, 22 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Why would a company like Hindustan Unilever even consider airing an advertisement as controversial as this?

I'll try and break it down to the best of my abilities.

HUL reported a net income of $840,000,000 in 2016-17 where their sales revenue was upwards of $4.8 billion
Their share prices have been consistently up at Rs. 1,708 as of 11 March 2019.

Safe to say, HUL is one of the big players.
On 8 March 2019, Brooke Bond who's parent company is HUL released an advertisement highlighting the abandonment of elderly parents at the Kumbh Mela.

This ad was immediately met with immense backlash from people who took offense to message in the ad.

A few days later, an ad of Surf Excel gained traction on Twitter. This ad was actually launched in February of 2019 but in light of recent controversy, this got picked up as well.

Indian RW aggressively trended #BoycottSurfExcel

Now why would HUL deliberately launch ad campaigns that they would definitely know would be extremely controversial?

Here's the explanation.
Goliath companies like HUL have large teams of data analysts dedicated to forecasting market share impact. Their promotional materials like the Surf Excel ad is also run through this entire team.
These analysts meticulously crunch numbers in order to make sure that an ad such as this does not cause the company any harm.

Obviously, this ad is controversial. But the question is, can this controversy inherently drive sales for HUL?
The answer is a definite YES.

I don't have the exact numbers right now but given how many times this ad was shared online, their share of impressions and viewership must be easily in he range of 10m+. That's without counting all the times the video has been ripped and reposted.
The fact that there are people supposedly boycotting Surf Excel because of this ad was the most obvious outcome of this situation. A company like HUL obviously has predicted this in their forecasts.

Let's look at the Nike x Kaepernick ad as a means to draw parallels.
On 3 September 2018, Nike launched an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick. The ad was negatively received online by the American right wing.

People started trending #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt in protest. The outrage was MASSIVE.

Far, far larger than the HUL outrage we see today
Even @realDonaldTrump reacted to the Nike ad negatively. This was one of the biggest boycott of a company that we have seen in recent history.

People were destroying all Nike products they owned much like the Surf Excel outrage except multiply it by a few 1,000.
The American RW was sitting at an estimated ~41% of their population who were the ones that was boycotting Nike due to the ad.

Contrast that with India's 31% and you can see the difference in the magnitude of the people who oppose this HUL ad.
But what ultimately happened to Nike?

Their sales revenue saw a 31% growth over a period of less than a week!

Companies die to see that kind of growth numbers and Nike had achieved it through one of the most controversial ad.

Was this a risk Nike took?

Like I said earlier, Nike had huge teams of data analysts that predict risk/benefit ratios of every move they make. Nike knew this would happen. Why?

Because the majority of people who buy Nike products aren't the same demographic as the ones boycotting Nike.
Nike's target market is vastly LW or liberals. This is where they played the advantage move. By casting a controversial figure like Kaepernick, Nike had capitalized on the growing sentiment surrounding him and managed to turn it into sales numbers.
That's what HUL is doing. India has a 69% (probably more now) of LW/liberal population. That's a huge majority.
This ad is most definitely curated to create controversy by pitting the 31% against the 69% and much like Nike they chose the most controversial topic of today.
The RW boycott of HUL is a pretty much a joke in terms of long term effect (or even short term) for the company.

Watch their total portfolio sales revenue numbers inflate over the next few weeks. This is a classic strategy employed by large companies.
Also there's a joke in there somewhere about HUL thinking that the RW of India don't use their products within the hygiene category.

Key takeaway here is that all the outrage by the Indian RW won't even make a tiny dent on HUL's overall sales.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
This graphic shows the hashtags used in trending the ad controversy.
Ideally a person wanting to boycott the company would use #BoycottSurfExcel and a person I'm support would use just #SurfExcel. That's what I've noticed.

You can see HUL would've already known this all along.
Thanks @fs0c131y for the graphic.
Observe HUL's share price from ~10th March

Constant growth.

I'm predicting this trend to continue until the outrage dies down.

The boycotting clearly had the reverse effect of what the boycotters were expecting. HUL is laughing all the way to the bank.
*in support
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