Zomato - a restaurant search and discovery service - recently rolled out a bunch of cheeky outdoor ad campaigns that are grabbing the attention of daily commuters.
The ad hoardings include Bollywood puns and witty pop culture references that are turning heads as many social media users took to Twitter to share every ad they spotted in their city.
Needless to say, the ad campaign with its funny creatives has gone viral on social media.
Here are some hoardings:
Akshar Pathak, a Zomato employee took to the microblogging site and wrote, "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!"
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! 😇 ☺️ pic.twitter.com/sxl5qYpAuk— Akshar (@AksharPathak) November 29, 2017
While many appreciated the creativity.
Awesome work by the team, I mean you! Very well done!!— Nakuul Mehta (@NakuulMehta) November 30, 2017
Some didn't. This particular ad didn't go well with the author and social commentator Suhel Seth. The ad includes puns on "MC" and "BC" – acronyms for Hindi profanities.
The copy read,
mac n' cheese? butter chicken?"
Some found it sexist.
So the PR bandwagon of Zomato's new outdoor campaign is rolling.— Ashok Lalla (@ashoklalla) November 30, 2017
Expectedly, it ignores the outrage against its MC BC creative.
And we wonder about why sexism is alive and kicking. So much for apparently being a category *leader*. pic.twitter.com/XlGsLBsVOT
Calling the ad "shameful," Seth tagged the Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani and the Advertising Standards Council of India in a tweet and wrote, "Shame on you @ZomatoIN ! Absolutely shameful what you’ve attempted to do. Your investors should be sickened by your behaviour! @smritiirani : this is outrageous. @ascionline"
Shame on you @ZomatoIN ! Absolutely shameful what you’ve attempted to do. Your investors should be sickened by your behaviour! @smritiirani : this is outrageous. @ascionline pic.twitter.com/pSChhHSrxo— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) November 30, 2017
Twitterati had mixed reactions to Seth's tweet.
It's all about your thinking. MC and BC are just two english alphabets brought together and used as an acronym for Mac n Cheese and Butter chicken. You need to change your thinking sir! @AksharPathak— Akshay Narkar (@AkiDoiT) November 30, 2017
How sad that one offended man can bring down a corporate company who in the eyes of law has actually done nothing wrong. Bullying needs to STOP— K (@KirtikaChandani) November 30, 2017
Also, perhaps a reflection of the Delhi culture?I mean, there is no other place on Earth where Zomato would have had the balls to even contemplate such a risqué advert!— Gaurav Kajaria (@gauravkajaria) November 30, 2017
Honestly this is regressive advertising. i saw another v sickly regressive ad from camlin marker pens. what's wrong ppl? can't we have advertisements which don't sound crass and can be enjoyed by all age groups?— Gauri Pokhariyal (@gauripokhariyal) November 30, 2017
Following the outrage, the company's co-founder Pankaj Chaddah immediately apologised for the ad, saying that the company will take it down.
"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," Chaddah wrote.
Seth later acknowledged Chaddah's apology and wrote, "That is wonderful and what’s even more is that you have amazing grace and a sense of fairness. This is what great brands are about!"
That is wonderful and what’s even more is that you have amazing grace and a sense of fairness. This is what great brands are about! https://t.co/86jSjzT2LX— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) November 30, 2017
And there was some banter between the Zomato employees.
I've already started working on the replacement creative. pic.twitter.com/DkTSlbeUiJ— Akshar (@AksharPathak) November 30, 2017
Sure, and I've already started looking for your replacement. :)— Pankaj Chaddah (@pankajchaddah) November 30, 2017