Layer Perfume Ad Draws Flak Over Content Around Rape Culture, DCW Seeks FIR

Layer perfume advertisements have been criticised for promoting rape culture and joking about sexual assaults.

The layer perfume ad shows a group of men making joking about sexual assaults

Two advertisements of perfume company Layer have sparked outrage over their depiction of women and insinuation of rape, leading to The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting directing YouTube and Twitter to remove them and Delhi Commission for Women seeking registration of an FIR against the company over ads that "promote rape mentality".

Two advertisements of Layer's brand 'Shot' have attracted outrage in which male characters in the ad make rape insinuations at a female character. 

The advertisements are detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency and morality, said the I&B Ministry in their directive to YouTube and Twitter.

The I&B Ministry called these advertisements "inappropriate and derogatory" in a post on Twitter in which it shared its directives.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has issued a notice to Delhi Police for the registration of an FIR in the matter, said DCW's Swati Maliwal.

Maliwal told ANI, "Deodorant advertisement blatantly promotes the rape mentality in the country. We've issued notice to Delhi Police that FIR must be registered and ad must be immediately taken down from all platforms."

What was in the ads?

In one ad, three men enter a room in which a man and a woman are there. One of them asks, "I believe you have taken the shot."

"Yes, I have," replies the man with the woman.

Then one of those who entered says "Now it's our turn" and walks ahead, immediately discomforting the woman, but he goes past her and picks up the perfume bottle, following which the woman gets a sigh of relief. 

The ad has been criticised for its sexual and rape-related insinuations. 

In the second ad, a woman is walking with a shopping cart when four men standing behind her and looking at her as she bends to pick an item on a shelf says "There are four of us, and it's just one."

A second man says, "Who will take the shot?"

When the woman turns around alarmed at hearing this, the men's gaze and camera turns to Shot perfume bottle at the shelf and the women relaxes.

Questions on ads' approval

These advertisements have been criticised for promoting rape culture and joking about sexual assaults. People also highlighted that this is not an accident as an ad goes through several layers before it's shared publicly. 

Actor Richa Chadha said, "This ad is not an accident. To make an ad, a brand goes through several layers of decision making. Creatives, script, agency, client, casting. Does everything think rape is a joke? Revelatory!"

Actor Priyanka Chopra said, "Shameful and disgusting. How many levels of clearances did it take for this commercial to be green lit. How many people thought this was ok? I’m so glad that it was called out and now the ministry has taken it down. Appalling!"

Not the first time

Layer's Shot perfume ads are not the first time perfume ads have been criticised. They have been called out for being sexist and misogynist earlier too.

Even Layer has not made such ads for the first time. An earlier ad by the company featuring actor Akshay Kumar surfaced after these two were criticised on social media.

In the ad, a woman who Akshay rescues during a film shooting takes cover behind him, sniffs the perfume, and then jumps on his back and refuses to let go of him for days, even after the maker ends the film's shooting.