India: What ‘love jihad’ advertising boycott really stands for

DUBAI: The hasty and sudden lifting of the Tanishq jewelery campaign, which showed a sweet bond between a Hindu, pregnant daughter-in-law and a willful Muslim mother-in-law, after an avalanche of online anger was ‘wrong and unfair’ and will creating a climate of fear, apparently a cross-section of actors, filmmakers, brand consultants and artists.

‘This is completely wrong, unfair and defeats the idea that people in the business world do not have the right to create promotional content that best meets their requirement. Are they not the best judge? Who are a bunch of trolls to tell them what is right or wrong? ‘s Bollywood filmmaker, poet and politician Pritish Nandy in an interview with Golf news.

WHAT IS ‘LOVE JIHAD’? ‘Love jihad’ is a rather derogatory term coined by Hindu extremist groups, which refers to an alleged campaign by Muslims in India to convert Hindu girls in the form of love.

The productive producer behind hits like Shaadi Ke side effects and Pyaar Ke side effects believes that the 43-second ad showing a pregnant Hindu daughter-in-law being ushered into a baby shower arranged by her Muslim mother-in-law according to Hindu rituals was ‘outstanding’ and inclusive. The company’s decision to withdraw its advertisement for fear of damaging their employees and their stores was indicative of what India was fast becoming. Such incidents will undermine artistic freedom.

As an artist, I have long been concerned. Our medium is constantly being defended – on the one hand by a government that does not understand art or artists, and on the other hand by a media that becomes hysterical and stupid. Finally, we also have an army of trolls on social media who are cherished by different portals and they all eat away at our freedom as artists, ‘he added. The withdrawal of the advertisement will deeply affect the image of India in a free world, its cultural position and have serious ‘long-term consequences’, warns Nandy, who produces Kareena Kapoor star ‘Chameli’.

‘Live, love, laugh’

‘Given the current atmosphere in India, I feel that Tata Group (Tanishq a trademark of Titan, owned by Tata Sons), was right. They ignored the issue because no business venture would ever present a confrontational situation.

As comedian Nitin Mirani bred in Dubai, it seems like people in India are getting a chance to offend. The whole controversy is silly, he claims. As comedians, we often face the dilemma of saying what is right for what is right according to the society or country in which we live. But I feel it’s time now for people to understand artistic projects with an open mind and remind them of the meaning of the quote “Live Love Laugh”, Mirani said.

The withdrawal of a large corporate house caused by outrage among conservative social media users indicating that their ad promotes ‘love jihad’ (a term used to denote Muslim men associating with Hindu women marry for religious conversion), is completely unnecessary publicist Parull Gossain. It is likely that the brand name could harm the brand name, says Santripti Vellody Manoli, a trademark publisher of the UAE.

‘Tanishq should not have been stuck to trolls. For all we know, it can be clashing and not reflect the true opinion … It was a beautiful advertisement and so unfortunate that the whole story of the country is so hijacked. We are not that small, ”says Gossain.

Intolerance of an advertisement

The intolerance towards the Tanishq ad is one of the many cases in the recent past where major filmmakers and corporate houses were held in ransom. The withdrawal of the ad could also set an unhealthy precedent in brand building, says Mandvi Sharma, celebrity publicist and managing director of Tree-Shul Media Solutions.

“The withdrawal of this advertisement is a setback and a statement that trolls will now take the lead. It’s a sad state of affairs, to be honest … But India still has independent ways of thinking in all fields of work. But yes, the campaign meetings will now be longer to test all scenarios, because the noise on social media will only increase, ‘Sharma warned, thinking the Tanishq ad was socially relevant and not ominous as claimed by right-wingers.

Actress Tanushree Dutta calls it a ‘hasty decision motivated by online trolls’. ‘The producers of the ad should have had more confidence in the larger Indian diaspora. This withdrawal was therefore not necessary and was clearly an overreaction to part of the brand. A few online trolls do not decide on the whole country’s sentiment, ‘Dutta said in a separate interview. The actress finds the ad, which focuses on Hindu-Muslim common harmony, as a campaign filled with good messages of love and tolerance.

Trolleys taking over India?

India is and must always remain a democracy that also loves and respects its minorities, because our national freedom is built on the sweat, blood and sacrifices of many different communities. In these times, we need to remember the preamble of our constitution and set aside common feelings. I had no creative problems with the ad, it was really cool to see a new idea in the advertising world, ”Dutta added.

