The commercial, released as part of the brand’s Ekatvam collection for the festive season, features actors Neena Gupta, Sayani Gupta, Alaya F and Nimrat Kaur with one of them speaking about their Diwali plans advocating a ban on firecrackers.
The call not to burst crackers sparked a row on Twitter with a section of users accusing the brand of trying to “teach” Hindus how to celebrate Diwali and called for people to reject both the ad and the brand. This is the second time Tanishq has withdrawn an ad for ‘Ekatvam’ collection this festive season.
The new 49-second digital-only advertisement, created by the same agency called What’s Your Problem, has been withdrawn from platforms Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. The ad, however, continues to be live on Instagram.
Tanishq did not issue an official statement. A company source on conditions of anonymity said, “The next four days leading upto Diwali are critical for Tanishq. Any statement from the brand could lead to unwarranted conversation on social media and could hamper Dhanteras and Diwali sales.”
In October, Tanishq had withdrawn an ad featuring an interfaith married couple after getting trolled on social media for promoting “love jihad.” The digital and television commercial was broadcast during the Indian Premier League matches. It had sparked a row on Twitter with the hashtag #BoycottTanishq. The ad showed a pregnant, Hindu woman escorted by her Muslim mother-in-law to a traditional Hindu baby shower ceremony.
A section of Twitter users took offence to the ad, claiming that the company featured a Hindu daughter-in-law in a Muslim family and asked if they would depict a Muslim woman married into a Hindu family. “Love jihad” is a term alleging a campaign by Muslims to convert girls from other communities by feigning love.
According to brand consultant Santosh Desai, it was not blasphemous for Tanishq to advocate fire cracker-free Diwali since governments of several states of India have already imposed a ban on it this time.
“Jewellery is, however, a category that is traditional and related to occasions that are festive and cultural in nature where sensitivity can potentially arise. A category such as biscuits would not be impacted, for instance. While the relationship between sales and social media trolling is tenuous but this is unlikely to have any impact on immediate sales. Long term impact on Tanishq could be negative. Some of its franchises could have reservations. In the long run, it is not healthy for a company to have a pattern of this kind where you put out something, withdraw it and become a target and get picked on. The brand could get an image that is undeserved but perception does crystalize,” said Desai.
Last year, Hindustan Unilever had faced a backlash on social media for a Surf Excel detergent ad released during Holi. Several social media users protested with the hashtag #BoycottSurfExcel, contending that the ad was “anti-Hindu” and “anti-national.”