“Bold and brash” is in and it’s the new chic(k?). Gone are the days of harmless understated advertisements (Oh I am not complaining at all, maybe I will after a few decades, but not now). If Deepika Chikhalia was the epitome of the “Bharateeya Naari” (thanks to Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan”) for “Nirma Super” for what seems like ages ages ago, the new set of female characters in advertisements for detergent powders appear to be scheming conniving “saas-bahu” types straight out of a “K” serial (or “soap”). What’s more, their on-screen children too seem to have inherited their impish traits.
It appears that Rin, that respectable Indian brand, has taken the initiative to alter the rules of the game; if the new Rin advertisement is anything to go by, it certainly seems like Rin or Hindustan Unilever Limited, probably has taken upon itself the responsibility of changing the hitherto "comparatively" demure face of Indian ads. The new ad has got almost everyone I know with salt n pepper hair talking about that mythical ancient time in everybody’s lives (good ‘ol days of course). The ad runs something like this:
There are two women, the first one (let’s call her Woman 1 like they do for extras in movie credits) praises Tide, with a Tide packet featuring prominently. A bus, presumably school bus, arrives with their children. Woman 1’s son steps out of the bus first and his shirt is a dull shade of white. A second boy alights and his shirt is an immaculate white. He moves towards Woman 2 who uses Rin, of course. Woman 2’s son asks Woman 1 “Aunty Kyun Chaunk Gai ?” with the obvious reference to Tide’s caption “Chaunk Gaye !”
Would this ad attract claims of disparagement? The issue of disparagement under Section 36 of the MRTP Act has been discussed earlier on SpicyIP by Kruttika in the context of Britannia successfully restraining Unibic from disparaging its “Good Day” brand of biscuits. In light of this case, Tide seems to have a decent case for trademark infringement unless Rin is able to prove that its depiction was “honest” and based on facts.
Whatever be the case, if these kind of ads are the way of the future, I would like to see how they turn out for certain more interesting products...
We welcome the opinion of our readers on this issue.
For an analysis of the legal position, please read this post.