Sana Safinaz’s lawn: How Uncoolie

Published: March 16, 2012

PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS

PHOTO: FILE Shah Mohammad. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS Mohammad Ilyas. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS PHOTO: PUBLICITY PHOTO: PUBLICITY PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

Their faces are on billboards. One carries a distinctive Louis Vuitton bag. A glamorous supermodel poses in front of them.

It is the advertisement that has sparked outrage on social media websites. Part of the campaign for Sana Safinaz’s designer lawn, the ad showing model Neha Ahmed posing in front of coolies has caused a stir online, with people calling for a boycott of the lawn because they have found the ad distasteful and exploitative.

But at Karachi’s Cantt station, the coolies featured in the advertisement are quite unaware that they’re the subject of dozens of tweets and Facebook updates.

In fact, they have no idea that they are in a lawn advertisement.

Three of the coolies who feature in the Sana Safinaz lawn campaign had no idea it was an advertisement for fabric. “We were told it was for a drama serial,” says Mohammad Ilyas, a coolie from Gujrat.

“This is an advertisement for lawn,” I tell them, zooming into the photo on my phone. “That is the girl… and that’s me in the background,” Ilyas says.

According to the coolies, a couple of weeks ago their contractor (thekaydar) Allah Ditta was approached by the people behind the lawn campaign, who asked for several coolies to feature in a “film”.

The shoot took place at two railway stations over two days, the City Railway Station and the one at Drigh Road. Twelve coolies went to the shoot at City, seven of them to the Drigh Road Station.

“There were about a hundred, 150 people at the shooting,” Ilyas said. “They had arranged for a train (for the shoot). We were told to pick up bags — they had brought all these boxes and bags — and take them on and off the train. The train was decorated with balloons etc.”

The three coolies interviewed described being paid varied amounts. Ilyas said the men were given Rs600 per day for their labour, and were offered food on the first day of the shoot, but not the second. The shoot ran from 6 am to 6 pm. “We make Rs600 or so in a day as well,” said Ilyas, who has worked at Cantt Station for 20 years. “So for us this was labour.”

The men were also given clothes to wear under their distinctive red uniforms and badges.

Shah Mohammad strolls up in his shalwar kameez and begins to put on his uniform, proclaiming him as Number 206. He ties his badge on and then peers at the photo. Sixty-five and a 40-year veteran at the Cantt Station, Shah Mohammad is the man who held the now famed Louis Vuitton bag in the advertisement.

But like Ilyas, he is unaware he’s the star of an advertisement.

“I’ll go and see it now,” he says, when told that the billboards have gone up around the city.

Mohammad says the men were also given an additional Rs2,000 at the end of the day.

But while online commentators have raised questions of exploitation and that the advertisement is in bad taste, Shah Mohammad says, “It seemed fine to us.”

Mohammad Asif, 32, can’t see himself in the image, but says he was at the shoot. He has spent half his life working as a coolie, and says he was paid Rs500 for being at the Drigh Road shoot. “There isn’t anything wrong about this.”’

Shani, part of the Lahore-based photographer duo Guddu Shani who shot the advertisement campaign, told The Express Tribune that the ad has been misconstrued. “This was a theme in the ad campaign. The purpose was that Sana Safinaz is trying to lower their prices and penetrate the masses. So we’ve shown Neha sitting on the floor and mingling with them, but people have misinterpreted that. It’s a big brand, and we wanted to show the mix of a high-end brand with street fashion. We’ve always preferred local places to shoot, we did a shoot last year with Gul Ahmed and the model Ayaan that also featured coolies standing at the side and smiling. We shot other ads in factories with welders etc.”

According to Shani, the campaign makes sense in the larger context of the entire campaign, which comprises print and television commercials.

Shani says the coolies definitely knew they were in a lawn campaign and were “very happy”.

“They were smiling and laughing, they were excited that their pictures would be on billboards.” Abid Ali, whose production company AFAS Productions managed the shoot, said the coolies were paid “Rs10,000 each” for the two-day shoot. “A boy from my staff went to organise this and we had permission to use the trains,” he said.

Designer Safinaz Munir says “people have just taken one image out and are passing judgment” and not “looking at the entire ad campaign in its totality”.

