When Gandhi Endorsed Skateboards, Hair Oil and Blackberry | #73
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Raise your hand if you’ve ever complained about October 2nd being a dry day 🙋🏽
Today is Gandhi Jayanti - an event celebrated in India to mark the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Today is also a dry day in most states in India. A lot has been written and said about Gandhi, especially about his life in South Africa. For instance did you know that a pair of golden spectacles (allegedly) owned by him during his time in South Africa, was auctioned for £260,000 in Bristol? You’d assume spectacle brands would have capitalised on his iconic look, but the man has been featured in other absurd advertisements over the years. If it wasn’t obvious enough, this week's newsletter is dedicated to M. K. Gandhi featured in controversial content.
Things we learnt this week 🤓
Eshe Skateboards, a New Zealand skateboarding company released controversial images as part of their "Religion is Garbage ''campaign. The ads were their satirical attempt at poking fun at religion which is usually exempted from criticism and free speech. A tad too edgelord, in our opinion.
During the freedom struggle companies were clearly more concerned with portraying a Swadeshi brand image than appropriate brand representation, because using Gandhi’s image to sell hair oil is like… I don’t know... him endorsing Nike.
The Think Different campaign by Apple in 1997 is arguably the most popular modern ad featuring Gandhi. It apparently encouraged many other brands to follow suit.
Pen-makers Mont Blanc created 241 pieces (inspired by the 241 mile Dandi March) of a limited-series pen on Gandhi, priced at only Rs. 14 Lakh. They also made the ‘Mahatma Gandhi Limited Edition’ fountain pen (Rs.1.7 lakh) and a roller ballpen (Rs.1.5 lakh). Clearly the best way to honour a man who had renounced the luxuries of life.
Swisscom used Gandhi's visage to promote BlackBerry with the headline which translates to, “To spread the good, was never so easy'' and the copy which means "The whole world of apps, now on your BlackBerry''. What’s the connection between the two? We have no idea either.
Gandhi: The Beast Within, inspired from ‘Marvel Comics: What If’ series written by Jason Michalski and illustrated by Antonio Rojo, reimagined Gandhi as a superhero who adopts ahimsa as a way to control his alien powers that unleashes a monster within. Basically, Mahatma Hulk.
IWTK Recommendations 💌
Here are some works that have explored other facets of the Father of the Nation.
Gandhi: Naked Ambitions - The book written by Jad Adams throws light on Gandhi’s problematic views on chastity and his self control experiments that bordered on the behaviour of a sexual predator.
Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India - The biography written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld has made subtle insinuations that Gandhi was a racist and a bisexual.
Gandhi to Hitler (also known as Dear Friend, Hitler) - The multilingual film shows the controversial exchange of letters between Gandhi and Adolf Hitler during World War 2 to depict the contrast between Gandhian ideology and Nazism.
Quiz Alert 🔎
IWTK and @onefuture_india brings you "The Fundamentals Quiz" - a not-for-profit event with the aim of generating awareness surrounding mental health in a fun storytelling format!
Only in India 🇮🇳
This man took paw pampering to a whole new height when he booked the entire business class cabin of Air India while traveling with his dog from Mumbai to Chennai.
Contest Time 🏆
Last week we asked you to guess the brand and product from these iconic taglines. Here are the answers
Fresh ‘n’ Juicy - Frooti
Char Boondo Wala - Ujala
Taste Bhi, Health Bhi - Maggi
The Indian Multinational - Videocon
Made for each other - Wills Navy Cut
The lucky person who got all answers correct was Nikhil Ramesh. Well done, champ! We will get in touch with you for your prize. For today’s question, all you have to do
is tell us - Which side did Gandhi’s head face in the old Indian currency notes?
Reply to this email with your answers. Our interns are monitoring the mailbox even on the weekend 👩🏽💻
Stay safe & carry a towel