4 min read.Updated: 02 Nov 2021, 01:18 AM ISTTulsi Jayakumar
It needs to be understood in all its aspects for companies to respond with due social responsibility
Several companies and brands, such as Tanishq, Fabindia and Dabur, have been in the eye of a ‘stigmatization’ storm, with their ‘progressive’ advertising being criticized and attacked for upsetting certain social ‘norms’. In the case of Dabur, it was an ad showing a same-sex couple celebrating the Hindu festival of Karva Chauth, while Fabindia’s Diwali-themed ‘culturally inappropriate’ ad showed a collection named Jashn-e-Riwaaz. Last year, a Tanishq commercial depicting an inter-faith marriage faced a similar backlash on social media , as it was accused of promoting ‘love jihad’ and ‘fake secularism’. With #BoycottTanishq trending on Twitter, the company was forced to drop it. Other companies in India have also faced ire over advertisements, including Hindustan Unilever for Surf Excel, Mankind Pharma, Ceat Tyres, Manyavar and Myntra. While such attacks and ad withdrawals cause much consternation among intellectuals and liberals who lament the death of progressive values, the issue should be seen against the larger framework of marketing and the phenomenon of stigmatization in the marketplace.