“Our intentions are so pure,” Munir said, “It’s really sad. It doesn’t matter to me that 20, 30 people are passing judgment. On the other hand, we’ve had thousands of people who’ve loved the ads and the designs. And railway stations have been used in so many campaigns — 10 years ago Samina Ibrahim did a very similar shoot for Herald with [designer] Rizwan Beyg, train stations are in the Ufone campaign too.”

But Munir isn’t deterred by the criticism. “We’re public figures and if you can’t take this you shouldn’t be in the public eye. It goes with the territory.”

“Everyone uses porters for luggage. No one carries their own luggage,” Munir said, whose personal luggage was used in the advertisements. “Like your driver drives your car, that’s his job.”

Advertising executive and The Express Tribune columnist Sami Shah says that, “If you spend any time with Photoshop, you can see that the coolies and the woman were shot separately. So this isn’t a case of them and her being in the same shoot at the same time, which would have been, at least, more of a concept.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2012.

Reader Comments (61)

  • WhatThe..
    Mar 16, 2012 - 10:46PM

    How condescendingly elitist. It’s like parading a plate of expensive Black Sea caviar infront of hungry African orphans and calling it art. Who are these PR people? Also I wonder if they have the rights to use LV items in their ads.Recommend

  • zehra
    Mar 16, 2012 - 10:51PM

    “The purpose was that Sana Safinaz is trying to lower their prices and penetrate the masses. So we’ve shown Neha sitting on the floor and mingling with them”

    Yeah right. There was no mingling with the coolies. They were simply used as PROPS.

    Recommend

  • Vush
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:05PM

    Is this for real? Chopping down even half os Sana safinaz lawn the prices would still cater to the upper middle class n here they are showing coolies? maybe possible when baba tuktuk improvises his style…

    Recommend

  • Zainab
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:08PM

    I think this lower prices strategy is something that SS’s PR team has come up with now to salvage the situation. This stupid tactic wont workRecommend

  • Me
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:14PM

    pls focus on real issues.. And internet activists pls stop turning everything into a cause….So the coolies earned a few extra bucks and are thrilled to be on billboards whilst portraying themselves doing their job, not some dirty deed. Deal with it. Sana Safinaz need not be irked either, this got them a bit of extra press.Recommend

  • Zainab
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:16PM

    and do you think that by writing articles about how many thousands they paid to the coolies it will make it all better. They are poor people ofcourse they will be fine with the situation as long as they get money but its the whole concept of the campaign that makes me sick. AND NOBODY IS GOING BUY THIS LAME EXCUSE THAT THE THEME OF THE CAMPAIGN WAS THAT SANA SAFINAZ IS LOWERING ITS PRICES. They are lowering it probably now at the last minuteRecommend

  • A fan
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:18PM

    If the prices are supposed to be low why the LV bag?

    Recommend

  • AFE
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:24PM

    this type of marketing is really distasteful and shows a very bad image of this brand..

    Recommend

  • Mar 16, 2012 - 11:28PM

    well the title “how uncoolie” says it all…nevertheless what else to expect from these burger designers.

    Recommend

  • Asad
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:30PM

    Typical ET elitist, burger, disconnected from reality news report.

    Recommend

  • Hirra
    Mar 16, 2012 - 11:34PM

    Displaying Louis vuitton and Hermes and lowering their prices doesn’t go together! Nor buying it!

    Recommend

  • BLing BLing
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:26AM

    If they keep their prices affordable and the products still quality then they would not need to spend shooting campaigns with coolies to convince the masses that they can also buy it.

    Recommend

  • Baba Ji
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:32AM

    Whats the big deal ? I fail to understand !!!

    Recommend

  • far
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:44AM

    these suits will sell from rupees …5000 upwards hmmm …penetrate in the masses ????

