Burger co makes Lakshmi ad, Hindus outraged

Washington: A US-based Hindu advocacy group has asked American fast food chain Burger King to immediately remove an advertisement campaign featuring goddess Lakshmi, which it says is “offensive” to the people of the faith. Washington-based Hindu American Foundation said Burger King is running a print advertisement in Spain that depicts an image of the goddess seated atop a meat sandwich and other foodstuffs with the catch phrase, “A snack that’s sacred,” in Spanish. In the letter written to the company, the HAF has also sought an apology from it for demonstrating lack of cultural and religious sensitivity in this case. “An advertisement knowingly and intentionally using sacred symbols, especially those of another religious tradition for purely commercial purposes can be offensive in and of itself,” said the Managing Director and legal counsel for the Foundation, Suhag Shukla. “Compounding this insult is the use of the sacred image for the sale of a meat product -Burger King’s judgement in associating a burger with a Hindu goddess is absolutely baffling,” Shukla said in a statement. There was no immediate response from the media office of Burger King, when contacted by PTI. Shukla told PTI, the Foundation had written a letter to corporate headquarters of Burger King last Tuesday. “There has been no response from them,” he said. The HAF was informed about the advertisement by one of its members in Spain. “I was horrified to walk by a Burger King store in my neighbourhood to discover an image of the same deity that I worship at my home altar, displayed so disrespectfully promoting a meat sandwich,” said Monica Pahilwani, a Spanish. “A multinational corporation with a global presence should be much more aware of religious and cultural sensitivities, and how truly repelling such an advertisement could be to Hindus,” she said. Spanish Hindus demanding physical removal of all of the ads in Fuengirola, Spain have already met some success locally, HAF said. The geographic reach of the advertisement campaign was unknown, and it is unclear if similar ads are running in other countries as well, it said. “Burger King, in its efforts to drum up sales, seems to be have taken out of its marketing equation respect of ethno-religious sensitivities,” Shukla said. “We are determined to follow this issue to ensure that Burger King stays true to its stated commitment to diversity and inclusion as it reaches out to its global consumers,” he said. But this not the first time Burger King is courting controversy with its advertisements. In April the company was in trouble for an ad called Little Mexican – showing a stereotypical image of Mexicans. The television ad aired in Spain, depicted a tall Texan cowboy living with a short Mexican wrestler. Mexico’s Ambassador to Spain went on to slam the company for insulting Mexicans and their cuisine.

Source: IBN