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NEW DELHI: Advertising associations, both global and domestic, have come out in support of Titan Ltd-owned jewellery brand Tanishq which had to withdraw its advertisement featuring an interfaith family after being viciously trolled across social media platforms.

The India chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) on Wednesday said it strongly reiterates the need to strengthen and safeguard the fundamental right to express and receive commercial expression as guaranteed in Section 19 (1) (A) of the Constitution of India. Any attempt to stifle this should be condemned in the strongest of terms.

"The events which led to the recent Tanishq advertisement being pulled back are very unfortunate. While we respect the opinion of every individual on subjective matters, these should not descend to illegal threats and anti-social behaviour," said the association.

IAA appealed to the concerned authorities to take a serious view of such intimidating behaviour and take exemplary action where required to ensure that businesses are provided a safe environment to communicate their brand advertising messages and contribute to economic resurgence of the country.

Two key national advertising industry bodies ‐ Advertising Agencies Association Of India (AAAI) and The Advertising Club (TAC) also said that they stand united for the right of advertisers to promote their businesses in a safe environment.

AAAI said it disapproves the targeting of the recent Tanishq ad featuring an interfaith family. "The threats against Tanishq as well as its employees, which led to the withdrawal of the advertisement, are a matter of great regret and concern," it added.

The Advertising Club said after a review by its internal team consisting of multi‐sectoral experts the association agrees that the campaign broke no ethical standards, was not derogatory to person, organisation or religion, and did not hurt national sentiment.

"Our industry allied bodies of IAA and AAAI endorse our view that such baseless and irrelevant attack on creative expression is extremely concerning and we together stand by the team at Tanishq and against such aggression," TAC said.

On Tuesday, ad industry watchdog Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) had said its panel had reviewed the Tanishq Ekatvam ad after receiving a complaint of it being objectionable. “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 noted.

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