    Recommend

  • Torrent
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:48AM

    Here is how i think they developed this campaign:
    1. Some one gave them the tagline – “how uncoolie” most probably the PR.
    2. Guudu and Shani translated this into these cheesy photographs you see here.
    3. This had nothing to do with the prices, the thing that’s clearly portrayed here is that those who choose SS are better than the wanna-be cool lot (read coolies) – nice pun I must say.
    4. Regardless of the financial compensation it’s unethical for photographers to shoot these pictures without letting the models know the purpose of the shot.
    5. I don’t get what Sami Shah is trying to say, it’s an ad campaign not photojournalism.
    6. Finally – who cares! Don’t we have to prepare for Pakistan vs India tomorrow HahahaRecommend

  • Spacer
    Mar 17, 2012 - 1:07AM

    Guys just step out of this boycott bandwagon cum DPC…
    This is just an ad, these guys are meant to fabricate a concept for the masses, this happens all the time in the era we live in. Don’t judge them as your political leaders.
    .
    I don’t know from where Sami did his photoshop course from, but these photographs were taken together (read what ilyas says about the model). Most probably with plenty of dodges/burns and lighting setups for the model to stand out.

    Recommend

  • ShaheeN shah
    Mar 17, 2012 - 2:19AM

    @Me:
    Precisely u think it’s a win win situation but did you manage to skip the part where the coolies were given 600 as opposed to the 10k they were promised or assigned to in their litigations? Now where did all that money dissaoear off as it trickled down from the CEO to the people who worked for it? Earning extra bucks is perfectly fine but while your selling lawn as if it was gold even if it was a paunchy avatar ( ur brand name will do it) but please pay due credence. They deserve that as well as u mint money off the lawn frenzy which captures the nation’s heart. Let’s just say it’s the new humsafar for ladies …please do give these coolies their deserved money.

    Recommend

  • Taniya
    Mar 17, 2012 - 3:07AM

    Im pleasantly suprised that our public found this campaign socially unacceptable,
    Its about time we broke the class barriers and made sure this kind of divide will not be tolerated , bless the poor coolies though and Ms Munir please atleast have the grace to apologise rather than defend your mistake, its funny how well travelled or educated some people may be their caved mentality remains unchanged specially if it does not benefit them.

    Recommend

  • habiba
    Mar 17, 2012 - 4:06AM

    seems theres no nee dfor Isanis and Taha’s to come with their excuses and get lawn loyalty joras from SS !! every one did their job well in comments

    Recommend

  • Disgusted
    Mar 17, 2012 - 6:01AM

    Yeah, thanks Safinaz Munir, but I carry my own bags, and I don’t have a driver. So park your ad hominem justifications, which only reveal how out of touch you are. There are more conscientious people out there than the ones you chose to interact with.

    Recommend

  • Disgusted
    Mar 17, 2012 - 6:10AM

    ““Let’s make some bets — Those creating the most hoopala about #sanasafinaz will be the 1st ppl in line for their lawns!#doublestandards (sic),” tweeted Chinoy, the documentary filmmaker. “

    Seriously Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy? You’re just as bad. Maybe if you weren’t so busy shooting documentaries with simplistic, made-for-the-West narratives you would see that there are people who have access to the internet and the will to make their voices heard who do not live (by necessity or choice) the same lifestyle that you do. Just saying.

    Recommend

  • American Pakistani
    Mar 17, 2012 - 6:47AM

    It looks weird because the model is practically using these men as backdrop (and there’s no interaction). If they had made it casual and grounded, it would have been a more fun campaign.
    I love the colors though.Recommend

  • raw is war
    Mar 17, 2012 - 8:21AM

    amazing. even coolies in India wear red.

    Recommend

  • Basit
    Mar 17, 2012 - 10:02AM

    The epitome of liberal forethought. No wonder liberal elite rule of Pakistan has been so disastrous.

    Recommend

  • The Scientist
    Mar 17, 2012 - 11:25AM

    Funny seeing people commenting against an ad campaign and labelling it as an elitist agenda – as if they bought their computers through the zakat fund.
    I am standing by the campaign, there is nothing explicit about it.

    Recommend

  • DoPyaza
    Mar 17, 2012 - 11:33AM

    So much outrage on an ad campaign?
    Difa-e-Pakistan council Zindabad!

    Recommend

  • litmus
    Mar 17, 2012 - 11:37AM

    lowering prices ?penetrate masses ?? since when can our masses afford $60,000 crocodile birkins and $1000 louboutin shoes?!. sana safinaz have really lost the plot this year. our masses dont wear 10 carat diamonds in thier hands and go parading about train stations.

