A tale of two advertisements: Eight years ago Tanishq had released another path-breaking advt
But the fact that the advertisement in 2020 had to be pulled down means instead of progressing, we are just regressing. This can never be good for the social fabric of any country
Eight years ago, Tanishq made a sensitive and timely advertisement that was the toast of the twitterverse.
The protagonist was a dusky, elegant and mature woman and this was her second wedding. It starts with her daughter and mother helping the beautiful bride dress-up for her special day. The daughter then wants to accompany her during the “pheras” and go “round and round” with her. Her mother gives her a loving scowl, but the groom picks her up and carries him with her, as the couple walked around the fire.
The advertisement ended with the words “A wedding to remember- Tanishq”. It became a social media sensation. An article written by veteran advertising professional and author Swapan Seth was headlined, “New Tanishq ad: a magical moment in Indian advertising”.
It was clear that this was a progressive brand that understood the modern Indian. A second marriage may have been a taboo subject to address even a decade ago in an advertising campaign, but India celebrated the moment.
Cut to October, 2020. Another Tanishq advertisement. Muslim in laws are putting together a baby shower for their Hindu daughter in law. It promotes Tanishq’s new line called “Ekatvam”, which means “unity” in Hindi. A story line that seems so apt for these times.
During the height of the lockdown #inthistogether was the trending phrase of social media. Yet this beautifully shot video, has been trolled and accused of promoting “Love Jihad”. The very medium, Twitter, that once embraced Tanisqh’s pioneering spirit has forced the Tata owned company to pull down the advertisement and issue a clarification.
To me (like it should be to most educated and normal people) this advertising is a celebration of what Modern India stands for, a place of tolerance and acceptance. And that is the point of advertising. It must connect with audience sentiments. The best campaigns are those that are both for profit and for good.
I moved to India in my early 20’s from London; I had always felt like the outsider there, the Indian girl. Even within the Indian community everyone stuck to their own types. A Sindhi would only mix with Sindhis. When I moved to Bombay (as it was then) no one cared, everyone just seemed to mingle and no one asked about which sect you came from, yet everyone knew their own traditions and wore them proudly; as was shown in this Tanishq promotional advertisement with the Hindu daughter-in-law in a Banarasi sari and the Muslim mother-in-law in a salwar kameez with her head covered.
It speaks of how we can uphold our traditions yet have a modern forward thinking outlook. How we can live in harmony yet be unique. This message is just as beautiful to me as the advertisement Tanishq made eight years ago. The fact that it has to be pulled down means instead of progressing, we are just regressing. This can never be good for the social fabric of any country.
(The writer was the Founding Editor-inChief of Harper’s Bazaar, India).