When it comes to marketing, brands will resort to anything to sell their product. The quest to get their products viral and sold has made the brands turn a blind eye to the most serious issues. Exploiting the marginalised community or using people as mere props has become a practice observed by even the biggest brands. However, the question is, what is the standard when it comes to such campaigns? Who comes out with the idea? Are these people being paid for sitting and posing in the same position for hours? Last but not the least, is this practice ethical or unethical? The question was asked after the recent campaign of 9Lines.
9Lines is a Pakistani brand known for its vibrant and funky accessories and clothing lines catered to all age groups. They offer a myriad of products from clothing to shoes, bags, jewellery and office accessories, including note pads, water bottles, wall frames and more. Their target audience is someone who likes to stand out in the crowd as they offer significant patterns with solid colours and trendy cuts. Their vibrant colours and aesthetically pleasing social media handles make the brand look hip and cool.
However, a recent campaign has the brand under fire. The latest collection of the brand showed the models in vibrant outfits. While the models posed for the photos, the background showed poor and older adults sitting there as props. Ever since the pictures were released, the brand has been getting backlash over the latest campaign. However, as soon as the issue was highlighted, the brand’s Instagram management took off all the pictures which showed elderly and poor people. Unfortunately for the brand, the photos had already gone viral by that time.
Take a look and let us know what you think.
This is not the first time something like this have surfaced on social media. In 2018, a Pakistani clothing brand made headlines when they used Masai tribe members as props or decorations for their models during a shoot.
A few weeks ago, an Indian influencer was called out over using poor people as aesthetics in her pictures. As she wore an outfit from Sabyasachi X h&m collaboration, she posed for pictures while standing in front of poor people. Many people took to social media to call her out. They also explained that how this practice is taking the focus off of the issues of marginalized community.
The audacity of this influencer to wear a 10k saree & use poor people as background objects for it. Nitibha Kaul has a million followers & her entire page is full of using poor people as aesthetics. Are these people being paid a fair share of her money for collab? They better be pic.twitter.com/JB0S1yEA6t
— Sankul Sonawane (@Sankul333) August 15, 2021
Absolutely disgusting. Using poor people as props and exploiting them, making poverty an aesthetic? Have some shame. pic.twitter.com/6j1n3jLOxx
— yeranxiousoomf (@canya_not) August 15, 2021
In a country where most of the population falls under poverty line, making poverty an aesthetic is insensitive; not to mention the lack of employment opportunities. Only if brands act a little more responsibly, they can use such people for actual work and pay them accordingly, which would be much beneficial for them in the long run.
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