Ad plays with the short forms of misogynistic Hindi expletives MC-BC, translating it to ‘mac n’ cheese’ and ‘butter chicken’
The advertisement plays with the short forms of misogynistic Hindi expletives MC-BC, translating it to “mac n’ cheese” and “butter chicken”. Ever since the campaign went live earlier this week, the company has been drawing flak as people didn’t seem to find the puns humorous.
The billboard in question has been rolled out as part of a larger campaign that is executed by Madison and Outdoor Advertising Professionals (OAP). The rest of the ads use catchy slogans, which play on current affairs, or Bollywood cinema such as “acche din, are finally here” and “oonchi hai building? Lift teri band hai? We’ll still deliver in time”.
Experts agree with critics of Zomato’s latest ad campaign, saying it was done in bad taste and possibly with the intent of stirring up a storm on public forums. Some of them said they actually enjoyed the rest of the campaign except for the offensive MC-BC creative.
“There is increased sensitivity in society that has finally come in, but these guys are saying let’s throw that away and go back to square one. They’re legitimising that this is how Delhi speaks and it’s perfectly fine, let’s continue speaking like that,” said Karthik Srinivasan, national lead for social at Ogilvy.
He adds that Zomato’s intention seems to aim at provocating, which they have been successful at. However, he points out that it’s wrong for a brand like Zomato, which is a market leader, to think any publicity is good publicity because polarising an audience could backfire and lead to loss of customers.
“A market leader needs to be a little more sensitive. There are so many ways to provoke and this brings to the fore a lack of imagination. Especially, when your audience is young and more sensitive to issues, an ad like this reflects very badly on the brand,” added Srinivasan.
“Having said that, some people were offended by one of the creatives used as a part of the campaign and felt it was in poor taste and wasn’t something they expected from a home-grown brand like ours. It’s certainly not something we would intentionally want to do. There was neither any malice or disrespect intended, nor any agenda to stir up a controversy,” the spokesperson added.
The company even followed up the campaign, which largely went under the radar, with a blog post boasting about how it had witnessed a spike in late-night orders after it began advertising on porn websites. The backlash had forced the company to pull the plug on the campaign and issue a public apology.
First Published: Sat, December 02 2017. 21:46 IST