ASCI Guidelines for Gender Stereotype After Layer'r Ad Row: What Are the Rules?

These guidelines come after the government imposed a ban on Layer'r advertisement, which promoted rape culture.

2 min read
ASCI Guidelines for Gender Stereotype After Layer'r Ad Row: What Are the Rules?

In a new set of guidelines released by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Wednesday, 8 June, advertisers have been directed not to indulge in sexual objectification, or depict people in a sexualised manner, in order to increase viewership of their commercials. These guidelines come after the government imposed a ban on Layer'r deodorant advertisement, which promoted rape culture.

What do the guidelines say? What's not allowed? Here's all you need to know.


What does the ASCI consider as 'stereotype?'

The ASCI will consider stereotypes from the perspective of the group of individuals being stereotyped. The use of humour or banter is not likely to overcome the underlying issue of such harmful stereotypes.

The guidelines do not intend to prevent ads from featuring:

a. One gender only, including in advertisements for products developed for and aimed at a particular gender;

b. Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their harmful effects.

Why have the guidelines been issued now?

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has ordered the suspension of two advertisements by the brand Layer’r for their 'Shot' body spray. The ministry has asked Twitter and YouTube to remove the video from their platforms.

This comes after the company faced severe backlash from social media users for "promoting rape culture" in their ads. Meanwhile, the ASCI has said that the ad is in serious breach of the its code.

Adding that it is against public interest, the ASCI said that it has taken immediate action and notified the advertiser to suspend the ad, pending investigation.


What are the updated guidelines on objectification of women?

Advertisements should not indulge in the sexual objectification of characters of any gender or depict people in a sexualised and objectified way for the purposes of titillating viewers.

This would include the use of language or visual treatments in contexts wholly irrelevant to the product.

For example, an online takeaway service featuring an image of a woman wearing lingerie lying back in a provocative pose behind various fast-food items would be considered problematic. Even though the image may not be sexually explicit, by using a suggestive image of a woman that bears no relevance to the advertised product, the ad would be considered objectifying women by presenting them as sexual objects, and therefore is a gender stereotype that is likely to cause harm.

What do the guidelines say on featuring different people from the gender and sexuality spectrum?

"Advertisements should not mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes, their sexual orientation or gender identity, including in a context that is intended to be humorous, hyperbolic or exaggerated," the guidelines said.

For example: Making fun of a same-sex relationship

What happens if ads to not comply with these rules?

The said advertisements are most likely to be banned or taken down by the government in such cases. Watch out this space for more information.

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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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