing deodorant

The ministry told the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to ensure that the adverts were modified or taken off air within five days.

A statement on the ASCI's website says that there have been a large number of complaints about deodorant adverts in the last two years and that it has acted in some cases.

But the statement says that "in many cases, it has been decided that the advertising is not objectionable".

"At ASCI, 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," the statement said.

Brands affected by the ban include Wild Stone, Addiction Deo and Axe.

Last year the ministry suspended Fashion TV (FTV) for 10 days for showing topless models during a show.

Officials said that FTV had violated several provisions of the Cable Television Networks rules by showing women in an "obscene" manner.

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