    Recommend

  • PoutyPoppins
    Mar 17, 2012 - 11:59AM

    A computer in this day and age is pretty much a necessity….it’s educational/communication value unprecedented. When I was born…my father told my mother he would start saving up for a computer…because they will become important by the time I grew up…and it’s true. Making the computer/ sana safinaz lawn comparison is absolutely retarded. Computers have the ability to open up minds, and change lives….lawn does not. And I also don’t agree with the being first to run out and buy SS lawn. Big fan of their couture work…but lawn? a big no no. Dunno why people r so quick to make assumptions.

    Recommend

  • nha
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Time for Misses S & S to think seriously about ‘corporate social responsibility’. And to stop being so tiresomely derivative in their advertising campaigns. It all been done before, ladies. Come up with something more original!

    Recommend

  • Mohsin Sayeed
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:21PM

    It is hilarious to see people mounting on their moral high horses and issuing condescending, holier-than-thou kind of statements, forgetting that they are guilty of the same what they are accusing Sana Safinaz of: elitism. In fact, such commentators are worse as they are guilty of moral elitism–perhaps, the worst kind of elitism.

    To all those who criticise Sana Safinaz lawn campaign; who don’t understand fashion; who love to run fashion down and all those who are associated with it: “I think what I often see is that people are frighteened about fashion. Because it scares them or make them feel insecure they just put it down. On the whole people that may say, the meanny things about our world I think that’s usually because they feel, in some ways, excluded or, you know, not a part of ‘the cool group’ so as a result they just mock it.”–Anna Wintour

    Recommend

  • Mira
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:55PM

    Oh lay off! The poor model is at the railway station in the first place because she blew all her wealth on her SS joras (SS snicker) and her LV gear so she can’t afford to fly anymore :( And it’s those nasty, insensitive coolies who are silently laughing at her plight as they finger the fat wads of cash in their pockets.

    Recommend

  • Hani Taha
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:56PM

    @Habiba can you please provide proof of ‘loyalty joras’ ever given to the Taha that you mentioned. Please refrain from soiling the names of reporters when you do not know them personally

    Recommend

  • Ouch
    Mar 17, 2012 - 1:14PM

    @raw is war: u both are same.Ain’t u

    Recommend

  • Saadat Hussain
    Mar 17, 2012 - 1:36PM

    @Disgusted:

    This is very cynical. As long as there is a protest, a boycott or just someone or something to scathe, there is meaning to life for a lot of very luxuriously living (probably off someone else’s labour) “progressives”.

    Shermeen Obaid-Chinoy is just as bad because of complaining about it and because she made an issue of something that should have been highlighted if these progressives werent too busy whining about it over their lattes and croissants
    Sana Safinaz or some other lawn when they do the cardinal sin of – just being there, or something equally egregious – these carrion eaters will come out in droves, their feeding frenzy to ravish

    Oh God if not these then the mullahs. Have you really cursed us so much

    Recommend

  • Erum K
    Mar 17, 2012 - 1:46PM

    Both the campaign & the explanation not convincing…It would’ve been perceived positively if the model was shown mingling with the coolies in a humane context

    Recommend

  • M Jay
    Mar 17, 2012 - 2:20PM

    The top most comment: “condescendingly elitist” and then “caviar” Hahahaha elitist people and their elitist analogies!

    Recommend

  • Kkk
    Mar 17, 2012 - 2:56PM

    There is nothing wrong with the ad. The illiberal-liberals were unable to keep their mullah face in hiding.

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 17, 2012 - 3:45PM

    This is what happens when ET doesn’t come out with something fresh on Veena Malik every few days………people are then forced to grab onto anything, in order to blab.

    Recommend

  • Mohsin Sayeed
    Mar 17, 2012 - 4:30PM

    “Fashion reflects culture; it reflects our times. A great fashion photograph can tell you just as much about what is going on in our world as any headline or TV report,”–Anna Wintour

    Recommend

  • Mar 17, 2012 - 6:06PM

    I feel great to see that our people are on the web, talking about things they see around themselves and discussing the factors behind them. Talk, blab, chat, share, do anything, it makes the audience and consumers more powerful and takes us one step closer to becoming an information society.

    Recommend

  • Spacer
    Mar 17, 2012 - 6:47PM

    @Erum K “Both the campaign & the explanation not convincing…It would’ve been perceived positively if the model was shown mingling with the coolies in a humane context”
    .
    Is the female model whipping the coolies? Aren’t the coolies doing what they are supposed to do – carry luggage?
    .
    This – is – a more humane context, how many times have you seen women intermingle with coolies?

