After a Gap ad campaign drew attention to hip young Sikhs with its photo of model Waris Ahluwalia being fondled by a non-Indian model, Axe body spray is now on the bandwagon as well, featuring a turbaned Sikh model kissing a woman on the New York city subway in its new campaign titled “Make Love Not War.”
“Sikh is the new black,” observed several Twitter users.
Through a Web site (axepeace.com), a Twitter feed (#KissForPeace) and a Super Bowl commercial, Axe has been releasing images with a “peace” message — but after the ad with the Sikh model appeared, an alarming number of racists also chimed in on social media. Some commented on Axe’s Facebook page call the model a “terrorist” and a “towelhead.”
Chiming in a lengthy thread about the ad on Facebook, user Brandon Dewade put it this way: “Wow, there is a lot of hate here. Being an Iraq and Afghanistan vet all I see is a guy w/an epic beard kissing a beautiful girl.”
Other media watchers on Twitter wisely bemoan the fact that “peace” — as a concept — is being used to hawk a chemical-laden perfume spray.
Axe also has a presence in India, where Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor is its brand ambassador.