Boycott Hanes Underwear: Racist, Homophobic Ads in India

These Hanes underwear ads are racist and homophobic! I feel like Boycotting Hanes, but I don’t buy Hanes! LOL These ads were distributed under the tag line “Hanes. Because the world gives you enough labels”. They were designed by the Bombay branch of advertising giant McCann Erickson to promote their tagless line.  Notice that the words “HIV Positive” appear on the “nigger” ad.  So “black people have HIV” is now on the list of stereotypes???  Really?  Is this what people in India (the target market for these ads) think of black people?  How many “niggers” are there in India?  Why even bring us into it???  Did they plan to introduce these ads to the UK…USA in the future?  Oh and for all of you who think I missed the point, don’t think I don’t get what they were trying to say with these ads…I get it.  I really do and I think it’s horrible.

nigger hanes ad
usage of drugs, guns, prisons, blue-collar jobs, and angry words

faggot hanes ad
same-sex relations, s&m, sex toys, alcohol and vanity (cosmetics).

paki hanes ad
Paki is a racist name for a person of Pakistani origin, you see references to tanks, bullets, bombs and pigs.

Someone needs to show Michael Jordan this mess.  But then again…he was in the Cuba “Step n Fetchit” Gooding Jr. TV ads, so he might not care.  What do you think?  Indie Quill did a round up on what bloggers and blog readers are saying about these ads.  Ads of the World, where I first read about this, has pulled the ads from their site.  Ummm…wonder why?  LOL


Filed under angry, black, culture, news, race

11 responses to “Boycott Hanes Underwear: Racist, Homophobic Ads in India

  1. Dennis

    I (kind of) appreciate what the ads are trying to do, but did people at the ad agency miss the meeting where they were told that they’re trying to sell friggin’ underwear? How the hell are these ads supposed to sell underwear other than by generating buzz through controversy?

  2. Pingback: New Hanes ads absoutely insane «

  3. I think the graphic designers were trying too hard to be creative here…and lost sight of what product they were selling LOL.

  4. ram

    Here’s an article in the Indian media on the same
    MUMBAI: They were ads that McCann-Erickson India was hoping would win them some international awards. Instead, they have now snowballed into an international controversy.

    The ads in question were three print ads ostensibly conceived for innerwear brand Hanes owned by the $4.7-billion Hanes Brands, which also owns Wonderbra and Playtex.

    The ads featured a man dragging offensive images and racist words associated with the gay (f***ot), the African-American (n***er) and the South Asian (P**i) communities, which appeared once each on December 26, 27 and 28, 2007, in the Free Press Journal.

    Prasoon Joshi, chairman and national creative director of McCann, issued the following statement to ET, after first expressing shock that the ads were released in the Free Press Journal, “We have withdrawn the ads and also apologised to McCann Worldwide, stating it was a mistake. A young team in its excitement and passion for winning awards went overboard. The intention was never to hurt anyone’s sentiments and it was done in complete innocence.”

    In April this year, the ads caught the eye of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in the US, which took offence and contacted Hanes stating that the use of the word F***ot and other slurs to sell products was reprehensible.

    When ET got in touch with Matt Hall, vice-president, external communication of Hanes Brands, who is based in New York, here is what he had to say, “These are fake ads created by the agency without our knowledge and for its interest only. The fake ads were inappropriate and unethically developed by McCann-Erickson and they have committed the worst possible breach of trust, and the repercussions will clearly be of the most severe kind.”

    An angry Mr Hall went on to say these ads were solely created for the purpose of advertising competitions and that the company has demanded that McCann cease using its intellectual property without permission. “Hanes Brands has taken up the matter with McCann-Erickson’s parent company IPG, which is investigating the matter,” he said.

    Mr Joshi insists that he had never seen the ads before their release and he has no idea how they found their way into the Free Press Journal. When asked if a client sanction was sought for the ads, Mr Joshi insists that this should be seen as experimental advertising (meant only for the web).

    Sources within the agency say since Hanes is not a major account for the agency, it is not too worried about losing the account in India. There does seem to be some kind of violation of international agency policies and procedures if one goes by what IPG executive vice-president Philippe Krakowsky told ET.

    He said, “We have identified the circumstances that led to this violation of our policies and our trust, and we are taking immediate corrective action. These fake ads were wholly inconsistent with the interest of the Hanes brand. They would never have been approved had our internal procedures been followed and, accordingly, should never have been publicly distributed.”

    Despite what his colleague at IPG has to say, Mr Joshi seems to think that there is no way in which such practices can be weeded out. Mr Joshi told ET, “Our regular ads are incapable of making it big internationally. Hence, all agencies stoop to one-off advertising. This is the normal practice across the entire Asia-Pacific region.”

    While the agency could end up losing the business, it is unlikely that it will either publicly apologise to the gay and lesbian community in India. The agency insists that the person in charge of the award, Akshay Kapnadak, was responsible for its entries.

    However, when ET spoke to him he said, “While I enter the ads for the awards, I do not make the decision on what creatives qualify for its entry.” On being asked who approves and authorises entries for awards he said, “You should speak to Prasoon about that as I am unable to comment on the issue.”

    This is not the first time that McCann India has got into trouble. A similar incident took place a few years ago when a member of their creative team created an ad called ‘United Colours of Domestic Violence’ for Benetton. Benetton was not McCann’s client and the company took strong objection to the ad.

  5. Pingback: Update: From the agency that created the racist homophobic Hanes ads « Hello, Negro

  6. Jibran T. Siddiqui

    What a racist agency!

    and yes, they failed to convey the product they are selling. Poor ad, controversial and racist as well.

  7. jimmyjazz

    I can’t believe you can get away with using the N word and faxxot in advertising in India! They’d never get away with that here! I think they’re just going for shock value. Calvin Klein pushed the envelope and some of his ads were pulled…but this is rediculous.

  8. Maz

    Just enjoy who you are.
    Good luck.

  9. Tirade

    What teh eff are they even trying to sell? I’d never guess ‘underwear’ from those ads. I look at that and see either offensive, racist bullshit, or an artist trying to be avante guarde and making commentary on offensive, racist bullshit. I don’t see ‘buy underwear’ anywhere there.

  10. This has to be one of the most misguided campaigns ever. I can see what they were trying to do but Hanes do seem to have gone about it completely the wrong way.

    The worse thing is there’s no sign of underwear in the advert, which means even if people did like it they’re not going to ever remember what it was for…

  11. don


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