Tanishq makes a point

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani | Updated on October 31, 2013 Published on October 31, 2013

Tanishq’s latest ad is one of many moves across the country to challenge stereotypes and deeply-held beliefs.

Tanishq’s latest ad is one of many moves across the country to challenge stereotypes and deeply-held beliefs.

Tanishq’s latest ad is one of many moves across the country to challenge stereotypes and deeply-held beliefs.

In the jewellery brand’s latest ad, the bride is remarrying, and is not light-complexioned.

Late last week, social media feeds began buzzing about a jewellery brand’s ad campaign that is seen as breaking new grounds in Indian advertising.

Tanishq decided to paint its promotional campaign in bold hues during this festive and wedding season, when jewellery makers make big bucks. Its advertising campaign, which tugged at the heart strings of many viewers, has also gone viral in a big way.

It took an advertising campaign to talk about women’s remarriage, a subject which fast-changing modern Indian society is yet to embrace completely. The ad, which has been directed by Gauri Shinde of English Vinglish fame and was created by Lowe Lintas and Partners, features actress Priyanka Bose.

The campaign essentially shows the bride – who is also a mother and not light-complexioned – getting ready for her wedding. She walks to the mandap with her little daughter and as the bride and groom start taking the vows, the little girl insists she wants to participate. As the situation gets awkward and everyone (grandparents and mom) tries to shush her, the groom is seen picking up the little girl and carrying her all through the wedding ritual.

The campaign created quite a flutter as everyone had something to say on Twitter and Facebook. While one tweeted: “That Tanishq ad has worked well, everyone is talking about it”, another said, “Tanishq breaks social norms, celebrates remarriage in new ad, Good on you Tanishq.” Others believed, “Indian advertising finally coming of age, very progressive.”

Celebrities and politicians too got talking. Fashion designer Masaba Gupta, tweeted, “So proud to have lived to see a time where caramel skin and remarriage are celebrated unabashedly by a leading brand.” Director and screenwriter Nikhil Advani wrote, “The new Tanishq ad is a super step in the right direction. Full marks for saying while selling. Salute.” MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal tweeted: “A dusky bride with a daughter in an ad? Well done Tanishq Jewellery for breaking stereotypes with grace & power.”

There were others who criticised the hype around the television commercial, like this tweet: “Dear India, advertising really cannot be your moral compass-sincerely get a grip on where you’re looking for guidance from.”

The ad might have been liked or disliked but it will certainly go down in the history of Indian advertising as something that evoked strong reactions from viewers.

Meanwhile, the company said that it has always represented progressive thinking keeping in tune with the rapidly changing Indian society. “Women have greater empowerment and greater independence. With this wedding campaign and TVC our strategy was to position Tanishq as the wedding jeweller for this modern Indian woman (bride-to-be), who believes in herself. Remarriage is a reality and we are simply mirroring that,” said Deepika Tewari, General Manager and Head - Marketing (Jewellery Division), Titan Company. The company said through its campaign it is targeting all modern Indian brides who prefer the blend of simplicity and glamour and representing traditional designs in modern styles.

Brand experts and social activists have mixed opinions, though.

Social activist and Director of Centre for Social Research, Ranjana Kumari believes that while ad campaigns cannot bring about social change, it is good when they focus on the progressive portrayal of women rather than resort to clichés and stereotypes. She adds that in India, unlike the underprivileged and affluent sections of the society, it is the middle and upper middle classes which are not so comfortable with the concept of second marriage and that the brand smartly targets them through the TVC.

Brand strategy expert Harish Bijoor believes the Tanishq ad campaign has managed to create a buzz through innovative strategy, talk about a cause and at the same time cut through the clutter.

It is not the first time the company has used unconventional branding. Titan’s ad campaigns for youth brand Fastrack have always had a rebellious streak. Some brand experts believe the company had little reason to adopt the strategy to have edgy or unconventional campaigns like Fastrack.

Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director of Samsika Marketing Consultants, said, “The brand has broken away from the old and moved towards the bold. The commercial has definitely made people sit up and talk and in that respect the brand has succeeded. It does not mean that conventional strategies for brand campaigns are not valid anymore, it just means that unconventional are valid too. However, was it necessary? That’s a call different sections will have different views about.”

In the past few years, ad makers have been attempting to break stereotypes, especially when it comes to the portrayal of women or girl child.

At the same time, there has been a steady rise in the launch of awareness campaigns for social change thanks to the internet and social media networks. Take, for instance, actor Nandita Das backing an online awareness campaign run by a Chennai-based NGO called Dark is Beautiful with the tag line,” Stay Unfair, Stay beautiful”. The campaign took on ads for skin whitening creams and went viral soon. Also, a group of stand-up comedians including actor Kalki Koechlin and VJ Juhi Pande had come out with a satirical video in the wake of rise in sexual assaults against women.

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Published on October 31, 2013
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