A recent ad campaign by Hindustan Unilever’s for Surf Excel has evoked an extreme reaction as some right-wing quarters are trending the hashtag #BoycottSurfExcel and #BoycottHindustanUnilever on twitter.
The advertisement shows a young girl who helps a visibly Muslim boy to manoeuver through the streets on the Hindu festival of Holi without getting his clothes soiled.
The Hindu extremists however, feel that the ad is against Hindus, and have also rated down the application of Microsoft Excel, a popular software, confusing it with Surf Excel, amid calls for boycotting the products of the company Hindustan Unilever that owns the brand.
Bye Bye to HUL products & welcome to Patanjali products. Though already using quite a few Patanjali goods – now will encourage local cottage industries too.
— Lalitha Lakshmi லலிதா லக்ஷ்மி ललिता लक्ष्मी 🇮🇳🚩 (@lalitha_jr) March 7, 2019
So guys! Here is list of HUL products who are making advertisements humiliating Hindus. Let’s teach them a lesson and#BoycottHindustanUnilever products and services. We have much more better products which are desi and good for heath. Choose alternatives intentionally. pic.twitter.com/xp9oRcKCwX
— The Wireless Quint (@WirelessQuint) March 7, 2019
Why are foreign brands, Ad agencies, & Filmmakers hell-bent on shoving One Sided Secularism down our throat?#BoycottHindustanUnilever #BoycottSurfExcel #BoycottHULproducts @HUL_News pic.twitter.com/lq5Dgh5nZ6
— ShankhNaad (@ShankhNaad) March 11, 2019
Popular right wing Hindu page which is known for Islamophobic content, has shared the image of a Muslims girl playing holi with a Hindu boy, and reversed the image to suggest that the ad is ‘one sided secularism’.
In another advertisement by Hindustan Unilever advertisement for Brooke Bond Red Label Tea and was set against the backdrop of the Kumbh Mela, right wingers lashed out against the ad for showing Hinduism in a ‘negative light’.
— Hindustan Unilever (@HUL_News) March 7, 2019
— Sanj Modha (@smodha) March 7, 2019
Dear @CloseUpIndia, You forgot to tell us what Adithi changed her name to, after she converted to Islam, to marry Umar??
Also, what would the case be if Adithi was Ayesha & Umar had been Umesh??
— Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi) March 7, 2019
The advertisement has led to a storm of protest from those who interpreted it as an insult to the Kumbh Mela and Hinduism. In the ad, a son contemplates abandoning his aged father in the crowd, but soon realises his mistake and comes back to him.
Soon after the ad was shared on the HUL Twitter handle, people objected to it by saying it hurt sentiments of Hindus and portrayed the festival in a wrong light.