Kalyan Jewellers branched out in 1993 opening a store inIndia(specifically in Thrissur a district in the state of Kerala).The ancestorsof the management hail from a background of priests, saints and advisors fromTamil Nadu, India. The decision to start an enterprise came from a thought tocreating employment opportunity for as many Indians as possible as well asmaking India a self-sufficient country.
Kalyan Jewellers have broadened itsdomain from jewellery to textiles and now to real-estates.It initially startedas a textile company. T.S Kalyanaraman, Chairman & MD Kalyan Jewellers saysthat business should be pleasure, not pressure.
And he lives his belief. Aishwarya Rai Bachan is the brand ambassadorfor Kalyan jewellers for the Indian market as well as overseas.Talking aboutAishwarya Rai, she was crowned Miss World in the year 1994 and till date isbelieved to be one of those Miss World who has had left behind the biggestimpact by the means of her humanitarian works.She has been appointed as thefirst goodwill ambassador of “Smile Train”(an internationalorganisation that provides cleft lip and palette surgery for children inneed).She is still cited as the most beautiful woman in the world.She is also oneof the most leading and established contemporary of Bollywood(Indian Hindilanguage cinemas). The advertisement that was released by Kalyan jewellers on2015 featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachan wearing a stunning regal dress recliningunder the tradition Egyptian parasol which is held over her by a blackemaciated slave boy.
The background colour is white and blue. Blue is a calmingcolour that shows creativity and high intelligence. It is a colour that denotesfaithfulness, strength, wisdom and trust. Blue colour meaning is also known tohave a calming effect on the psyche.
Blue is the colour of the sky and the seaand is often used to represent these images. The colour white is oftenassociated with being pure, fresh and good. The colour of a fresh snow gives anidea of a peaceful and pure winter. The color white is often used as backgroundon many websites, as it is easy to read black or dark text on it.
During thewedding, Christian brides wear white as the sign of their purity, simplicityand naiveness. The raised eyebrows on Aishwarya’s face helps to inject anelement of surprise among the viewers.The expression of the boy shows as he isconcerned about the queen’s wellbeing which is portrayed by the model in thisadvertisement. The model is sitting with pride wearing a heavy embroidereddress and is covered with jewellery and the way she is sitting conveys that thelady belongs to the high-class level of the society.The background portrays asimple and elegant culture but having a more close view into the picture werealise that it clearly shows a dominance of the high class over the low class.Lookingcloser into the clothing and jewellery of the model we can understand that the certaintype of jewellery that she wears is the one that the ancient Mughal queens usedto wear to show their pride and flaunt their beauty and there is a highembroidery work on the dress of the model which again points out to the fashionfollowed by the Mughal queens who then believed that high embroidery wasanother way of flaunting a woman’s beauty.When we closely look at the dressingof the slave boy we can see he is wearing the ornaments that resembles to theone worn by slaves earlier and looking into his cloth we can see a simple clotharound his waist that resembles to schenti which was worn by the laborer’s andthe working class in the ancient time.
This advertisement was published in theprint copies of one of the top most leading daily. The advertisement created ahuge outburst among the customers of Kalyan jewelers as well as the fans ofAishwarya Rai Bachan.The main intention of the creative team of Kalyan jewelerswas to present royalty, aristocracy, timeless beauty and elegance but what gotconveyed to the audience was that the advertisement was encouraging not onlychild slavery but also racism which were two important topics that shook thecountry. This advertisement didn’t even go well with the social workers as wellas the keyboard warriors. It even seemed like the brand was endorsing slaveryby the dark-skinned towards the fair skinned.
Many social activists startedwriting letters to the actor stating the wrong meaning that got conveyed andhow important it was to give an assurance to the people that the advertisementwouldn’t be used anymore for the brand endorsement. One of the letters writtenby feminist activists stated that they felt that actor unknowingly promoted anadvertisement by regressively portraying a child to sell the product. Manypeople derived a much wrong meaning stating that the very fair model (AishwaryaRai) and the dark slave boy cannot just be mere coincidence. The advertisementeven encouraged servitude as the boy is shown holding a parasol over the headof the actress as portrayed in the image. Since Aishwarya is known worldwidefor the humanitarian works done for children with disabilities, reliefsprovided to many people affected by natural calamity as well as supporting HIVand AIDS affected people.
Something like this was least expected to come fromher side. It looked as if the actress was endorsing the concept of child laboras well as racism. Later Aishwarya Rai’s press team issued a statement, statingthat the original image was modified by the creative and she never shot for thead with an idea of the outcome.
Kalyan jewelers released a statement on Facebook stating “Withregard to the item Open letter to Aishwarya Rai Bachan: This ad you figure inis insidiously racist, the creative was intended to present the royalty,timeless beauty and elegance. However, if we have inadvertently hurt thesentiments of any individual or organization, we deeply regret the same. Wehave started the process of withdrawing this creative from our campaign”. Lateron they withdrew the advertisement and it was not used at any platform forfurther promotion of the brand. The publicist of Aishwarya further stated that “Atthe onset, we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observationof the perception of the advertisement. Here above an attachment of the shottaken by somebody during the shoot. The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of thecreative team for a brand.
However shall forward your article as a viewpointthat can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professionalworking on the brand visual communication. Thank you once again”.