As regular readers of B&T would know, for some reason we regularly run stories about the global Hindu community becoming enraged by brands and marketers misusing images from the religion. And, don’t get us wrong, their claims are often completely valid.
On a number of occasions, Aussie companies have also been in the firing line. In March, an Aussie online retailer was castigated for selling boardshorts emblazoned with the image of Lord Ganesha. A Hindu spokesperson slamming the trunks, saying the image was “not to adorn the genitals”.
While in January, a Sydney-based online retailer was busted for selling a toilet seat cover and bath mat that also featured images of Lord Ganesha.
And once again the Hindu community is in a flap over the misuse of religious icons, this time after two UK firms were busted committing the crime. One a men’s online retailer and the other beer brand.
In the first instance, online fashion retailer MatchesFashion was called out for flogging men’s swimming trunks that carried images of Hindu deities.
The trunks were singled out by the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism and immediately removed by MatchesFashion once it realised its misdemeanour.
MatchesFashion head of communications, Paul Watson, commenting in an email: “We have removed the item from the site and furthermore we have circulated your email directly to our buying team to make them aware of such sensitivities moving forward. We trust this meets with your approval and apologise for any offence caused. This was not intentional.”
Meanwhile, a British brewery in Sheffield is under fire after it named its new lager “Hanuman” apparently after Lord Hanuman from the Hindu religion.
The beer was brewed by Neepsend Brew Co. and contains a rather hefty eight per cent alcohol volume.
So far, Neepsend hasn’t commented on the correlation between its new ale and the offence caused to the Hindu community.
However, a spokesperson for the Universal Society of Hinduism called the beer “highly inappropriate” and added: “In Hinduism, Lord Hanuman is known for incredible strength and was perfect grammarian.
“Moreover, linking Lord Hanuman with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful,” the spokesperson said.
The organisation’s Rajan Zed added that both instances showed that senior executives should be sent for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
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