A Tanishq ad on interfaith love triggered a furious backlash on social media with some accusing the jewellery brand of promoting 'love jihad', prompting the company on Tuesday to withdraw the film citing hurt sentiments and the well-being of its staff. Now, top advertising bodies have come out in the support of the jewellery brand and have issued statements stating the commercial "is not derogatory to any individual, organisation or religion."
"Such baseless and irrelevant attack on creative expression is extremely concerning," The Advertising Club said in a statement. "The Advertising Club on behalf of the Indian Media and Advertising industry strongly condemns the threatening and targeting of Tanishq and its employees in regards to their latest advertisement on the new jewellery line," it added.
The Indian chapter of the International Advertising Association described the events that led to the withdrawal of the Tanishq advertisement as "very unfortunate", and demanded action from the government against what it called "intimidating behaviour".
"While we respect the opinion of every individual on subjective matters, these should not descend to illegal threats and anti-social behaviour...We appeal to the concerned governments to take a serious view of such intimidating behaviour and take exemplary action where required to ensure that businesses are provided with a safe environment to communicate their brand advertising messages," it said.
Tanishq said in a statement that it was "deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions". The film, it added, had stimulated divergent and severe reactions, contrary to its very objective.
"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 said. The idea behind the Ekatvam campaign is to celebrate the coming together of people from different walks of life, local communities and families during these challenging times and celebrate the beauty of oneness, it added.
The 43-second commercial opened the floodgates of debate and trolling with a flurry of tweets, some angry and threatening, demanding a ban on the advertisement and a boycott of the brand, a Tata product. Tanishq first disabled comments and likes/dislikes on its ad on YouTube, and on Tuesday withdrew the video altogether. Some news outlets also ran fake news regarding a gheraoing of the Tanishq outlet in Gujarat's Gandhinagar, with the falsity later being called out.