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Ad bodies TAC and AAAI come out in support of the Tanishq ad

The ad, which showed an inter-faith baby shower was trolled online and accused of promoting ‘love jihad’, was pulled down by the jewellery brand.

The Advertising Club and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) have come out in support of jewellery brand Tanishq’s ad which was pulled yesterday after excessive trolling online.

Also Read: Learning from the Tanishq episode: When ads cause controversy, should brands stand by the work or apologise?

Released last week, the ad was part of Tanishq’s new ‘Ekatvam’ campaign and showed a Hindu daughter-in-law pregnant with the baby of what appears to be a Muslim man’s son. The ad drew sharp criticism on social media where people accused the brand of promoting ‘love jihad’ and the hashtag #BoycottTanishq trended amid other similar hashtags.

Tanishq posted this message on its social media channels after it pulled the ad. While social media saw a fierce debate on this move, ad bodies have released statements in support of the brand and its ad.

AAAI said it “disapproves the targeting of the recent Tanishq ad featuring an inter-faith couple. The threats against Tanishq as well as its employees, which led to the withdrawal of the advertisement, are a matter of great regret and concern.

The advertisement in question, in fact, had been viewed at the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) by an independent panel- The Consumer Complaints Council, which is representative of multiple stakeholders from industry, civil society, lawyers and consumer activists. The panel found nothing in the advertisement that was indecent or objectionable or repulsive that could lead to grave and widespread offence.

There is a consensus among all allied bodies and The International Advertising Association (IAA) India Chapter and The Advertising Club also support this.”

The Advertising Club too released a statement in support of Tanishq and its ad. It said, “The Advertising Club on behalf of the Indian Media and Advertising Industry strongly condemns the threatening and targeting of 'Tanishq' and is employees in regard to their latest advertisement on the new jewellery line. After review by our internal team consisting of multi-sectoral experts we have come to clear consensus that the advertisement breaks no ethical stand and is not derogatory to any person, organisation or religion and does not hurt any national sentiment.

In continuance with its tradition, The Advertising Club upholds the primacy of creative freedom as a fundamental right of the Marketing and Advertising fraternity and hence disapprove of the approach to stymie that freedom. Our industry allied bodies of IAA and AAA endorse our view that such baseless and irrelevant attack on creative expression is extremely concerning and we together stand by the team at Tanishq and against such aggression.

ASCI's statement said, "The advertisement in question, was viewed at ASCI by an independent multi stakeholder panel- The Consumer Complaints Council, which balances view points from industry, civil society, lawyers, consumer activists as well as domain experts. This panel was unanimous that nothing in the advertisement was indecent or vulgar or repulsive, which is likely in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave and widespread offence.

The complaint was not upheld, as the advertisement did not violate the ASCI codes of honesty, truthfulness and decency in advertising. Therefore ASCI has no objection to the airing of this advertisement, should the advertiser choose to do so."