oppn parties Brand Messaging Comes Under Fire

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  • India's sovereign green bonds were oversubscribed four times as the RBI received 266 bids worth Rs 32892cr agaisnt the target of Rs 8000cr
  • Google tweaks its Android and India app store policy to allow manufacturers and users to choose certain things instead of compulsorily using Google apps after the CCI order and fine for unfairly dominating the market
  • Former US secretary of state calls former Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj a "goofback" and a "hinterland political hack". MEA S Jaishankar slams him
  • Jamia screening of BBC documentary on Gujarat riots cancelled after the university was turned into a fortress and later 13 students were detained by the police
  • Supreme Court grants conditional interim bail for eight weeks to Lakhimpur Kheri accused Ashish Mishra. The bail can be further extended based on his conduct. He was asked to stay outside Delhi-NCR and UP and surrender his passport
  • After the JNU administration tried to thwart the students from screening the BBC documentary on the Gujarat riots and PM Modi, now students of Presidency and Jadavpur universities in Kolkata have decided to screen it 5 times next week
  • While a US research frim Hindenburg says its analysis found the Adani group overleveraged and claimed that its bubble will burst very soon and that sent the price of group companies crashing (Adani companies lost a combined Rs 55000cr), Adani group said the report was 'baseless' and 'malicious'
  • This time Enforcement Directorate arrests TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale under PMLA for money laundering
  • Padma awards announced on Republic Day: Mulayam Singh Yadav, architect Balkrishna Doshi and ORS pioneer Dilip Mahalanobis get Padma Bibhushan posthumously, Padma Bhushan ius awarded to Kumar Mangalam Birla and 8 others and 91 get Padma Shri
  • Stocks fall big time on Wednesday on F&O expiry, finalncial and banks take big hit: Sensex tumbles 773 points to 60205 and Nifty 226 points to 17892 even as the market volatility meter shoots up by 8.51%
  • World Cup hockey: Germany stun England 4-3 to reach semifinals; Netherlands beat Korea 5-1 to enter last four
  • Australian Open: Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna reach the finals
  • Suryakumar Yadav is named ICC Cricketer of the Year 2022 and Renuka Singh gets the ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2022 award
  • BCCI gets a whopping Rs 4670cr in the auctions for the 5 teams in WIPL or as it will be known now, WPL. Adani Sportline gets Ahmedabad for Rs 1289cr while Mumbai Indians get Mumbai for 913cr
  • Calcutta HC overturns the hookah bar ban in Kolkata by saying that it is not an illegal trade
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oppn parties
Brand Messaging Comes Under Fire

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2021-10-26 15:50:18

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

Movies, books, paintings and other works of art, television and web serials, among other things; and their creators, were always targeted by vested interests and the work of art was either banned or not allowed to be displayed publicly, even vandalized and the creators subjected to abuse and even assaulted. All this happened regularly, especially in the last 8-9 years, as the vested groups became smaller, their attention became more focused and they started picking on even the smallest of things even as a friendly regime at the Centre looked the other way. But now, these groups have even started picking on advertisements of brands and in some cases, even on the name of a newly-launched collection.

The most recent case is of Dabur, the homegrown FMCG company. It had issued an advertisement for its Fem bleach product where it showed a lesbian couple celebrate Karvachauth.  After a backlash from people who could not understand the progressive nature of the ad, Dabur was forced to issue an unconditional apology and withdraw the ad. This had to happen as just a couple of days ago the Centre had informed the Supreme Court that it was not in favour of legalizing gay marriages.

This comes close on the heels of the huge backlash faced by clothing brand Fab India which had named its Diwali collection as "Jashn-e-Riwaaj". It was told that Diwali was a 'tyohaar' and not a 'jashn' and wearing ethnic clothes on the occasion was a 'parampara' and not 'riwaaj'. The brand had to quickly issue an apology and change the name of the collection.

Before that, a Manyavar-Mohey ad featuring Alia Bhatt ran into trouble when it showed a bride-to-be question the custom of Kanyadaan and demanded Kanyamaan. Although the ad was beautifully done and there was nothing objectionable in it, as it just asked viewers to reflect on the custom without showing that the girl had not allowed it to happen, there was a huge backlash against the ad and some people even started a "boycott Manyavar" campaign.

Back in 2020, two ads by jewellery brand Tanishq had also been targeted, one for asking people not to burst firecrackers on Diwali and another for showing Muslim in-laws of a Hindu bride pampering her on her god bharai (baby shower) ceremony. The first ad was objected to as people said the brand should not preach how they will celebrate the festival while they said that the second ad promoted 'love jihad' and not communal harmony as intended.

On the one hand these incidents showed how people are now offended even with the smallest of things and how social media has provided these vested interests with a platform to target people and spew venom, on the other hand it proved that companies now have to be careful in what they put out as the backlash can be severe and can even result in huge losses. But should brands not make an effort to be progressive in their messaging? Try explaining that to the mobs. In the end, brands will play it safe as promoting social awareness at the cost of huge losses is not a sensible thing to do for businesses.