Nando’s new advertisements have taken social media by storm. All for good reason. The fast food grill chain’s new ads are in bad taste. They perpetuate sexism. Describing their chicken, and comparing it to a woman’s body…these ads start with odd lines like “try something that shows off a bit of skin.” That ad came out on 26 March in the Hindustan Times. But surprise surprise, it’s a long series of them. And so there are others which say “we don’t mind if you touch our buns or breasts…”
Since when did we start clothing chicken? I mean what else shall we imagine? What did they actually mean by that? “We don’t mind if you touch our buns, or breasts or even our thighs. Whatever you’re into, enjoying any Nando’s meal with your hands is always recommended.”
It’s horrible to imagine chickens roaming with boobs and then having to quickly switch brain-gears to see how blatantly sexist the copy is. We were just fine with grill chicken and hot sauce but this has me thinking ‘no to chicken wings.’
Regardless of that tongue in cheek tone (which only they find so) they’re going for totally falls flat. They seem to be doing their bit for women who have enough of everyday sexism to deal with. The ad has been noticed (just don’t think the kind of noticing Nando’s was wishing for) and many have voiced a strong reaction to it.
And at the eatery, despite hip interiors, you are likely to find stuff that can repulse you even more. “Try something that won’t spend a lifetime on the hips.”
And then this funny board at their restaurant. After the ads were out, I actually decided to go check out Nando’s marketing pitch. Look at this – ‘try something that won’t spend a lifetime on the hips.’ Is that a dig at fat women? Fat people in general?
What is the campaign insinuating? For any remote suggestion that this is about ‘healthy’ chickens and low fat food – we need a lesson in communication. And then we can further argue that Nando’s is trying to promote some bizarre sense of what’s considered good – thin, fat or even healthy.
It would have gone unnoticed probably five years ago when India wasn’t alive to the sexism embedded in our conversations or actions. Today – and thank god for that – not only are such silly ads being taken notice of but thanks to social media the criticism can get widespread quickly. And that’s what seems to have happened. This ad has got social media up in arms, surprised by the blatant copy. One among the many who reacted was politician Omar Abdullah.
Nando’s did tweet an apology – but one wonders if they didn’t see this coming? And what does that apology mean – the ads will be off? And whatever will that mean about the way Nando’s approaches things anyway. I get worried if their chickens know this is what Nando’s stands for.