Tanishq ad dispute: a case of nuance lost in the wake of rancor

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The recent ad of Tata Group’s jewelry brand Tanishq, due to its story of interfaith marriage, was facing flak. The video, posted through social media sites, shows a Hindu woman married to a Muslim family, all set for her baby shower. Her in-laws decide to recreate all the rituals of the Hindu customs. However, the commercial did not resonate well with a section of netizens, many of whom declared it ‘heart jihad.

Brand strategist Ambi M G Parameswaran argues that he likes the piece of work because of its boldness and desire to imagine a healthier world. Brands often represent the truth of things. Yet bolder brands are capable of visualizing a perfect future. In my book # NawabsNudesNoodles, I called this “neo-visualization.” Not so many Muslim families will engage their Hindu DIL in a “godh bharai” festival. I can’t see the harm in it. I respect the brands that can imagine a healthier world. 

Soon after the ad was released, calls to boycott Tanishq went viral on Twitter, making it one of the top trends with many calling for a ban on divisive ads. N Chandramouli, CEO of TRA, praises the ad too. He notes that this is a daring ad and that the potential backlashes to it must naturally have been well considered right as it was being conceptualized. “The Tanishq Ekatvam commercial promotes plurality, secularism, community, inclusion, and unification. The # boycottTanishq is insane, and it is unlikely to have any adverse effect on the brand. To widen my thinking, I wonder if any of these trolls are Tanishq ‘s clients. Chandramouli points out that such an open recognition of such a robust secular concept demonstrates Tanishq’s values’ strength.

Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Bang In The Center, notes that he feels anguished at the hateful response of some people who have given Tanishq a very different communal hue. “Often, I feel like we, as a nation, are spinning out of control and moving in a direction like threatens to rip and tear away the beauty of our world. Ideally, the more trained you are and the more you fly, the lines of difference will fade, and the broader image of shared humanity will become stronger.

Suthan adds Imagine that our workplaces, universities, institutions, business, companies, and even nursing fields, etc. are beginning to spin down this vortex. Love in its other aspects, such as patriotism, pride, democracy, morality, benevolence, service, job, literature, etc., and so many different fields, is doubted and hamstrung by small minds is unbelievable what can happen to solidarity and our collective power. This is the sort of myopic mentality that might break the sinews of our country. It should never be promoted either by brands or by the government without a doubt.

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