New Delhi: A day after receiving severe backlash on social media for an advertisement featuring a Hindu-Muslim marriage, Tata Group’s Tanishq Jewellery has pulled down the controversial advertisement from its YouTube page.
In an official statement, the Tanishq spokesperson said, “We are deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions and withdraw this film keeping in mind the hurt sentiments and well being of our employees, partners and store staff.”
The statement further noted that the idea behind the Ekatvam campaign was to celebrate people from different walks of life coming together and celebrating the “beauty of oneness.”
‘#BoycottTanishq’ was a top trend Monday and several people tweeted against the advertisement claiming that it promoted “fake secularism” and “love jihad”.
The company made the YouTube link to the video private Monday evening, making it unavailable to people. By Tuesday morning, the advertisement was no longer visible on its YouTube page.
Communications strategy consultant Karthik Srinivasan also confirmed the news on Twitter.
Tanishq has officially withdrawn their ad after being trolled viciously. Here's why this is a very sad state of affairs, and context from other such ads that were trolled (and some, withdrawn) https://t.co/Nb0cSiTPHX pic.twitter.com/sn3IMBqdmC
— Karthik (@beastoftraal) October 13, 2020
Several social media users condemned the trolling that Tanishq was subjected to.
Responding to the backlash the jewellery brand faced, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, “So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of @TanishqJewelry for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad. If Hindu-Muslim “ekatvam” irks them so much, why don’t they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world — India?”
So Hindutva bigots have called for a boycott of @TanishqJewelry for highlighting Hindu-Muslim unity through this beautiful ad. If Hindu-Muslim “ekatvam” irks them so much, why don’t they boycott the longest surviving symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity in the world — India? pic.twitter.com/cV0LpWzjda
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 13, 2020
Former Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of Viacom and now managing director of House of Cheer Networks Raj Nayak expressed his disappointment at Tanishq for withdrawing the ad and said, “This is really sad! How can a brand as strong as Tanishq from the House of Tata’s chicken out based on trolls?”
This is really sad! How can a brand as strong as Tanishq from the House of Tata's chicken out based on trolls? In fact the trolls were helping you get more visibility for your ad. #Tanishq #Advertising . https://t.co/kNiuvJunUu
— Raj Nayak (@rajcheerfull) October 13, 2020
Image and communications consultant Dilip Cherian also said the move by the jewellery brand was not warranted.
Such unnecessary nervousness doesn’t become a mature @TanishqJewelry surely? Remember where we started creating the #tanishq image, it was pan-community? Agree @rajcheerfull , @AmanKayamHai_ET & @beastoftraal & hope they recognize that trolls actually don’t equal #customers 😖 https://t.co/esZqXMuFAd
— dilip cherian (@DILIPtheCHERIAN) October 13, 2020
The controversial advertisement
The advertisement by Tanishq was released on 9 October and promoted its new jewellery line called ‘Ekatvam’. The 45-second video showed a Muslim family preparing a traditional South Indian baby shower for their pregnant Hindu daughter-in-law.
The YouTube description of the video had noted, “She is married into a family that loves her like their own child. Only for her, they go out of their way to celebrate an occasion that they usually don’t. A beautiful confluence of two different religions, traditions, cultures.”
Following the release of the advertisement, several users on Twitter called for its ban and boycott of Tanishq, including authors Shefali Vaidya and Sanjay Dixit.
Interesting that in that nauseating #interfaith ad by @TanishqJewelry how the bride is shown Hindu, but the ‘रस्म’ is shown without ANY Hindu symbols, no Murti, no Pandit, no one from the bride’s family. Waiting for a similar ad where the bride is Muzlim and the family is Hindu!
— Shefali Vaidya. (@ShefVaidya) October 13, 2020
Tanishq jewellery's 'Ekatvam' series' ad projects a fictional 'interfaith' union, a Muslim family, a Hindu daughter-in-law being allowed to do a Hindu ritual.
— Sanjay Dixit ಸಂಜಯ್ ದೀಕ್ಷಿತ್ संजय दीक्षित (@Sanjay_Dixit) October 12, 2020
What #tanishq is showing – HINDU girl 100% safe in Muslim house
What actual happening – Hindu Girl trapped in love jihad and get killed.
Hindu girls are 0% safe in other religion houses. So Don't go by this sick company mindset 🙏#BoycottTanishq
— My Name is Aक्षಯ🚩 (@bagga_daku) October 12, 2020
When the video was up on YouTube, it had received more ‘dislikes’ than ‘likes’. Till Monday afternoon, the video had garnered more than 2,000 dislikes and only 500 people had liked the advertisement. The comments section of the video was also disabled by the company Monday.