Did Amul get a little too cheeky with an advertisement put out in tribute to Joker star Joaquin Phoenix? Soon after his Oscar speech on injustice that slammed the dairy industry for its alleged extortion of cows for milk, India’s top milk processor had a billboard with its famed Amul Girl feeding his Joker avatar bread and butter. “Joaquer!" it said, “Have on a Renee day." Phoenix is a self-declared vegan who keeps off all animal protein, milk included. While vegans are unlikely to see humour in the ad, it has been flayed by the Indian unit of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta). “The joke’s on you," Peta tweeted, addressing Amul, “Do the cows a favour and switch to making soya, almond, oat or other plant milk."
Now, Amul is too vast an enterprise to take that advice. Not just a vast market of consumers, but thousands of dairy farmers depend on it for livelihood. Dairy products are legal and ought to stay so. But perhaps the brand’s agency could consult its guidelines on the perils of causing offence. India has very few vegans,?? but Amul’s depiction of one being force-fed butter was rather tasteless.