There is an increased need for a dialogue between brands and their customers
A bold ad in a so called bold era – is not so bold after all. Indian jewellery brand Tanishq owned by the Tata Group has been forced to pull out the ad after it drew the ire of many – so much so that on Wednesday, a Tanishq showroom in Gujarat received threats. Following the line up of events, The India Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) reiterated the need to strengthen and safeguard the fundamental right to express and receive commercial expression as guaranteed in Section 19 (1) (A) of the Constitution of India. “Any attempt to stifle this should be condemned in the strongest of terms,” it said in a statement.
Further, the IAA appealed to the government to take a serious view of such intimidating behaviour and take exemplary action where required to ensure that businesses are provided a safe environment to communicate their brand advertising messages and contribute to the economic resurgence of the country. “The events which led to the recent Tanishq advertisement being pulled back are very unfortunate. While we respect the opinion of every individual on subjective matters, these should not descend to illegal threats and anti-social behaviour,” IAA added.
Industry experts believe that there is an increased need for a dialogue between brands and their customers. “If a group of people do find something offensive, they should be connected to the brand and have some sort of dialogue exchange. The pros and cons of living in this day and age is that while you can get connected to your consumers almost instantaneously, but that also means things get accelerated a lot faster than before. There is a need for two way communications to exchange dialogues and come to a neutral conclusion,” a brand expert said on conditions of anonymity.
According to Harish Bijoor, brand strategy expert, no responsible corporate wants a slur on their brand, corporate or mother brand image. “No company wants to expose its operations to any kind of tumult and Tanishq has done the right thing. There are two approaches to it, one could be “brand idealism” – which says that I am going to stick with the advertisement come what may. The other one is “brand pragmatism”, and Titan has followed the latter,” he added further.
For Ambi Parameswaran, founder, Brand-Building.com, even as the advertisement puts across the message beautifully, the timing may have been a little wrong. “The mood of the nation is on the edge. Diwali too is close by, hence the timings may have been incorrect. Brands need to be aware of the sentiments on these platforms and know when to bring out a particular piece of communication. Tanishq figured out the strong pushback coming from social media hence, the decision to pull back the advertisement,” he stated.
The advertisement in question for Ekatvam by Tanishq featured a Hindu daughter-in-law married into a muslim family — being welcomed into her traditional Hindu baby shower as her in-laws decided to replicate the traditions according to Hindu rituals. The advertisement received a huge flak from netizens who condemned it for promoting “love jihad” and “fake secularism.” Following the criticism, the advertisement has been taken off from the brand’s YouTube channel.