Neo racist?

The heat is on Neo now, and for the right reasons. Those ads they ran to drum up excitement around India-Windies and India-Lanka cricket series were definitely not in right taste. Threatening to drown a few tourists in a lake? Showing a few Indians putting tourists in trouble in front of a canine, and showing off a range of Indians – a breastfeeding mom included – as people who wont offer water to spiced up mouths of West Indians. What the hell was all that? If Neo wanted publicity by way of controversy, they sure have had a good dose.

Ads had titles like “It is tough being a West Indian in India“. No problem with that. In one such thing they first fed spicy Indian food to a West Indian citizen and then made him run for water. Still good enough, if this was to be it. But they went on and showed an old woman and a breastfeeding mom refusing to help the tourist out with some drinking water. Nimbus sure wasn’t selling the fact that our country is short on drinking water and our citizens don’t like to part with a single ml.

Now for the repercussions. Delhi High Court recently asked the center to react to these ads, and earlier this week, Karnataka High Court looked favorably at a PIL that is asking that Neo pay Rs 200 Cr as ‘damages’ to the Union Government.

Nimbus may have had light hearted ideas behind those ads, but watching them over and over again definitely left a bad taste. One or two were arguably racist, and all of them showed us in very poor light. I hope they get some from the courts as well as regulators, though I know they wont. Free media, freedom of expression and all that.


22 Responses

  1. WTF…whats problem with you jokers. In USA, such ads are regular stuff. And drop that holier than thou attitude. It reflects you, and your society more than Nimbus.

  2. Huh, like USA is the benchmark for rest of the world. Perhaps it is for all US based NRIs :). And even then, I don’t recall seeing such commercials there either. Even if you want to, there are better ways of making fun of foreign tourists.

    One Qn though – did you see any of these ads?

  3. Big deal, yes these ads have made it to You Tube as well. In any case as i said it refelects you isn’t nimbus a indian company or do you disown your own citizens when it is convenient.

  4. Hey, I couldn’t look these ads up on youtube, tried searches on combinations of neo/nimbus/cricket/india/ad. If you have a URL handy, could you pass along. Just wanted to add a youtube link here. thanks.

    Back to our duel – Who is disowning whom here? The ‘holier than thou’ line is a good one to attack any critical post. Its like the “depends” thing – that word is a fit answer to almost any question in the world.

    But I can tell you that those Nimbus ads sure don’t reflect me. That is exactly why I and so many others are sounding off on it.

  5. I don’t think Nimbus is to be blamed. After all, they are one of us. We as a society is to be blamed. Pointing fingers at others does not make any sense ever.

  6. This type of stereotyping is not new. That does not make it right, but I want to see if anyone remembers a Marathi Newspaper Sunday Fiction in 1980-81 when West Indies had visited in India.

    The story was a murder mystery. Our own Sunil Gavaskar was framed as a prime suspect. One of the scenes was painted to mimic the “Hum Bewafaa Hargiz na the, Par Ham Wafaa Kar na Sake” song from film Shalimaar.

    Gavaskar was singing the song and the entire West Indian team was dancing in the background shouting “Jinga la la boom, Jinga la la boom, hoor! hoor!”… (stereotyping of black players as savage, ritualistic, barbarians…)

    I remember laughing my pants off to it. Today, I am sure people will object to this on some grounds or other. I see the point made by NRI.

    Jokes have to be told tastefully, otherwise they get offensive. Perhaps Nimbus needs to hire Jay Leno or Dave Letterman’s copywriters…

  7. Right Mumbaikar – jokes have to be done tastefully. Neo just should have hired a better film maker there. Or they should have stuck to either cricket or the cricketers directly as this Sunday Fiction bit you mentioned did.

  8. Why blame Neo? We as a society are to be blamed. Neo is simply a part of that.

  9. Any luck with that youtube link NRI?

  10. Hey NRI, stop saying “It reflects ‘you’, and ‘your’ society”, are you not part of this too, because u are NRIndian. If you feel u are not Indian, then shut the f* up or change your nickname. We Indians dont want any f*d up ‘N’eo’R’acist’I’diot to tell us mannerisms. I am currently studying in UK and definitely can say WE INDIANS are well mannered, only our ways are different. One should always keep in mind that in every society there are bound to be some scoundrels who want to f* everyone, and it doesnt necessarily reflect the entire society. The simple fact that a majority of us are concerned about such ads proves that we as a society are decent. Sorry for the language, anyway, it may well not hurt u because u probably like such languages.

