INDIA: UB Group embroiled in McDowell's cricket ad row
The UB Group has been hit with a legal notice over a television advert for its McDowell's No 1 Platinum whisky brand, parodying an ad for Pernod Ricard’s Royal Stag brand.
Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh sent The UB Group and its chairman, Vijaya Mallya, a legal notice yesterday (18 July), requesting the company withdraw the TV spot. The McDowell's No 1 Platinum ad, which features India's cricket captain and McDowell's brand ambassador, MS Dhoni, spoofs Pernod’s Royal Stag ad, featuring Harbhajan Singh.
Harbhajan's legal team claimed the ad mocks Harbhajan, his family and the Sikh community and creates "disunity and friction" in the Indian team. Subsequently, it has petitioned an absolute apology along with an immediate withdrawal of the ad.
Vijay Mallya has refused to pull the ad, however, with local reports citing him as saying: “It was not meant to attack Harbhajan Singh personally. It was just a spoof between two brands. We have received a long-winded legal notice and our lawyers are studying it.”
As advertising of alcoholic brands is not permitted in India, the commercials are for McDowell's No. 1 Platinum soda and Royal Stag cricket gear.
Both ads, starting with the spot for Royal Stag, can be viewed below.
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