Bombay Shaving Company's 'opportunistic', 'desperate', 'laughable' Dear-Prachi ad slammed by internet users

Internet users and marketing experts slam Bombay Shaving Company's 'Dear Prachi' ad for its 'desperate' and 'laughable' attempt to ride on Prachi Nigam's story of being bullied online.

By  Storyboard18Apr 27, 2024 4:31 PM
Bombay Shaving Company's 'opportunistic', 'desperate', 'laughable' Dear-Prachi ad slammed by internet users
Some internet reactions to Bombay Shaving Company's ad: "A scholarship to further her studies would have done more to help her ignore her haters." "Class? Don't think so. It is mauke pe chauka at the cost of a young girl and desperately screaming 'I am trying to be a cool brand'." "Haven’t seen something this desperate."

Homegrown personal care brand Bombay Shaving Company has taken moment marketing to 'new lows', it seems, with a print advertisement addressing Prachi Nigam. The ad is for BSC's female-focused brand Bombae.

Nigam made headlines recently after she topped Uttar Pradesh's Class 10 board exams. Soon after her image appeared in the press, internet trolls began mocking the teen for her facial hair. But netizens also fought back against the trolls, voicing their support of the teenage girl. Several internet users raised serious concerns about online bullying and the impact of social media trolling and abuse on person as young as Nigam.

This, of course, is a serious matter. But BSC seems to have "commercialized" the issue with an attempt to "monetize" a young girl's story with an "opportunistic ad" that claims not to be opportunistic.

The company's founder Shantanu Deshpande shared the ad, saying, "It was shocking to see the amount of hate targeted at a teenage girl who had TOPPED AN EXAM because of her facial hair. Our simple message to this amazing young woman with such a bright future."

He added in the post, "Love to see my team ooze class. No opportunistic sale, QR code, nothing. Just a heartfelt message to a fellow Bae."

But the attempt to send a "heartfelt message" has fallen flat.

Here are some internet reactions to the ad.

"Poorly done. A different form of bullying that puts the girl in national spotlight. If the brand really wanted to do something, it could have supported her silently. That is actually advertising."

"A scholarship to further her studies would have done more to help her ignore her haters."

"Class? Don't think so. It is mauke pe chauka at the cost of a young girl and desperately screaming 'I am trying to be a cool brand'."

"Haven’t seen something this desperate."

"This message goes to their own TG, not to the people who bullied her, hey pls remember to buy our razors while you shed a tear for her. Read the line on the bottom right. Laughable."

"Speechless. And, not in a good way. IMHO, the very intention of doing this sounds noble at first glance, but somehow still reeks of opportunism," wrote Shantesh S Row on LinkedIn tagging the company and the founder.

He added, "Feel for Prachi. First, she gets trolled, inconsiderately. And now, she's an unwilling participant of a let-us-support-her-with-some-look-we-care-brand-moment-marketing-bullcrap-ad. Also, ironically, that subhead is just plain insensitive. Sorry, but this is an epic misfire...and utterly dishonest..."

A female ad executive, who wished not to be named in this article, told Storyboard18, "They've tried to make the anti-ad with the comment at the end stating, "we hope you never get bullied into using our razor". What were they thinking! It's cringe, it's lazy and it is a blatant attempt to monetize and commercialize a serious issue."

The young agency executive adds, "I wonder who are they speaking to? The answer is probably themselves. I am a woman and this ad is not only opportunistic but also pandering and condescending. It's a new low. I feel bad for Prachi too. She didn't deserve this after all the trolls and hate has had to face."

"The kid would want this episode to end as soon as possible. But No! A brand wants to splash her name again. Without her consent most likely. To sell their own razors," says Abhishek Asthana, founder of creative agency, GingerMonkey.

"Very poor taste!," he said, adding, "Also, somehow the brand assumes their Razors are the cure for a hormonal disorder. Belabouring the point that it’s “NOT Normal” and she needs their razors to look “normal” The ad just assumes, she must need razors. Pathetic."

Deepak Gupta, co-founder and COO of Bombay Shaving Company, took to LinkedIn within a few hours of the ad's release and backlash beginning, to say, "While the jury is still out, and there are ongoing debates within our internal team as well about whether we should have released this public message, this is what our brand Bombae stands for “spirit of freedom and self-expression”. Cheers to all the Prachi's from our team at Bombae for their courage and aspirations!"

A senior advertising executive told Storyboard18 on the condition of anonymity that startup brands often have a holier-than-thou attitude. He added, "We see it in personal care, in tech and in the food space. They think they are better than everyone else. That kind of unquestioned thinking and hubris can be detrimental to the brand. These brands should know when to speak and when not to speak. It's Purpose without true direction. Everything is not a moment marketing opportunity."

First Published on Apr 27, 2024 12:24 PM

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