As the nation geared up to celebrate the pious festival of Navratri, a couple of brands dominated the national headlines displaying their complete lack of understanding of the Indian market as their festive advertisements managed to infuriate a large chunk of the country. Tanishq and Eros are a shining example for all the brand managers out there to restructure their PR and Advertising departments if they don’t wish to lose money.
Tanishq kicked off the festivities with an advertisement which was supposed to project oneness in all religions, however, it ended up backfiring gloriously as Tanishq had to later remove the advertisement – which was nothing but a foolish experiment far from the truth and it was only natural for the Hindus suffering the stigma of love jihad to protest.
However, Tanishq, while removing the advertisement, took potshots at the Hindu community by stating that it wants to keep its employees, staff and partners safe. It was as if Hindus are vengeful goons who will go on a hunting spree if anyone dares offend their sentiments. Whereas the reality is that Hindus have been the beacons of tolerance since the beginning of time.
Now, it’s completely up to the brand if they want to resort to political activism through their campaigns, but even Philip Kotler will swear by the rule of never hurting the sentiments of your clientele.
Hence, it’s surprising that Tanishq, whose largest clientele comes from Hindu families chose to make this advertisement, with Navratri and Diwali just around the corner. Hindus have a tradition of buying and gifting gold on festivals, marriages, and other occasions. Tanishq is a huge brand that will survive, but it is not unreasonable to say that Tanishq has lost a large chunk of its client base forever.
Eros Now, on the other hand, went for the completely indefensible by attempting to besmirch the pious festival of Navratri through its vulgar attempt at moment marketing. Eros Now quiet urged people to “get naughty” this Navratri through its double meaning posts.
While Eros Now took down the creative and issued an apology stating, “We at Eros love and respect our cultures equally. It is not, and it has never been, our intention to hurt anyone’s emotions. We have deleted the concerned posts and we apologise for having offended anybody’s sentiments,” the damage is already done with #BoycottErosNow trending for the larger part of the day on Twitter as soon as the posts went up.
Eros Now, whose only claim to fame till date is the web series on PM Modi, which they created and received a lot of love, and subscribers for the same, has managed to permanently alienate the nationalist chunk of its subscribers and prospective subscribers.
The posts were downright vulgar and any sane brand manager worth his salt would have never approved the posts which saw Navratri as an opportunity to further their own luscious content, laced abundantly with sexual connotations.
The brands need to realise that Indians are much more assertive as compared to the previous decade and will not take insults to their religion lying down. No brand can conquer India as a marketplace by hurting the sentiments of the majority of the population. The support from the left-liberal cabal and blue tick handles would matter little when it comes to revenue and brand equity.
The controversies surrounding Tanishq and Eros Now are a much-needed wake-up call for all the brands to urgently restructure their PR and advertising departments to avoid permanently damaging their brand equity.