The scene: a fuel pump in the middle of nowhere. The characters: lady driving a car; male fuel pump attendant. The lady’s command: fill the car with fuel. The reaction: shirt unbuttoned to the waist, man sprays bare chest with Fuel deo. Woman’s reaction: she smells the deodorant, gets turned on and opens top shirt button, giving a peek of her undergarment. Man and woman get close suggestively.
The tag line of the advertising film is ‘Ignite the Fire’ and the voice over says huskily, “Sometimes all you need is a little Fuel to ignite the fire.”
Remember this commercial that has been running recently on television across a large number of channels? Has anyone objected?
An Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) spokesperson says, “Yes, we received three complaints.” He adds that ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council has agreed that the advertisement was indecent. “We have spoken to the advertising agency about modifying the scene where the woman opens her top button, and have given it time till August 21 to effect the modification,” the spokesperson states.
ASCI is the self-regulatory body of the advertising industry and its advice, following queries or complaints on advertisements released in the Indian media, is mostly followed by advertisers and their agencies.
The managing director of Elder Healthcare Ltd. which markets Fuel, Dr Anuj Saxena, defends the campaign saying, “We are proud of the advertisement and have been getting favourable feedback from several places.” He adds that there is a natural break in the campaign and future action will depend on ASCI’s advice.