Comment | Sanjeev Kotnala: Is Tanishq on a Hat-trick of Taking Down Ads?

10 Nov,2020

Screengrab from the Tanishq Diwali 2020 ad


By Sanjeev Kotnala

When someone including me asks What is wrong with Tanishq? There is a counter-question, what is wrong with us? And What’s Your Problem? And the answer is: Everything.

Tanishq, like every other brand and organisation, is a social entity and by definition, needs to be exceptionally sensitive to the ecosystem it operates in.


It takes too much of a strategy, guts or stupidity to do it again and so soon.

To antagonise the community during the festival when you expect large sales to happen.

So, here are a few possibilities:

• Buoyant with the last BUYCOTT and buzz it created, the brand now uses it as a strategy. Release an advertisement. Withdraw it.

• The brand does not bother with the boycott calls on social media. It knows that as a trusted brand, people will still buy from it. Which did happen last time.

• The Tanishq team at the client and the agency’s end, including the consultants, have a long learning curve.



On the other side, there is nothing wrong with the Tanishq Diwali Advertisement.

Many brands could have taken this No Crackers as a CSR communication. Quite a few more may do so and not have a backlash.



What did the ad say?

The simple and good-in-its-intent Tanishq Diwali ad has four well-known women talking about how they will celebrate Diwali this year.

Sayani Gupta tells how she is hoping to meet her mum after really long, and she is definitely not going to burn any firecrackers. She even adds – ‘I don’t think anyone should light any firecrackers. Lot of diyas. Lot of laughter hopefully and a lot of positivity’.

Alya says she will eat a lot of sweets and food. She will spend time with her family and close friends. Neena Gupta says she will dress up and wear nice jewellery. Then finally Nimrat Kaur tells you that how this year it’s all the more important to be with family.


The last outing with Love Jihad.

The last time Ekatvam faced Love Jihad. Call for the brand to be sensitive was loud and clear. The brand withdrew the advertisement. And the brand was criticised by people, who believe that taking down the ad was a sign of weakness. And maybe the brand did not believe in what it was saying. 


The Cracker-free Diwali

Some states have banned firecrackers. A few have banned bursting firecrackers in public spaces. The new generation is quick in adopting green initiatives and is sensitive to the pollution issue. The cracker-free Diwali message should have been okay. 


Brands must have its ears to the ground

However, if the brands have been using their digital listening tools properly, they would have got a hint of resistance. These are definitively charged times. Hindus as a community are fed with multiple messages that question the treatment they get in a state that they believe should not have been secular but a Hindu Rashtra. They feel they are singled out in the politically and socially. They hate the temples controlled by the government when other religious places are mostly free from such governance. They see only their festivals, rituals and traditions questioned. They see the need to prove their faith.


Any Spark would do

The Hindu feel weak not in the number but in unity, in protest and acts. They believe that as a majority, they have the right not to be questioned for everything. They see how some other communities and religious groups can semi-dictate the agenda and their demands. How being a majority works against them? This is a charged environment. Anything and everything can be the spark that can socially have an equivalent of the Beirut Ammonia Nitrite blast.


The brands have to realise it and be sensitive. No one would have said anything if it was burn crackers responsibly, burn less. 


A Suggestion

The concept of Ekvatm is excellent for the time. Somewhere it has been lost or robbed of its sheen because of few pieces of communication being interpreted differently.

Maybe the brand could do well to bring alive what is hidden in its websites. The collectivism of multiple artesian, jewellery styles like Meenakari, Laser, Stamp etc. to create and celebrate Ekatvam.


Sanjeev Kotnala is a senior marketer, business strategist and educator. He writes for MxMIndia weekly, on Wednesdays, and also on many other days. His views here are personal.



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