Why PEMRA Banned Gala Biscuit Ad

It has become common for advertisements in Pakistan to be out of context, breaking the content’s link from the ad’s purpose. Here's why PEMRA took action.

Recently Gala Biscuit released a TV advertisement featuring Pakistani actress, Mehwish Hayat. She can be seen dancing around a flashy, extravagant set for the biscuit commercial. However, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) could not look past Mehwish Hayat’s dance which they condoned for being culturally and morally inappropriate.

Following these concerns, the Gala Biscuit ad got banned from all platforms. The ban took place shortly after the advertisement aired and caused an uproar on social media. Official notification was issued by PEMRA (attached below)

PEMRA bans advertisement of Gala Biscuit - Oyeyeah

The statement reads: “It has been observed with concerns that themes of advertisements of ordinary consumer products like biscuits, surf, etc being aired satellite TV channels are not corresponding with the disposition of these products. The trend is causing unrest and behavioural disturbance among the viewers being not only in violation of the commonly accepted standards of decency but also the socio-cultural norms of Pakistani society.”
“In this context, viewers are criticising PEMRA on Twitter for allowing…such indecent advertisements. Pertinently, viewers are of the view that airing advertisements regarding general consumer products like biscuits in such a bizarre manner where the visuals do not commensurate with the use of the products is unwarranted and needs to be looked into. In addition to this, complainants are of the opinion that the presentation of the products in such manner is wittingly or unwittingly merely aiming to promote consumerism,” it added.
“Therefore, all…are advised to sensitize their members to give consideration to the public concerns on the themes of the advertisement and specifically review the content of the advertisement of ‘Gala Biscuit’ by giving due credence to the apprehension of the views”, the notification added.

In the public eye, Mehwish Hayat’s dance was not in accordance with the product being advertised neither was it culturally appropriate. Moreover, because a biscuit is being advertised, the purpose of such an exorbitant set did not sit well as the shimmering costumes and flashy background diverts attention from the purpose of the advertisement. It has become common for advertisements in Pakistan are out of context, breaking the content’s link from the ad’s purpose.

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