Food delivery application Zomato has faced immense flak for its recent ad campaign. The two ads feature Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif respectively. In the video, we see the Zomato delivery person ringing the bell to deliver the order, surprised to see his favourite Bollywood star open the door for them. On being offered a selfie or some birthday cake, the delivery executive does not wait and leaves as he has received a request for the next order. The tagline Zomato used for the ads was 'Har Customer Hai Star'. Take a look at the advertisements shared on YouTube:
(Also Read: Zomato Changes Setting On App To Reduce Plastic Waste; Twitter Applauds)
The Zomato ads were shared last week and have raked in 15 million-plus views. The ads by Zomato were shared on Twitter as well, where they received criticism from their followers. Several called the ads 'tone-deaf', as the brand was not aware of how their delivery executives were extremely overworked. The fact that they were not allowed to relax even for a minute was pointed out by Twitter users, and that too in spite of the rainy weather. Others suggested that Zomato should pay better wages to their workers than spending on advertisements featuring Bollywood celebrities.
Take a look at some of the reactions:
Instead of paying Hrithik for an ad, you could pay your delivery executives well— ???????? پربھا ???? ????️???? (@deepsealioness) August 27, 2021
Matlab kehna kya chahte ho? Ppl get food on tym bcz delivery guys dont wait for selfies bcz their hearts are BURSTING WITH PASSION for this work? Or I dont know, maybe it's bcz you're paying them so low that they hav to fulfill as many orders as possible in a day? #FoodForThought— Ashwin Hariharan (@booleanhunter) August 27, 2021
Don't understand why stars blindly back brands that don't pay their people fair wages.— Shashank Arora (@misterarora) August 27, 2021
Fantastic commerical!! Helps illustrate that delivery workers really need to keep working 12-14 hours a day doing multiple deliveries for minimum variable income.— Chirag Wakaskar (@chiragwakaskar) August 28, 2021
I thought that this normalised a stressful working enviornment where an agent can't stick around for a couple of minutes for clicking a selfie with their favourite actor. Zomato's follow up tweet abt adding dhoop to the tip section jst added more to the tone deaf levels.— Intriguedजेnny (@IntriguedJeny) August 27, 2021
Try living the life of a delivery person for half a day. Perhaps then you will reconsider glorifying what is nothing short of brazen exploitation.— Sidrah | سِدرَة (@SidrahDP) August 27, 2021
(Also Read: Hyderabad Woman Becomes Food Delivery Executive)
The negative feedback prompted Zomato to issue a clarification. They took to Twitter to share their side of the story in a statement. Take a look:
The other side of the story... pic.twitter.com/hNRj6TpK1X— zomato (@zomato) August 30, 2021
Zomato wrote in their statement that the ads were conceptualised six months ago and shot two months ago, which according to them was long before any chatter around working conditions had begun. They said that they wanted to make the delivery partners the 'hero' of these ads, by 'raising the level of dignity' and 'demonstrating the pride' involved in the job.
They also wanted to highlight that for the Zomato delivery fleet, every customer was equally a 'star'. "We believe that our ads are well-intentioned, but unfortunately misinterpreted by some people," they wrote. They further explained that they have been intently listening to the chatter around gig workers and are actively working on this issue.
What did you think of the advertisements? Tell us in the comments below.