Social Media VS Tanishq
The Tanishq ad being pulled down proves once again the power, social media commands, not only in society or politics but also in the corporate. This is in reference to the latest advertisement of the popular jewellery brand Tanishq, wherein a baby shower function is featured in a Muslim family for a South-Indian daughter-in-law.
The advert has been called out for promoting love jihad and bigotry.
Love jihad is basically a theory advanced by Hindu hardliners wherein Muslim men feign love for Hindu women to lure them into marriage with the covert design of converting them to Islam.
Watch the ad here:
This commercial depicting a Hindu-Muslim couple was released on 9th October/2020 but had to be taken off from all online platforms as soon as by 12th October for fear of backlash and in the “well-being of our employees, partners and store staff” as quoted by Tanishq. The backlash was not limited to just online trolling but employees have been targeted specifically. Tanishq’s brand manager is reported to have been forced to delete his Linked-in account & been bullied with death threats. YouTube likes/dislikes and comments section were disabled on 11th itself, such was the hate momentum.
Boycott of Tanishq
#BoycottTanishq, #RatanTata has been trending on Twitter and other social media platforms since its inception. Surprise is, there are posts filled with hatred for Ratan Tata, one who is a God to many & a hugely adored and revered figure in India because of his charities & philanthropic work.
While a few BJP members & celebrities like Kangana Ranaut have been voicing dissent against the film for celebrating love jihad and her new-found cause of sexism, there are many who stand in support too, including the likes of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, actors Richa Chadha & Divya Dutta (she did the ad voice-over), writer Chetan Bhagat. For the latter, it was a beautiful ad promoting Hindu- Muslim unity.
Tanishq’s idea behind the promotional was a noble one, to celebrate oneness between two religions, traditions & cultures, in line with its latest festive collection of jewellery, ‘Ekatvam’. So, in the idea, it was not wrong; in money, power & influence too, it is a force to be reckoned. Tanishq, is a division of the billion-dollar Tata group’s Titan Company. Tata group is one of India’s largest conglomerates with international recognition, formed of nearly 100 companies. It has Ratan Tata, noted industrialist & philanthropist at its helm, as its former chairperson. In spite of all this, it had to buckle under pressure- pressure of what? Social Media!
Even if the hate spat out on Twitter & others is not from common public, but the work of some politically motivated people, as pointed out by Prahlad Kakkar, the veteran director behind this ad, these politically designed people gained power from nowhere else- but the social media. This is what I want to point out.
The Unleashing of the Power of Social Media
Has this media of the society, by the society, for the society become bigger than the society itself? Yes, as much I can see and if this is the truth, we have a huge evil lurking in the wilderness. This is the new evil of society. It has powers uncontrolled. Its reach is universal. Its effect, ghastly. And its nature, infectious- just like our novel coronavirus- call it the Social Covid-19 if you like. SocialMediaOrSocialCovid19
It can make multi-billion dollar companies come down to their knees; can get stock markets spiralling. It can spill hatred in societies, fuel political tensions/unfairness & widen gaps between centuries old religions. The gaps were always there but before, religious movements were either locally restricted or took time to span a whole country. Now they spread like wildfires; cannot be contained. With today’s increasing population comes more people and More people means More Power to Social Media.
American elections #CambridgeAnalytica went corrupted by misuse of social imprints people left behind; the biggest example of data security being breached. The Modi government (India) drove cutting-edge political campaigning & made the most out of it in the elections; it is common knowledge. MS Dhoni’s 5-year old daughter was issued rape threats after the Indian cricketer’s side lost a match.
Weighing in, if a figure as loved as Ratan Tata, can be spewed with hate and boycott trending hashtags, imagine the amount of hate that would have been generated had the advert been released by any of the Ambani flagship companies 😝 . If such larger-than-life personas are not spared, where do we stand- the common people?
Why are we letting the social media get too potent to the point we cannot tame it? How can we allow its intrusion into every aspect of our lives? Will the social media decide whether our businesses, talents and careers need to be appreciated or not. Darn! Looks like!
The Hashtag Business
See how the business of BabaDaDhaba from Delhi went roaring from boring after its video went viral over social media- For once, a blessing! But a blessing in disguise- there are innumerable businesses which are needy or claim merit, but only the one that went viral, like Baba Ka Dhaba stamped lucky.
So it is clear, hashtags are hugely going to decide whether we make it or not. Persons and institutions relying largely or solely on social media should therefore be in tight control of their handles, press the right buttons & make those timely twists & strategies for winning markets. Its Boom-time💥 for social media influencers, digital marketers and their tribe.
Even if they do it all right, you never know, what might irritate or invite the wrath of the extensively breeding population on the web. All your calculations might go for a toss, just the way it went with Tanishq, though it had its fair share of publicity- any publicity is publicity after all!. And Tanishq is a brand known for making bold & stirring adverts, so it may have well in advance known the costs if the ad were to go wrong or stimulated a negative feedback: nothing new for Tanishq, it has had similar experiences before.
The Misery & the Woes
But the point I want to make here is that, we have become a puppet in the hands of the social media. It is a no-holds barred communications style with scant regulations and we have no choice but to play into its hands. It has unlimited powers. It can make a mountain of a mole and it can cause the mountain to become a mole, babadadhaba & Tanishq respectively.
Where then does, truth, fairness, merit and other such things rank? Can we even imagine how magnanimous it is & how profoundly it is affecting our lives. This communications tool may have given us numerous benefits, but is it a sensible exchange, in terms of the control we have given it on our lives.
One negative outdoes five positivity such is the power of negativity, however much we talk about the power of being positive. Even a vaccine for the current coronavirus, which has taken the magnitude of being a pandemic; even the vaccine for it is not given clearance if it is found with even one side-effect (severity of the side-effect may though be considered). Then how can we let pass this big social monster with both plusses and negatives, to govern us so easily or even to predate us?
Published on October 14/2020
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