    Recommend

  • marium
    Mar 17, 2012 - 6:51PM

    IF the coolies were paid fairly or well…I dont see a problem with the ad.

    Other then the fact that middle class ladies travelling on trains do not carry LV bags, a simpler samsonite would have done the trick. But that is the only blunder I see.

    Btw..this isnt the first ad of its kind, a google search would show a lot of international ads done the same way.

    Recommend

  • Mar 17, 2012 - 7:04PM

    While SanaSafinaz achieve huge profits; these profits are clearly not equally and fairly distributed to the level of the common laborer – including textile workers, weavers, power loom workers, dyers and cotton pickers. I think what would be fair is if they all saw an increase in living standard – which they have not. Which is why the class divide depicted in the ad is inexcusable and insensitive.

    The allegation against SanaSafinaz that the coolies were not told exactly how their image would be be put to use amounts to a fraudulent representation which should be investigated. Everyone has a right to privacy, and a right to benefit from their own image (or at least not have others benefit from these in a manner that they had not consented to and were ignorant about) Had the coolies been provided disclosure of the nature of their business, they could have bargained in a more informed way.

    Moreover, the picture is Orientalist. True all people are brown here. Its the class and neo-liberal undertones. The railway worker and the Pakistan Railways have suffered a neo liberalization/military assault that has destroyed the latter as an institution over the last twenty years. The railway worker aptly is depicted as a relic of the past. Most rich people, including the upper class woman in the ad with her LV bag, would travel by air. Trains are simply thrown in as backdrop, the coolies as props, for the sake of nostalgia. The colors and mood invoke a sense of the colonial period. The upper class woman is akin to a white woman, with a sense of entitlement and arrogance, commanding servitude from the other, the coolie, the native, the dying working class crushed under colonization’s new form, neo liberalization

    Coolies are struggling to get their pension funds, and work under an onerous contractual system. The barely make enough to survive. Infrastructure has been neglected; funds and freight jobs siphoned off by the National Logistics Cell – there have attempts of privatization – the government has horribly neglected the railways and in fact the the two military regimes of Zia and Musharaff in collusion with the world bank have devoured the institution. The current railways minster is bent on taking the destruction beyond repair.

    And now this ad.

    I am not saying that the makers or the ad and the SS corporation had thought about all these implications – which is worse. It makes them appear wanton and irresponsible that they have not fully understood what it means to depict and represent the working class in a sector that has been destroyed by the an unjust economic system – where coolies have lost livelihoods – and niche businesses like SS have made crores.

    Please read the articles for further info. about railways workers and PR,
    http://issuu.com/loungemagazine/docs/review59for_web
    ttp://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-62101-Coolies%E2%80%99-livelihood-goes-off-the-rail

    And demand that sanasafinaz issue an official apology and provide compensation and damages to the concerned railway workers and unions.

    Recommend

  • WhatThe...
    Mar 17, 2012 - 10:52PM

    also can I just say great article Saba for bringing this to everyone’s attention, I dunno how much flak you are going to receive for this piece within your circle, but I live abroad and would have never been able to find out about this ad hadnt it been for this article.

    Recommend

  • Huma
    Mar 18, 2012 - 1:54AM

    coolies pick up luggage at the railway station and porters at the airport.
    ppl in pakistan use LV luggage (i dont, but i’ve seen it) and if they are at a railway station/the airport, the coolie/porter will pick it up for them.
    even ppl who dont use LV luggage use coolies and porters to carry their luggage.
    despite all the shouting and screaming, we have designer lawn, and women are buying it in droves, including lawn by sana n safinaz.
    the coolies obviously knew thet were part of some sort of production, whether they thought it was a movie or an advertisement or even a music video, so it wasnt as if their images were being shot without their knowledge/consent.
    however, if they weren’t given the proper amount of money thats not good.
    as for the rest of the outcry, brands have ads, and there was no discrimination or exploitation in showing coolies doing their job. the LV luggage notwithstanding.

    Im a liberal and all for no exploitation/standing up for rights etc, but this one is just plain dumb.

    Recommend

  • tobuy ornot
    Mar 18, 2012 - 6:37AM

    Fake LV bags represent the level of originality of this campaign.

