Famous Indian Ads With The Worst Moral Messages


Indian ads have evolved a lot over the past few decades. While old ads were more about the impression of the brand, the reach and long-term impact, the new ones concentrate on involvement of the target audience and hitting the bullseye in a short time. As a result, the new ads get a lot of views and some even go viral. The ones that have an impressive content are indeed appreciated and shared by people on social media. However, here we are going to deal with those Indian commercials that have negative moral messages, we have probably never noticed before. After all, somebody needs to talk about it.

1. Star Sports HD – Ordinary TV is a Dabba

If you have been watching this year’s ICC World T20 then you must have come across that ever-so-annoying ad in the breaks that goes like “Dabba Hai Dabba, Uncle Ka TV Dabba!” starring our very own M.S. Dhoni. Star Sports wants every Indian to believe that if they are not watching the tournament in HD channels then their TV is nothing but an empty box and they are suitable of being made fun of by everyone, including the locality kids and the Indian Captain himself. Let alone HD TV sets/channels, many Indian families don’t even own a TV or are still happy with their old CRT sets. During cricket matches, we see so many people standing outside random shops or herding into a neighbour’s place but enjoying just as much, irrespective of the quality of the television. Don’t you think this commercial not only demeans and devalues the spirit of these enthusiastic souls, but also encourages kids to demand more expensive sets and subscriptions from their parents?

2. Fair & Lovely – Fair Means Confident

Fair & Lovely is the most famous fairness cosmetic product in India and its advertisements have always been in a not-so-fair light for the mere fact that all of them promote the idea of ‘complexion matters’. We have always seen them very strangely connecting the colour of our skin to talent, opportunity and appreciation. The ad below builds another such weird connection and this time with women empowerment. We see the protagonist being insisted by her dad to marry this immensely successful man and despite not having the heart in it, she isn’t able to stand up for herself unless she turns fair. Like, seriously? Can’t girls with darker complexions speak up or are they supposed to be any less enlightened or confident?

3. Nerolac Paints – Paint it Right to Deserve Respect

While most wall paint ads anyway encourage you to colour your walls with expensive paints in order to impress the onlookers, this particular ad goes an extra mile to portray something rather upsetting. It shows that no matter how educated and qualified you are, not even a postman will give you a minimum respect unless your house looks beautiful enough. Yes, all your hard work and good deeds will go down the drain just because you did not show off your status! Wow! So, basically, it boils down to the same old-school, materialistic, superficial mindset that we should try to breakthrough. Do we really want the younger generations to be misguided by such commercials?

4. Myntra – Live For Likes

‘Live For Likes’ is not a lifestyle to be proud of. It is a disease this generation is suffering from. There is no harm in dressing up, clicking pics, sharing them and enjoying the ‘likes’ you get on social media. However, making that a motto in life and sole source of happiness is rather sad. In this commercial, Myntra not only promotes this superficial lifestyle but also very casually shows that it is cool to be fake. Be it the faux beauty spot, the borrowed drink or the candy snatched from the kid, it is all justified as long as the selfie turns out good, uploadable and likable. No, you do not need anybody’s approval in order to live your life. Live it your way, not somebody else’s.

In an attempt to sell more, are the people in the advertising industry forgetting all about ethics? Or is it to be believed that a modern-day advertisement cannot be made interesting without a harmful pitch? Well, that is obviously not true because there are tons of new Indian ads out there that both have a positive message and are successful in attracting customers. Yes, we are going to write about them as well. Do Subscribe and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and we shall keep you posted! In the meantime, if you remember more Indian ads that have not impressed you on moral grounds, do share them with us in your comments and we might just make a Part II!

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  1. This is an amazing compile and great to discover this part of these commercials. These days almost every commercial is meaningless and trying to promote the product whatever the way it is.