She is not alone. Bollywood actress Kubbra Sait, whose striking roles include playing a transgender in the web series ‘Sacred Games’, cannot understand the sound and anger behind such a fuzzy advertisement.

‘That ad was beautiful, heartwarming, inclusive – oh so full of love and care. I am a believer of love. I am also a person who likes to believe that love is the greatest blessing for someone to experience. I have personally seen marital marriages in my family … this is not new or a ‘brave’ or rebellious statement. It’s a choice. I do not understand the anger surrounding the ad. She adds that this incident of extracting a work of art due to online hatred should encourage us to ‘reflect’ and ‘learn’.

‘This is a great place and time to reflect on the parochial, regressive behaviors that love and stories of love tell. The power of storytelling will only improve things … I’m optimistic about that. We can and may not allow the fanatics to enter our hearts and minds. While the ad abounded with ominous trolls and calls for boycotts, a significant portion of social media users believed that the ad was secular and reflected the multicultural social and cultural structure of India.

Director Ram Kamal Mukherjee, whose recent short film Festive greetings turned around an interfaith couple, believes the Tanishq ad was blown out of proportion by the right wing.

‘Early this year my film Festive greetings deals with interfaith love and acceptance. The love story between Usmaan (Azhar Khan) and Romita (Celina Jaitly) visiting Kolkata to get permission from Suchitra (Lillette Dubey) tells a lot about our social structure. “The film was very much appreciated in India and worldwide because it was not pretentious,” Mukherjee said.

Will the brand withdraw the ad?

Santripti Vellody Manoli, a commercial consultant for Commerc & Public Perception, based in the United Arab Emirates, believes that the provocation of the ad is likely to harm Tanishq as a brand in terms of public perception.

‘The very target audience that their communication usually meets does not seem very happy with what is now seen that their brand is’ spineless’. Brand perceptions only weaken with the kind of attitude the Tata group takes, and if they had stood their ground, it would probably have catapulted Tanishq to a whole other level.

The Nike ad called ‘You can not stop us’ divided the US and was strongly sought after by right-wingers for its message that focused on inclusivity and diversity, similar to the theme of the Tanishq ad, but Nike did not struggle under pressure. and it has become one of the most viewed ads on social media. More importantly, it only strengthened their brand position. “Tanishq is now going to lose on both grounds – the trolls as well as the supporters of the brand who find the lack of conviction distasteful,” Manoli said in an interview with Golf News.

The Nike ad that Manoli was referring to polarized viewers in the United States. It featured footage of black, white, Asian and Muslim athletes in action and was widely praised for its themes of diversity and social justice. Despite being pretentious, the ad has been viewed more than 11 million times on YouTube. But Tanishq did not show as much gravel under fire.

In India, it is not the first brand to kneel in the face of social media. In March 2019, a TV commercial for a Surf Excel cleaner ended up in dark water when it showed a group of children playing Holi (Indian festival of colors) and how a Hindu girl approached a Muslim boy on his bicycle take a mosque for prayers. The ad, which is aimed at being symbolic of acceptance between faiths, has caused outrage among right-wing outfits. The ad was pulled off, just as Tanishq pulled the plug for his commercial fear of nationwide outrage.

‘Many are curious to know under what pressure the Tata group was obliged to fetch the advertisement. This calls into question the whole creativity system in the communications and advertising industry in India … Streaming ideas and points of view hinders creativity in the long run, and it will not be long before we are going to experience a ‘national creativity crisis’. can only lead to a lack of innovation across the board. “People tend to undermine the importance and impact of removing a ‘single ad’ – but it’s a combination of many such ‘single’ withdrawals that ultimately drip into a collective psyche of a nation, ” Manoli said. added.

The usual voices voiced in Bollywood also jumped in. While actress Kangana Ranaut, known for her right-wing political tendencies, did not approve of the ad, actresses such as Richa Chaddha, Swara Bhasker and Divya Dutta (whose voice appears in the controversial appearance). ad) expressed their disappointment over the jewelery ad taken from social media channels.

‘Sad lack of backbone … and conviction. Many women (and men) get death nods on social media every day. They oppose it. “Unfortunately, a large corporate conglomerate cannot muster the courage (and resources) to withstand a few days of trolling,” Bhasker tweeted along with an eyeroll emoji.

Source: Gulf News

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