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Monday 3rd October 2022 / 7 Rabiulawal 1444

What’s inappropriate about Mehwish Hayat’s biscuit ad ?

Pakistan’s superstar Mehwish Hayat has become the new point of contention for social media trolls. Hayat’s recent TV commercial of a local manufacturing biscuit company is facing immense backlash because some people think it carries ‘vulgar’ content.

Social media flooded with criticism

There is a lot of controversy on social media regarding the new Gala biscuit TV commercial which has been termed as ‘mujra’ by Pakistani journalist Ansar Abbasi and even criticized by Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan.

Social media has been flooded with criticism regarding the advert and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) took notice of issuing an advisory regarding the types of advertisements that should be served on TV.

PEMRA issued notice

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has issued an advisory for broadcasters and advertisers urging them to refrain from using themes and content which do not correspond with the nature of the product being marketed.

In an advisory issued PEMRA said that the content of ordinary consumer products, such as biscuits and detergent, being aired on TV channels was not corresponding with the nature of the product.

Behavioral disturbance

PEMRA stated the trend is causing and promoting unrest and behavioral disturbance among viewers being not only in violation of commonly accepted standards of decency but also socio-cultural norms of Pakistani society.

The authority said viewers were criticizing the regulatory body on social media for allowing satellite TV channels to air such indecent advertisements.

It added viewers are of the view that airing advertisements regarding general consumer products in such a bizarre manner is unwarranted and needs to be looked into.

In addition, complainants are of the opinion that the presentation of products in such a manner is wittingly or unwittingly merely aiming to promote consumerism which also requires due consideration by all stakeholders.

PEMRA urges to follow the Code of Conduct

The authority urged the Pakistan Broadcaster Association, the Pakistan Advertising Association and the Pakistan Advertisers Society to sensitize their members about the public’s concerns and to specifically review the content for the Gala biscuit.

All stakeholders are further advised to stop the rampant use of themes/content which does not correspond with the nature of the products.

The advisory also urged the satellite TV channel to have the visuals of advertisements reviewed by their respective in-house monitoring committee prior to being aired in the “best interest of viewers [and our] culture” and to save customers from consumerism.

Trending on social media

The Gala biscuit TV commercial (TVC) was released on October 4th and since then has been brought to the attention of the general public for promoting dance culture in Pakistan which goes against the cultural norms of the country.

However, Mehwish Hayat, who starred in the Gala biscuit TV commercial, also shared it on her Twitter account stating that it was an absolute pleasure to be part of the project.

Many citizens took to social media to point out how the visuals went against the “norms” of Pakistani society.

The topic is currently trending on social media with two sides, one supporting Ansar Abbasi and his criticism of terming the Gala biscuit TV commercial as ‘mujra’ and the other side criticizing the journalist for having a problem with everything.

In a tweet, columnist and journalist Ansar Abbasi dubbed the advertisement a “mujra” and called upon Pemra to take action against it.

Replying to the journalist’s tweet, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan added that the premier was against such “anti-Islamic stuff” which goes against cultural norms and has “damaging effects on the youth”.

Journalist Ansar Abbasi and Ali Muhammad Khan have both been slammed by Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain who took to twitter saying, “Why do you and Ali keep searching for vulgarity 24 hours a day? Do something productive,”

Power of advertising

Advertising has become an essential part of Media and it is playing the role of Oxygen in the media industry.

Media has strong effects on the masses and as an essential part of media, advertising is affecting every walk of life, like a change in lifestyles, dressing and usages of things and also affecting our social and cultural values.

Advertising has become embedded in our daily lives. We cannot go through a newspaper, listen to the radio or watch television without reading, hearing or seeing some advertisements or commercials.

It is a forceful tool in molding our attitudes and our behavior towards products and services.

Today, T.V is not only a powerful source of entertainment and recreation but also has emerged as an important medium in the field of information and marketing through advertising.

Violation of social and cultural values

Mostly, TV ads are violating our social and cultural values and through TV ads advertising companies are Promoting anti-social and undesirable cultural norms.

Just for the promotion of their business and for the sale of their products they are damaging our social values and norms.

In fact, TV ads are also damaging Islamic values and traditions instead of promoting cultural integration.

TV commercials are Promoting western and Indian culture, however, no one spoke against this culture, which damaging our social values and norms.

Sick mentality

It is pertinent to mention that a similar advert was aired back in 2013 with a different actress but nobody had a problem and even Ansar Abbasi and Ali Muhammad Khan did not point out the so-called dance culture.

Earlier, Ansari Abbasi became a subject of ridicule after he objected to a women’s exercise session broadcast on Pakistan Television Network.

The video which has nothing inappropriate with the female exercising in proper gym attire on PTV was shared by Ansari Abbasi as it seemed too sexual and inappropriate to the journalist.

Many people disagreed with Abbasi and asserted that there was nothing objectionable in the program since the show was aimed at making people learn exercises to stay fit and healthy.

It isn’t just Ansari Abbasi but many sick minds people in Pakistan who start criticizing everything that is not in line with their personal believes.

No one speaks against TV ads in Pakistan which damaging Islamic values and traditions instead of promoting cultural integration. But the criticism on Hayat’s TV commercial by a certain group of people is beyond the thinking.  




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