Sabyasachi’s ad trolled for ‘sad’ looking models

Published Nov 28, 2021, 11:18 pm IST
Updated Nov 29, 2021, 1:20 am IST
Sabya’s latest A/W2021 jewellery collection has attracted criticism for being 'anti-Indian' and 'unhealthy' for models to look sad
Models posing for Sabyasachi Mukherjee advertisement
 Models posing for Sabyasachi Mukherjee advertisement

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has seen quite a dive in popularity. A few weeks after his Mangalsutra ad drew flak from trolls for hurting ‘Hindu sentiments’, his latest online jewellery campaign has gone viral again — all for the wrong reasons.

While Sabya is no stranger to fashion and nationalistic trolls, one wonders if controversy is a crowd-puller for his brands or if it’s just another unlucky coincidence that he’s targeted for unorthodox campaigns. Earlier this year, trolls targeted Sabya’s H&M brand collaboration for being too expensive and featuring same-sex couples in some posts.


He was then under fire for his ads for an intimate fine jewellery collection of ‘Mangalsutra’. It had received severe backlash for being anti-Hindu, and he was forced to withdraw the campaign.

The toxic tweet test

While Sabya is often targeted by “self-proclaimed” online custodians of Indian culture for being too bold and unconventional, this time vicious trolls have compared his ad to domestic violence victims.

A user called ManGo Man Tweeted, “Oh these are models! I thought they are super rich domestically abused women. No shringaar or even happiness that I can see. Just looks burdened with to keep their heads high with expensive jewelleries around neck to save embarrassment [sic].”


Another user lashed out, “All these models need to go on detox diet. Look at those constipated looks n lusterless skin. They all look so unwell. It’s like “Pet kaat-kaat ke” Buying the Sabyasachi (sic).”

However, there were responses from followers who couldn’t help but share their thoughts on the trolls’ opinions. One such user wrote, “The number of women I have seen troll these 3 models over their looks is sickeningly high. The ad is literally for Sabyasachi jewelry. So I don’t understand the obsession on their “lusterless skin”. Just say yall have an issue w models looking like average Indian women in an ad [sic].”


Good, bad, and controversial publicity

For a brand, any publicity is believed to be good publicity. However, can negative publicity promise good business, especially for an established brand? Could bad publicity take away the attention from products and malign the brand value instead?

Digital content creator Manu Mahalwar believes that if it’s a PR and marketing plan to be in news, it could prove to be too daring. “With so many international brands already making a mark in the Indian market, for a local label, it is a cutthroat race and it gets difficult to stand out. Memes and getting trolled online are the best way to get eyeballs in the current times,” thinks Manu.


“Curious minds would either click on the link or would step into the store to see what the buzz is about. If this is a strategy by the brand, I think it is a pretty bold move.”

Manisha Rao, a luxury expert and founder of The Luxe Café, thinks it’s unfair to troll creativity. She says, “As far as fashion is concerned, the clothes and jewellery in the posts are good. The face of the model does add value to the product but it should not be the reason for a showdown or boycott. These days it is very easy to do target trolls for anyone who is doing something different. I feel most of the trolls don’t even understand couture or high-end fashion, but they can’t resist commenting.”