Take a Stand, Brand! Why Tanishq Fails Where Parle and Bajaj Succeed

Social Commentary

Take a Stand, Brand! Why Tanishq Fails Where Parle and Bajaj Succeed

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The social media boycott crew has been in full swing over the last few months, targeting any film or ad that disagrees with its worldview. As a fallout of this campaign, jewellery brand Tanishq was forced to take down its recent advertisement that celebrated an interfaith couple, after trolls called it an attempt at promoting “love jihad”.

Even as “boycott Tanishq” topped the Twitter trends on Monday, however, the brand did also receive a lot of support from various quarters, who condemned the hate-filled posts that pushed the calls for boycott. The advertisement itself, showed a Hindu woman being welcomed into a supportive Muslim family.

Among the supporters were prominent figures like Congressmen Shashi Tharoor and Abhishek Singhvi, who called out Hindutva bigots for pushing the trend. But on Tuesday, it would seem the other side had won, after Tanishq pulled down the ad film from its YouTube channel, much to the dismay of its supporters.

Even as this saga was unfolding, however, one couldn’t help and compare Tanishq’s reaction to a couple of other brands that have been making news in the last few days.

In what seemed to be a strong stand against the aggressive content that’s being pushed on our news channels in the last few weeks, Parle Products and Bajaj Auto have both indicated that they will be withdrawing their patronage from channels that are involved in the alleged TRP scam or are toxic in nature.

While a senior official from Parle has indicated that the company is in talks with other advertisers to put up a collective front, industrialist Rajiv Bajaj has said that Bajaj Auto was in the process of blacklisting three channels already. In response, both companies were hailed as the most socially responsible brands on Twitter.

It’s a known fact in our country that any content put out by advertisers is bound to be met with some hate online. A recent article listed out all the brands that have been targeted for their attempts to portray Hindu-Muslim unity in the last few years, including names like Close Up, Brooke Bond, and Surf Excel. Even though the content of each film differs, each one happened to be faced with a barrage of bigoted trolls.

As Tanishq faces the same fate as the brands above, it’s clear now that our country is witnessing a tale of two advertisers — one that capitulates to the hate and another that stands up to it. We’re lucky to still have a few that are willing to show some spine.