Things you may not know about Madhu Sapre, Milind Soman and their controversial Tuff Shoes ad

The ad in which the duo featured faced backlash for being obscene. The case was dragged for 14 years.

By  Storyboard18Sep 21, 2023 3:37 PM
Things you may not know about Madhu Sapre, Milind Soman and their controversial Tuff Shoes ad
Both Madhu Sapre (left) and Milind Soman (right) were chosen by Tuff Shoes for the print campaign because of their athletic and tough figures.

Storyboard18's Brand Blitz Quiz, India's First Panel Business Quiz, decided to have some fun with brand nerds from the Indian advertising and marketing community. We got Sai Ganesh, founder, India Wants to Know, and Varun Duggirala, founder, Plot Device Entertainment, to join us for the North Regional Final round on September 3.

During the North Regional final round, Duggirala picked the theme “Kissa Kauntroversy Ka” and Ganesh asked the first question on one of the print ads of Tuff Shoes featuring former Miss India Madhu Sapre. Sapre, who was a national level discus thrower, was seen in beachwear aiming a discus in the picture. Like Sapre, Milind Soman was an athlete as well – he was a national-level swimmer. Both Soman and Sapre were chosen by Tuff Shoes for the print campaign because of their athletic and tough figures.

Apart from featuring individually in the ad campaign, Soman and Sapre were featured together for a print ad too. In the shot, the duo were wrapped in a firm clinch, showing off only Tuff's shoes with a python, around Soman’s neck. The ad is considered to be one of the most controversial ads in the history of Indian advertising because it faced backlash for being obscene. However, the controversy made consumers gravitate more towards the shoes.

Another case was slapped by the animal rights group against Ambience Advertising, the agency behind the campaign, under the Wildlife Protection Act. They were accused of using a python illegally and for being cruel towards animals. The matter dragged on in court for 14 years.

First Published on Sep 19, 2023 5:38 PM

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