    Recommend

  • ZYX
    Mar 18, 2012 - 9:41AM

    @Asad:

    I happen to think that ET is purposely practicing its ability to generate outrage. This media outlet thrives on emotion, not news. The weekly themes of forced conversions, minority oppression, and big bad Islam are interspersed with other items designed to test impact, i.e. the Maya Khan story, this Sana and Safinaz Story, and keep watching and they’ll be doing more of this. In essence, ET seems to be an experiment. Those twitter revolutions and facebook protests didnt come out of thin air. There was always foreign affiliation and that link trained and practiced dry runs before the real deal. This is what ET looks like to me…a foreign implant in Pakistan with a specific role.

    Recommend

  • Marketeer
    Mar 18, 2012 - 12:50PM

    A few comments as a Brand builder, marketeer. The only thing wrong about the campaign is lack of originality and blatant display of wealth.
    The fact that this divide in our society exists and it’s getting wider should not be displayed so openly as it comes as a mockery of our society and seems distasteful.
    This requires a bit deeper analysis. Regardless of who came up with the concept, it was approved by SS, hence it represents the brands elitest snob appeal, and as we know from the past response their brand received, there is a huge following and its growing bigger, hence they are moving from exhibition to distribution to stores, to increase their reach.
    At the end of the day, it’s just Lawn, a fabric produced in France to be worn in the hot summer days, for it’s sheer light weight properties. BTW the reason it’s called Lawn is because it was created first in La’on, a city in France, Gul Ahmed take note!
    Now about the originality of the campaign, it seems inspired by a fashion shoot featured in Vogue India, LV travel bag campaign and recent LV Spring summer fashion show held at a train station in France, sans the coolies. And of course how can one forget Asim Jofa’s campaign……..no need to go there, we all know how that ended.
    BTW one should also take note of the comments made by conservatives demanding against using models for lawn ads and boycotting the products hmm…….I wonder if these ppl use soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc etc

    Recommend

  • not impressed
    Mar 18, 2012 - 4:27PM

    i’m sure louis vuitton (or however you spell it) will be floored to hear his bags are getting free publicity in Pakistan (not). Moreover I’m impressed with the fact that Sana Safinaz have finally understood the market they cater to and are embracing it with open arms – hello nouveau riche!

    Recommend

  • Disgusted
    Mar 19, 2012 - 2:27AM

    @Saadat Hussain:

    What I find cynical is the fact that every time someone has a legitimate point to make that runs contrary to the “Promote/defend anything Pakistani at all costs!”-mentality, their opinions (which ought to be acknowledged regardless of whether you agree or not) are dismissed, silenced and shamed by resorting to labeling. It’s easy to live in the bubble you create for yourself and not challenge assumptions when you can just say “That person is just a mullah/liberal/burger/paindu/minority/xyz.” It’s a slippery slope.

    I say this because I identify as a “progressive” (even though I infer from your tone that it has derogatory connotations to you) but I don’t go out for “lattes and croissants” as a habit, struggle to make ends meet and try to do my work conscientiously without stepping over or exploiting people in the process. What does that make me now? Are you going to call me jealous, or envious? I am not. I could care less for designer merchandise, big gated houses and having a legion of people to serve me. I don’t want that life, which to me just looks like a gilded cage.

    While I am proud as a Pakistani woman for the recognition and success of other working women – I cannot condone any unethical practices that they may engage in. I am capable of seeing both sides of the coin. I understand perfectly well how hard it is to get things done over here, and how there will always be someone to spite you for doing it.

    The thing is that not all criticism comes out of spite. Some of it is valid – and I am bemused by the fact that the only way some people know how to deal with being told the truth is to get defensive and call the other person a hypocrite. We will always be a nation that has to screw someone over to get ahead with this kind of mentality. I think people like that are the cynical ones. The ones who have the means to educate themselves, but make the choice to remain ignorant about some of the more odious aspects of Capitalism.

