Car ad with elephants kicks up controversy

Many conservationists, including those from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), have taken strong objection to a recent television advertisement of Renault India’s hatchback Kwid car.

The ad shows a group of friends, travelling in a car along a jungle road, trying to help a herd of wild elephants find a lost calf.

“While we welcome the inclusion of wildlife and their issues in commercials, we strongly suggest that experts are consulted, a detailed research is carried by the firms concerned and only facts are represented. At the end of the day, the commercial should be portrayed in a way which is beneficial to both wildlife and humans,” said WCS India country director Prakriti Srivastava.

She said that it can be argued that this is ‘just an ad’ which actually preaches love for wildlife. But many impressionable youngsters will want to test their mettle with an elephant herd, with undesirable results. The need of the hour is both to conserve the dwindling wildlife and to protect human lives. The media has a very responsible and powerful role to play in this, she said.

Television commercials reach millions. In selling a brand, the product features are conveyed through a fictional story. However, where the story has the potential to send out a wrong message, it is incumbent upon the firm to make sure they have their facts right. In this case, the carmaker could still have used the jungle backdrop with the elephants, but with a different story. If it only had to consult a wildlife expert, WCS stated.

Elephants are individualistic and hence, can be unpredictable. Driving into the midst of an elephant herd can be very dangerous and promoting such human behaviour can put people’s lives at risk. Elephants can be particularly protective with calves around and can chase vehicles when they perceive a threat.

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Car ad with elephants kicks up controversy

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