The mandarins at the Information and Broadcasting Ministry are a touchy lot. Especially when it comes to anything touchy-feely.
It may leave a bitter aftertaste for many of us, but the latest ad the ministry has found distasteful is one for a deodorant that shows a chocolate-covered boy being chased by girls on TV. He is ‘irresistible’ to women who variously lick his ears and bite his chocolatey bottom.
Now the ministry mandarins may prefer kesar pista to chocolate, but does the ad really need to be axed? Even our usually vigilant feminist brigade, quick to see a gender bender at every corner, has been silent on the matter.
Indecent, suggestive, vulgar, our I&B-wallas have thundered. Hell, and we thought they get piqued only when they encounter undergarment and condom ads. So what can we safely advertise? And is the hapless advertiser not entitled to grab a few eyeballs with an offbeat — and to our minds, witty — theme? One would completely understand if the ministry plugged the ad on a children’s TV channel showing the buoyant Mandira Bedi picking her nose. Impressionable minds have impressionable finger tools.
It is possible that given the attractions of Ms Bedi, our officials couldn’t quite put their finger on any subliminal message. (Digging the nose can be cool.) All we can ask is that they quit advertising their total lack of a sense of humour.