    Recommend

  • King Julian
    Mar 19, 2012 - 11:56AM

    this is a sham. we are singling out sana safinaz’s ad ‘bc they are parading with expensive merchandize in front of low income people, we are hypocrites. dont we all do the same? Don’t we parade around our maids/driver/waiters by going to expensive restaurants spending thousands on food in a day – when these people would earn that in a month and would have to feed a huge family on it? we might not have LV to show off but even if we have Jafferjees and we parade around them, when for a koolie – VL and Jafferjees are the same, something completely out of his reach.

    our so called social elite need to stop making people like sana safina and maya khan escape goats – admit it we single them out to make no one but ourselves feel better. people need to get off the high horse of moral superiority

    Recommend

  • disgusted
    Mar 19, 2012 - 7:16PM

    Reading all the comments makes me wonder why people seem to be missing the point that even if the campaign was part of some “larger social outreach program” to be initiated by S&S, the fact that they paid a measly Rs.600 to these coolies, which is probably like change that just dropped out of S&S’s pocket that day, makes me sick!

    Recommend

  • humaira
    Mar 20, 2012 - 6:30AM

    Saba, good that you showed all aspects of the story , Unlike the SS lobby journos, busy tweeting and blogging justifications … had it been done to Neha that the contract was mis-sold, by saying that these photos will be published in print and not on packaging , wouldnt she have taken SS to court, but these poor koolies were easily mis-sold for the reason they are not aware of LV trunck or a Birkin bag…. its just if the trimmings shown on the lawn jora packing are missing inside the packaging, SAD to see such a thing coming from Top Designers like SS.. very sad indeed …
    there lawn will do buisness more then 15 crore this season and here what they are saving upon the ‘Models’ betrayed as just ‘Koolies’.. really unfair and un-kooly !

    Recommend

  • Mar 20, 2012 - 1:56PM

    we as a country are headed to economic annihilation at the hands of neo-capitalists. mass disparities such as these should be a warning. unless we work for social change, things are going to get much worse.

    Sanasafinaz and hyperstar are examples of what needs change in this country.

    my comment above modified to blog.

    http://lurkinginambush.blogspot.com/2012/03/sanasafinaz-and-new-colonial-takeover.html

    Recommend

  • Mar 20, 2012 - 7:49PM

    Since when did Pakistan turn into a Marxist desh? We are a qawn which employs 7 year old babysitters for 1-4 year old kids. that’s super eww.

    Recommend

  • Truth From Pakistan
    Mar 22, 2012 - 4:38AM

    Distasteful!

    Recommend

  • Hameed Saqib
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:14AM

    I am middle class pakistani. i don’t own lv as yet. if i had money i would definitely purchase LV, and purchase for my wife sans safinaz dresses. We have seen the dresses. they are very nice. Maybe one day i am able to afford.

    Recommend

  • Liaquat
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:53PM

    In regards to the whole Sana Safinaz controversy, I find it idiotic the way people reacted. It seems Pakistanis misunderstand even the basics of advertising.
    “For people do not find it pleasant to honour someone else: they suppose that they are then being deprived of something themselves.” – attributed to 6th century greek philosopher Democritus, speaking about the tall poppy syndrome. Nothing quite as noxious as a banal and insipid middle class.

    Recommend

  • shockedatpplsreaction
    Mar 22, 2012 - 8:56PM

    Whats shameful is that most people spewing such nonsensical bile at Sana Safinaz have all probably had a coolie carry their stuff or a driver drive them somewhere. God, how history repeats itself. We are all either slaves to Pakistani middle class oligarchy or we are elitist west loving neo-cons. Thats the dichotomy these who commented on the blog seem to promote. Kudos to Sana SafinazRecommend

  • Mar 26, 2012 - 10:54AM

    This is called !!!!!!!! ??? Creativity :) Great article ! Thanx for sharing.

    Recommend

  • Nab
    Mar 27, 2012 - 4:41AM

    This ad campaign was definitely disrespectful and offensive, but honestly, what do we think happens when we jump in our cars and spend thousands of ruppees on lawn..this add is insulting not because of its message but because of the mirror its forcing us to look into..writing self righteous articles like these doesn’t show you care, just shows the hypocrisy of our increasingly materialistic society who may fashion speeches of how wrong it is to undermine the lower class, but then probably ignore all their maids and drivers at home..dont get mad at sana safinaz because they pegged us quite accurately, there’s a reason they thought this ad would appeal to the aesthetics of our society and judging by the ‘likes’ and orders this photo received,id say they proved a point.Interviewing the coolies and waving your expensive phone around in their faces doesnt do anyone any good.

    Recommend

More in Fashion