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Durga row: Liquor firm apologises

The company added use of religious icons were against its advertising policy, reports Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 19:46 IST

The controversy over the offending posters at a Disco Bar in Athens showing Durga promoting whisky has finally ended with apology from the makers of the particular brand, the US-based Southern Comfort Whisky makers.

After a quick intervention by the Greek Embassy in Delhi, officials in Athens had got the posters removed. Now the Southern Comforts Vice-President, Media Communications has sent a letter regretting the use of the Hindu goddess.

The letter read, "on behalf of Brown-Forman and Southern Comfort, I extend our sincerest apologies for the inappropriate use of the image of the Hindu Goddess Durga.

I also promise that we will do everything in our power to prevent any reoccurrence of this offence in the future.

"Brown-Forman's Marketing, Advertising and Promotional Policy prohibits the use of any religious imagery in the promotion of our beverage alcohol brands. The use of Goddess Durga was in violation of that policy. This violation occurred because of human error -- our employees responsible for approving the promotion simply didn't know that the image was, in fact, a Hindu Deity. We have already taken steps to amend our review process to ensure we don't make this mistake again.

"The offensive use of the image of Durga was used in one bar in Athens, Greece. The image was removed on Monday night, February 13. We took this action within hours of first learning about the complaints against the use of the image.

"The image was used on a two-dimensional wooden display featured in the front window of the bar. It was not a poster, nor were there any advertisements featuring the Goddess Durga. We make this point not to diminish the error we made, but rather because we believe it is important for you to know that the image was used in only one place - in the window of a bar in Athens, Greece.

" ...Thank you for taking time to read this explanation and please accept my apology for the offensive and inappropriate use of the image of Goddess Durga in the promotion of Southern Comfort.

"We will make every effort to ensure that the offending display is burned instead of thrown away."

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 19:46 IST