Brands in their extreme lust for making money sometimes endorse misleading and tone-deaf campaigns. In a super-connected digital world, one false step can outrage millions of social media activists. And, this is exactly what happened with the following ad campaigns

1) Amna Aqeel, 2013



Amna Aqeel photoshoot titled “Be My Slave” ins 2013 was held responsible for ratifying slavery, child labor, and racism. The photo shows a dark-skinned child being slaved by a model. Salima Feerasta a blogger on Karachista and writer at The Express Tribune in her article criticized the designer and raised several valid questions about how elite class exploits children from slums.


2) Ali Xeeshan and Saira Shakira, 2016


Ali Xeeshan is known for his unique state-of-the-art fashion. Back in 2016, Ali Xeeshan and Saira Shakira under the brand Crimson sparked controversies from their respective photo shoots. One photo showed males staring at the model and another photo showed a male model forcefully clasping the hand of a female one.

A barrage of criticism was received from social media activists. Writers from Dawn News and The Daily Times also said that the photoshoot implied male dominance and harassment of females.


3) Alee Hassan, 2017

An emerging photographer was slammed by social media after posting a photo from a shoot called “FAD COFFINS.” Certainly, Alee did not expect the backlash he received on social media of blackfacing a model. He was even criticized by his fellow photographer, Jaffer Hasan. Whatever the motive behind blackfacing is, it has been the subject of many previous controversies across the world as well. A renowned morning show, Jago Pakistan Jago, also took a fair skinned model and turned her dark to allegedly show that even dark-skinned people can have good makeup. So clearly the industry didn’t learn from cases such as Alee’s. 

4) Bata, 2017



People on Twitter were particularly irked by this Awami brand’s sexist ad campaign. The term ‘womanizer’ was printed over a male model’s picture and we all wondered what Bata was trying to convey.  Celebrities like Meesha Shafi and other people also grilled Bata for using such an inappropriate word for their marketing needs. Normalizing this toxic masculinity should be lambasted time and again to ensure no brand takes the issue lightly ever again.



5) Sana Safinaz, 2018


Sana Safinaz came under fire for their March lawn shoot in Kenya. The photoes of black men shielding the model and holding an umbrella for her portrayed racial discrimination and slavery. They tried to pass it off as ethical tourism, which basically entails trying to depict different cultures and using local resources to promote the economy. But Sana Safinaz’s explanation was elitist and daft as their campaign in the first place. So despite the explanation given by the brand for the campaign, the brand was critically bashed by people and bloggers on social media.

In these repetitive incidents, we are led to wonder whether these campaigns are actually deliberate to generate publicity, no matter how negative. And if that is the case we are only perpetuating ourselves all that we hate about the colonial west in the first place. It would be helpful if there is greater action or some accountability against fashion ad campaigns that contain elements of classism, racism, and sexism in their themes. Not everything is art, certainly not something that tries to demean a race, class, or gender.

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*Feature Image Source: Pinterest*


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