Tanishq continues to face backlash for its ad which was withdrawn on Tuesday with the company citing hurt sentiments and the well-being of its staff as reasons.
Reports said the company’s brand manager had been doxxed soon after the ad was released, with people circulating details from his LinkedIn profile on Twitter and Facebook.
One of these people, Hardik Bhavsar, is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah on Twitter. The other is an advocate at the Supreme Court.
The Tanishq jewellery brand is a division of Titan company, promoted by the Tata Group in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation.
The brand’s ad featuring an interfaith couple had triggered furious backlash by right-wing trolls on social media who claimed it promoted “love jihad”, prompting the company on Tuesday to withdraw it.
Advertising and marketing portal Melt said it found that the Tanishq brand manager and his family had been trolled and had received threats to life.
On Wednesday, reports said a Tanishq jewellery showroom in Gandhidham town of Gujarat’s Kutch district had also received threat calls.
“Some people had informed the store the ad was not in good taste and had hurt sentiments and some threat calls had been received. The police have been regularly patrolling the area. No ransacking, rioting, protest or attack took place,” a police officer said, NDTV reported.
PTI reported that the store put up a note on its door, apologising to Hindus in the district over the brand’s TV ad.
The handwritten note in Gujarati also condemned the TV commercial. “We apologise to Hindu community of Kutch on the shameful advertisement of Tanishq,” the note read.
It was pasted on the showroom’s door on October 12, and has since been removed, police said.
NDTV quoted sources as saying the manager had been forced to write the apology by a mob that attacked the store.
The showroom manager and local police, however, dismissed reports that the showroom had been attacked.
“No such attack has taken place,” said Superintendent of Police, Kutch-East, Mayur Patil.
The India Express’s report quoted an anonymous employee of the store saying a mob had barged in and pasted the apology poster on the door of the showroom.
“Around 120 people gathered in front of our showroom and six or seven of them later barged in and hurled abuses at the staff. They said they were Hindus and wouldn’t tolerate such ads. We told them that the ad was just meant to promote our jewellery business and nothing else and that the Gandhidham showroom had not issued it but that it was a decision of the company,” Express quoted the employee as saying.
In response to the outrage over its ad, Tanishq had initially disabled comments and likes/dislikes on its video on YouTube. On Tuesday, the company withdrew the video altogether.
In its statement, Tanishq said, “We are deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions and withdraw this film keeping in mind the hurt sentiments and well being of our employees, partners and store staff.”
“The idea behind the Ekatvam campaign is to celebrate the coming together of people from different walks of life, local communities and families during these challenging times and celebrate the beauty of oneness,” a spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) said on Tuesday it had rejected a complaint against the advertisement, saying there is no violation of any code. The complaint had raised “promoting communal intermingling” as a problem with the ad.
“The complaint was not upheld, as the advertisement did not violate the ASCI codes of honesty, truthfulness and decency in advertising,” ASCI said in its statement.
“ASCI has no objection to the airing of this advertisement, should the advertiser choose to do so,” the statement said.
According to ASCI, after the receipt of the complaint, the Consumer Complaints Council, an independent multi-stakeholder panel, reviewed the same.
“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,” it added.
(With PTI inputs)