A few days ago Indian actress Nargis Fakhri appeared in multiple Urdu language daily newspapers in Pakistan in an ad for telecom giant Mobilink — the ad, which featured Fakhri posing in a red dress with a cell phone, caused a furor. People called the ad out for being inappropriate, for objectifying the actress and also for being just plain nonsensical.
As a comment piece in Aurora Magazine stated, "The focus on Fakhri has no relevance whatsoever to the advertised product... Mobilink has to stop using blatant objectification of women in its advertising. The campaign seems to be a lame attempt to fuel controversy and get everyone to talk about the product."
Nargis Fakhri herself seems to agree. In a statement she issued on the matter that appeared on Indian website Pinkvilla, the actress said: "I've been with Mobilink as their brand ambassador for the last 3 years and there has never been an issue like this. I was unaware that they would consider using this visual for a mainstream newspaper ad — an Urdu daily as it was never meant to be."
She continued: "As a model or celebrity, I have always believed in using my persona to help further a brand's communication but never to have it used where I end up being objectified for my looks. Culturally too, my team and I are aware and respectful of what visuals work for what mediums, markets and audiences and hence given the brand's firm penetration in the Pakistan market, we left it up to their expertise to use the images appropriately."
On December 17 Fakhri had posted a preview of an ad for the telecom company on her Twitter account, saying, "All my Pakistani Fans get ready for a big surprise!"
And the future of the Fakhri's association with Mobilink? We're waiting to find out.