The Indian restaurant search and discovery service Zomato recently has created a social media storm with its out of home (OOH) campaign. Their campaign done by Akshar Pathak managed to grab a lot of eye balls and drew mixed reactions from people. Their outdoor campaign included Bollywood puns and witty pop culture references. Social media users took to Twitter to share the ads they spotted in their city. One particular ad hoarding which said 'MC.BC.' offended a certain people as it referred to a commonly used abusive Hindi language word. They expressed their discomfort with the ads, labelling them as 'sexist' and 'offensive'. Zomato's team quickly responded by not just informing people that it would take it down but it did so in a very light and humorous way.
Akshar Pathak, a Zomato employee tweeted, "Hey guys, we at @Zomato (me mostly, I'm a great team player) have been working on some outdoor ads. If you spot one in your city, please share a picture with us (me). Thanks!"
The following was one of Out Of Home (OOH) hoarding, which said "MC. BC.", which seemingly a lot of people did not like (finding it sexist and abusive).
The feedback on Social Media was mixed. However there were a few users who were highly critical of the campaign calling it in "bad taste" and a "poor marketing gimmick" to the OOH campaign. The most critical one was from Suhel Seth who criticized Zomato for what he termed a 'shameful' ad. He even tagged Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani as well as the Advertising Standards Council of India in the tweet. Suhel has over 4 million followers on Twitter.
Zomato's team was quick to act on the feedback and backlash on social media. In an email response to queries, Pramod Rao the marketing head Zomato said that “While it was not our intention, we can understand how that one particular creative could have been perceived as offensive. We will be withdrawing that creative in particular”
They even responded on social media and won back praises from the most critical of users. Pankaj Chaddah (Co-founder Zomato) replied back to Suhel saying, "Hey, while we didn't mean to, we can see why it can be offensive to people, and we apologize for it. We will take this ad down with immediate effect. cc @AksharPathak @prao24"
Akshar Pathak too had a funny take on this.
Zomato's final reply to this controversy was simply funny and was loved by a lot of people. It makes their brand more human and authentic.
They also managed to convince Suhel.
Suhel finally appreciated Zomato for having amazing grace and sense of fairness. All is well that ends well and maybe all publicity is good publicity.
Full credit to the Zomato team for turning this around and having a good presence of mind.
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