Tanishq might have taken down its love jihad ad, but the effects of the social media outrage might be being felt in the stock market.
Titan, which owns the brand Tanishq, saw its share price fall 2.58 percent the day after #BoycottTanishq had trended on social media. Titan’s stock had closed at Rs. 1256 the previous day, but fell through the trading session, finally ending up at Rs. 1224. This represented a 2.58 percent fall, and Titan, which has a market cap of Rs. 1.09 lakh crore, saw its collective shareholder wealth be eroded by Rs. 2700 crore. The broader Nifty Index ended flat, rising 0.03 percent on the same day.
It’s not always possible to pinpoint the causes behind movements in stock prices, but Titan’s brand Tanishq had been at the center of a social media storm all of yesterday. After the company had released an ad that netizens said promoted love jihad, over a lakh tweets with the hashtag ‘BoycottTanshiq’ had been sent out. Hundreds of other social media users had said that they would never buy Tanishq products again.
The company had sought to do damage control, and had taken the video down from YouTube. But the social media anger had continued to simmer, with citizens sharing examples of cases in which Hindu women had been killed by their Muslim husbands, or been forced to convert to Islam. The very day the ad was released, two Hindu men had been killed by the families of their Muslim partners — in Bengaluru, Hindu man Lakshmipathi was killed by the family of his Muslim girlfriend because her father was opposed to the inter-faith union. In Delhi, 18-year-old Rahul was murdered by Mohammad Afroz, Mohammad Raj and 3 others over his relationship with a Muslim girl. OpIndia reported that 20 cases of love jihad had been reported in just the last two months, and 11 cases were reported from Kanpur alone. Things have come to such a head that the Uttar Pradesh government is mulling an ordinance to check the barbaric practice, and the Assam government has said that it’ll take serious measures to fight love jihad in its state.
As such, it wasn’t perhaps in Tanishq’s interest to broach such a sensitive subject in an ad that was meant to promote its products. And with BoycottTanshiq having trended all of yesterday, and its stock price being hammered a day later, Tanshiq’s newest ad campaign might go down as one of the worst marketing mistakes in Indian advertising history.