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Zomato apologises for its sexist, cheap and crass ads, withdraws it later


“Rajni Can’t. We can,” “Bol Baby Bol, Malai Tikka Roll!,” and “acche din are finally here” are some of the ads by online restaurant ad and food delivering app Zomato, which it unveiled in its new outdoor campaign.

It suddenly became viral on social media with people sharing and talking about it.

However, some contents of the ad “MC (mac n’ cheese). BC (butter chicken)” didn’t go down well and the people showed their objections, calling it sexist, cheap and crass.

“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,” said Pramod Rao, marketing head, Zomato, talking to Mint.

The report added that advertising and brand experts unanimously agree that the creative in question was done in bad taste and can tarnish the goodwill and image of brand Zomato.

Experts also feel that Zomato failed to differentiate between crass and cool. MC and BC have no positive connotation and such kind of pun should be avoided. Besides, such words are also disrespectful towards women and this has come at a time when other brands are talking about women empowerment.

This is not the first time when Indian startups have seen such kind of backlash for their ads. Last year, Ola, Paytm, and some other startups faced similar kind of controversy and later withdrew those ads.

In April 2016, Ola Cabs withdrew one of their television campaigns titled ‘Too expensive to take girlfriend out on a date?’ for Ola Micro after facing severe social media backlash.

As per the ad, using an Ola Micro was cheaper than dating one’s girlfriend — “My girlfriend costs Rs 525 per km but Ola Micro costs just Rs 6 per km.” As a result of all the negative publicity, Ola Cabs decided to pull down the ad and also apologised for hurting the sentiments.

Post the announcement of demonetisation on November 8, Mobile wallet company Paytm came out with a digital ad ‘Drama Bandh Karo…Paytm Karo’, which they had to tone down following the social media backlash. The creative conceptualised by McCann Delhi was seen mocking at the entire scenario.

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