ASCI clears Neo Sports ads of racist charge

MUMBAI: The Advertisements Standards Council of India (ASCI) consumer complaints council decided that the recently aired Neo Sports Cricket Series promotional advertisements were not "racist". However, the Council also stated that the second ad 'Chilies' contravened Chapter II of the ASCI and should be suspended temporarily.

Ogilvy India Executive Chairman Piyush Pandey clarified that "we have received from ASCI the communication of their decision on the complaints. As part of the process of deliberation on the complaints, in our clarification we submitted to ASCI, 5 Ads - "Boat, Chilies (each, with an additional comeback for the Sri Lanka series) and Tiger."

Ogilvy India is the the ad agency that created and produced the campaign for Neo Sports.Pandey further stated that as per the communication from ASCI, there is no reference to any of the ads being 'rascist'.

He said, "We have maintained that the entire campaign should be seen in the context of the recently concluded Cricket Series against West Indies and Sri Lanka.The ads were meant to emphasize using wit and humour the home advantage that India undeniable enjoys. It is unfortunate that after airing for 2 weeks across 15 channels with more that 5000 sports being broadcast and not a single negative comment, the entirely unrelated Shilpa Shetty Big Brother incident resulted in these complaints. We have always maintained that portraying these ads as racist is ludicrous."

Pandey also confirmed that the client- Neo Sports Broadcast had stopped airing these ads, with the completion of the cricket series. O & M has not yet decided if they would be asking for a review of the ASCI decision on the Chilies ad, as allowed by the rules.



The three ads started as part of the India -West Indies matches with the tagline "Its tough being a West Indian in India" and was extended to include Sri Lanka series as well. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry received two complaints stating that the ads showed racial overtones.

 

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