Ads for the World Cup have to grab eyeballs, which means they tend to go above and beyond what’s considered ‘safe’ for audiences. Controversy sells, but a recent ad released in Pakistan to build hype for the June 16 clash was in truly poor taste.
The ad shows a man made to look like Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, replete with trademark moustache and also sporting a blue jersey, like the Indian cricket team.
I’m sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this.
Jazz TV advt on #CWC19 takes the Indo-Pak air duel to new level. It uses the air duel over Nowshera and Wing Co Abhinandan Varthaman’s issue as a prop. @IAF_MCC @thetribunechd @SpokespersonMoD @DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/30v4H6MOpU— Ajay Banerjee (@ajaynewsman) June 11, 2019
He also sips tea from a cup, just like in the video released by the Pakistani military, where he was shown being questioned after being beaten up.
Abhinandan’s Capture Mocked in Racist Pakistani Ad For World Cup Clash Against India.— Kashmir First (@_Kashmir_First) June 11, 2019
How's this @StarSportsIndiahttps://t.co/FmIebDZHuk
This is shameful.— Ritayan Basu | ঋতায়ন বসু (@ritayanbasu) June 11, 2019
Please just let this be a cricket match. This is beyond just simple banter. #CWC19#INDvPAK https://t.co/shsUrYpCHl
Abhinandan’s Capture Mocked in Racist #Pakistani Ad For World Cup Clash Against #India. This is how #racism, #nationalism and #sports combines to produce toxic outcomes. Entirely unnecessary. #CWC2019 #crickethttps://t.co/7gcMx2CxjI— Swati Parashar (@swatipash) June 11, 2019
Considering the entire Balakot strike and the subsequent Abhinandan saga was such a sensitive issue, making light of a situation where a man’s life could have been lost is really stooping to new lows. The ad also has racist overtones, as the man’s face has also been blackened.
It’s 2019, and distasteful ads like this have no place here.