With the whole world embroiled in a conversation about women’s rights and gender equality, it would seem dangerous to resort to potentially sexist imagery in order to sell products or titillate audiences. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what edgy fashion brand Jack n Jones found themselves accused of.
As part of their latest campaign starring Ranveer Singh, a billboard featured a formally dressed Ranveer carrying (who we can assume to be) his female colleague on his shoulders, while a bellman smirks knowingly in the background. The caption reads, ‘Don’t hold back. Take your work home.’
Not surprisingly, the internet was not impressed by this.
A new low for women’s rights in the workplace in India. What were they thinking? #Fail pic.twitter.com/3PW5mMaKOt
— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) November 20, 2016
I really thought #RanveerSingh was fairly sensible. How could he agree to do that utterly sexist Jack n Jones ad? Awful.
— Kirtana Hariharan (@kirtanaha) November 20, 2016
They were not thinking at all! . I think they withdrew the ad.. https://t.co/YPwbm314yK @raju https://t.co/4ajd7aUMf3
— Shruti Malhotra (@Shruti_Malhotra) November 23, 2016
Responding swiftly to the criticism, the brand withdrew the ad and tweeted this in response:
@Actor_Siddharth We didn’t intend to offend anyone with one of our billboards. #NOTHOLDINGBACK and withdrawing it immediately.
— JACK & JONES INDIA (@JackJonesIndia) November 22, 2016
In an interview with NDTV’s Shekhar Gupta, Ranveer Singh reiterated that the ad was not intended to be sexist. Let’s just put this down as a win for women’s empowerment, shall we?