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Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Amul faces heat over sponsoring news channel showing controversial content

  • Netizens slammed Amul for advertising on the channel with hashtags #Amulfundshate and demanded a statement on their stand on the content being shown on the programme

NEW DELHI: Homegrown dairy brand Amul is being called out on micro-blogging platform Twitter for advertising on Sudarshan TV, a Hindi news channel which recently posted a 45-second long promo of their programme Bindas Bol. The promo claimed that a particular community is gradually taking over the prestigious civil services of India and labelled it as 'ÚPSC jihad'.

Netizens slammed Amul for advertising on the channel with the hashtag #Amulfundshate and demanded a statement on their stand on the content being shown on the programme.

The promo clip has been shared by multiple users along with the official handle of 'Stop funding hate' global campaign which aims to stop companies from advertising in, and thus providing funds for publications and platforms that promote divisive content.

"We don't want to get into this controversy," R.S. Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, the owner of the Amul brand told Mint.

Unlike digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter where hateful content has been flagged off with big companies pulling out advertising under recent 'Stop hate for profit' campaign, television programming has managed to get away with mildly polarised content in India.

Partho Dasgupta, management consultant and former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, a television ratings agency said brands which invest in advertising on news channels often do not look at specific content unless it's for sponsorship of a programme.

"...so there are hits and misses - but these incidents are typically taken seriously by brands and they blacklist channels which do not conform to their brand philosophy," he added.

Otherwise an active brand on social media, Amul has not responded to the hundreds of tweets by the users asking the company about their stand.

Santosh Desai, managing director and chief executive officer of Futurebrands Ltd, a brand consulting and management firm said that from a business and political environment perspective, Amul is in a tight spot.

"Their hope is that the controversy should die down given the fact they are in a political bind as well. If they withdraw the sponsorship of Sudarshan news then it becomes a political act and they will attract fire from one side. Having said that, they need to respond in some form because it does damage the brand," he added.

Desai thinks that this incident will push Amul to rethink their strategy going forward and be mindful of their associations.

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