  11. “Huh, like USA is the benchmark for rest of the world.”

    “rest of the world”, silkboard, what is that? :-)

    and then mumbaikar says:

    “Jokes have to be told tastefully, otherwise they get offensive. Perhaps Nimbus needs to hire Jay Leno or Dave Letterman’s copywriters…”

    is that for nri’s benefit, or do you not see good jokesters from other countries on indian telly? actually, i don’t find a bunch of letterman’s and leno’s jokes funny. some are, don’t get me wrong, but they are guilty of stereotyping third world citizens too – anybody remember baboo (i believe one of these shows had a baboo too, not just seinfeld)? what about that guy around the corner from letterman’s – what’s his name …?

    on the other hand, colbert on aamitabh buchchaaaan vs. shaa rooookh khan is hilarious, and it is available on youtube.

    – s.b.

  12. Looks like the ‘NRI’ dude just BSed on the ad being on youtube. We could not locate the Ad.

  13. Yeah Vasu, looks like he did! I had searched youtube myself before I posted this because I wanted a link here, so I was surprised by his casual claim.

    s.b., you know what I think I know who you are, will call you today to check :). you pointed out so well, US is the benchmark for most of us. So you want jokes to be like Jay Leno’s in a historically diverse and sensitive society of ours. You want 10 lane freeways and huge parking lots and shopping malls in space starved country of mine. You want cricket to go away because it is time-expensive in a society where people value moments of laziness over day-long rush :)

    Allow me to talk even bigger. The thing is, we have a unique situation, and we require solutions/remedies/policies of our own. Why do have to assume that we have a ready model to copy from any society or nation!?

    BTW, I am not anti-US or anything. I like some Leno jokes too, especially when he is not milking the same age-old topics like Monika-Clinton or Al Gore-Internet.

    Bangalorean, good job pointing out the “you”s there. Though the language could have been a touch milder – would have saved me some moderation minutes.

    NRI, you did change to “we” in your last comment. Thats the way. cheers dude :)

  14. NRI, sorry about my language. Its a problem with me. OK, coming to the point, you do have said some right things after all. Nimbus is simply a company with few indians running it. So they are part of our society. We cannot blame our teachers because our schools are dirty, can we? Same way we cannot blame Nimbus, because some ads are not tasty. Its all of us, why blame anyone else.

  15. Hey Silkboard,
    someone is writing stuff on my behalf, I never wrote the comment on 27th Feb (apologizing for my comments to NRI). I think NRI is playing a prank by writing stuff in my name. Whats happening. Can anyone just steal one’s nickname. Please check it out. Tally my nickname with my email address (it is sahara_….*

    It shows how desperate you are, stealing even nicknames. I think u are doing just that in US, stealing and cheating people and bringing bad name to Indians in US. F**k u man.

  16. Silkboard,

    Its me Bangalorean, stealing NRI’s nickname. Just wanted to check if its possible to do that. How to stop this stealing business.

  17. maybe this is how ads should be :-) i am watching the ad (without reading the blog post) and muttering to myself ‘ye kyaa ho rahaa hai?’ in typical tiku tulsania style!


    “you know what I think I know who you are, will call you today to check”

    sorry to disappoint you, but i don’t think you know me personally, though we have both lived in jharkhand when it was bihar!

    “So you want jokes to be like Jay Leno’s in a historically diverse and sensitive society of ours.”

    i was quoting mumbaikar. i never said that we can ask leno to crack jokes in india :-), or that his writers should get jobs in india. on the other hand, it would be nice to adopt the nfl/nba/mlb model in india – and it would be eminently workable too (see my comment on another post).

    – s.b.

  18. Yep, that ad is just amazing! I am hooked since the first time I saw it, about a week ago. You know, there is a reason cricket stars these days come from small town India. Big cities don’t have the needed 22 yards to grow cricketers anymore. This Nike way is the only way you can play !

    BTW, rediff is carrying a behind the scenes thing for this Nike ad.

  19. is there only one f* bangalorean here?

  20. I am so confused, I have no idea myself Bangalorean (language and email tell me you (#20) may be the original one). That apology post came from a third person. there is no way to control the names you sign off as. This is Internet, you could be Deve Gowda, Rahul Dravid or Sonia Gandhi, its for others to figure!

  21. What I said above is wrong. Found some time to check IPs and emails closely and figured that our NRI dude himself has been posing as Bangalorean, including in comment #20 above. First he lied, about seeing the ad on youtube, and now he is into deception. Wonder which society he reflects here.

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