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For Neeru’s, boozers the best customers?

For Neeru’s, boozers the best customers?
Highlights

In India, advertisements related to liquor products are banned, so are also advertisements that encourage liquor consumption Thats the reason why even...

Hyderabad: In India, advertisements related to liquor products are banned, so are also advertisements that encourage liquor consumption. That's the reason why even well-known liquor brands look for surreptitious ways to promote their alcohol products.

Some companies use their soda products to push their liquor brands and that's called surrogate advertising. While liquor companies are so careful not to promote liquor consumption publicly, Hyderabad-based Neeru’s, which claims itself to be India's ethnic wear brand, does so blatantly through its advertisements these days - be its hoardings in some parts of the city or advertisements in a vernacular daily.

These advertisements showcase a group of youngsters having a gala time, holding wine glasses in their hands and enjoying their drink. Interestingly, majority of people in these advertisements are women. Of course, there is a lone male though. While Sakshi newspaper published Neeru’s advertisements in its Hyderabad tabloid on August 5 and earlier, the same advertisements appeared on billboards near Times of India office in Banjara Hills a few weeks ago. Currently, one such advertisement is on display on a hoarding at a roundabout (in which Indira Gandhi statue is located) on Necklace Road.

Perhaps, in the eyes of the 'ethnic wear brand' which markets designer ethnic wear for women, men and kids through over 63 outlets in India and Dubai, people who consume liquor in public appear to be upscale and fashionistas. Then are boozers’ best customers for the apparel retailer?

Unfortunately, management of Neeru's doesn't know that promotion of liquor consumption in public through any means is not only unethical, but also against law. That's reason why we get to see a statutory warning 'Alcohol consumption is bad for health' in movies whenever an actor or actress is seen consuming alcohol. Neeru's is so reckless that none of its advertisements carry any such warnings. Perhaps, the so-called 'ethnic' wear brand believes that consuming liquor is an 'ethnic trait' of Indians. But that's not true. Majority of Indian families frown upon liquor consumption as a bad habit.

“I have never seen this kind of advertisements earlier as advertising alcohol consumption is against the law. However, there is the menace of surrogate advertisements wherein a liquor company advertises non-alcoholic beverages like soda to push its liquor brands,” says V Lakshmana Reddy, president, Jana Chaitanya Vedika.

He is also Convener for Madya Niyantrana Udyama Committee (MNUC), an activist group agitating against liquor sales and consumption in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. "This type of advertising is against our Constitution. It encourages drinking habits even among women. We have ban on alcohol advertisements", he further says.

He expresses concern over alcohol consumption reaching alarming levels in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, hitting poor families hard. As result, income for the governments jumped nearly fold to Rs 40,000 crore - Rs 20,000 crore each in two Telugu states - from Rs 12,000 crore in undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2014. This revenue was paltry Rs 100 crore in 1970.

The problem is that all political parties like to see poor remain poor so that they can win elections by distributing money. Even communists need poor people for the communism to survive. So, there is no support from political parties for our agitation against liquor consumption, he adds.

Meanwhile, Neeru’s management did not respond to a set of questions on these advertisements, sent by this newspaper.

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