'Tone-deaf': Zomato's ad campaign receives flak, food aggregator issues statement
At a time when the buzz around the exploitation of gig workers, especially food delivery staff, is raging on the internet, Zomato decided to honor its delivery executives with a star-studded advertisement campaign, Har customer hai star. However, the response to these ads has been bad as people have called them "tone-deaf" and "insensitive." Now, the food aggregator has issued its response.
Zomato says the ads were conceptualized six months back
Taking to its Twitter handle, Zomato posted the "other side of the story" yesterday. It took into account the complaints people have with their ads and clarified that "these ads were conceptualized six months ago (long before any social media chatter around gig worker payouts/working conditions), and were shot two months ago." They reiterated their aim was to "make delivery partners the hero" here.
'We believe that our ads were well-intentioned, but were misinterpreted'
"We believe that our ads were well-intentioned, but were unfortunately misinterpreted by some people," read the clarification further. They also promised to publish a blog soon that will explain why they think that their "delivery partners are fairly compensated for the work/time that they put in." However, this response failed to satisfy netizens, who went on to lambast the brand further.
Twitter was simply not having it! Memes and rebukes ruled
You wanna make delivery partners the heroes raise the level of dignity associtated with a delivery partner's job? Pay them well ffs. pic.twitter.com/ACORF5G3VR— AKK (@AJayAWhy) August 30, 2021
One Twitter user pointed out it was a "very salty response" on Zomato's behalf and disappoints "even those of us who were cutting some much-needed slack for Zomato in this whole social media restaurant aggregators grilling episode." Another user won the internet by noting that the firm was basically saying, "It's not me, it's you." So what did the ads show actually?
What were the controversial ads all about?
Made by advertising agency McCann India, the ads featured Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif. Zomato delivery executives were seen delivering food at their houses. The stars, good-naturedly, offer to take a selfie and share their birthday cake with the executives but the workers refuse the lucrative offers because they've another delivery to make. Obviously, the advertisers' message was lost in execution here.