This is why we can’t have nice things.
Zomato has said that it’ll take down a hilarious hoarding that was part of its new marketing campaign following outrage from a single man — Suhel Seth. Suhel Seth, who’s famous for reasons nobody quite understands, apparently came across Zomato’s creative which said MC. BC. in large letters, and later expanded them as Mac n’ Cheese and Butter Chicken. Seth sent off an angry tweet. “Shame on you Zomato,” he raged. “Absolutely shameful what you’ve attempted to do. Your investors should be sickened by your behaviour.” He tagged Union Cabinet Minister Smriti Irani for good measure, telling her that the ad was apparently “outrageous.”
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
This particular creative — and the others in this series — had won much praise for Zomato over the last couple of days. Social media had been gushing about how clever the jokes were, with hundreds of tweets praising the company for its sense of humour. But one tweet from a sad, attention-seeking man appeared to cause Zomato to backtrack.
“Hey, while we didn’t mean to, we can see why it can be offensive to people, and we apologize for it,” said Zomato cofounder Pankaj Chaddah. “We will take this ad down with immediate effect.”
— Pankaj Chaddah (@pankajchaddah) November 30, 2017
Twitter wasn’t going to be so easy on Seth though — some people ended up calling him worse names than the ones on the hoarding.
Can’t believe you bowed down to suhel chutiya seth
— Vasant Iyer (@vasant_iyer) November 30, 2017
Others wondered if Seth wanted outrage coupons, given how they were he needed to use them remain relevant.
or better, offer a outrage coupon that they can use to get 5% off on next order
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) November 30, 2017
Others wondered how this uppity attitude could impact other fields.
Hey, in that case can we ask BCCI to sack Kohli from team since he is the one who is fond of uttering MC,BC on national TV?
— Ankur Tandon (@tweet_me_80) November 30, 2017
Zomato’s fans, though, appeared to be firmly behind their company.
Love this ad, quite funny. – Your loyal customer.
— Kunal Chaudhary (@kunaalchaudhary) November 30, 2017
Some angry professional feminists had appeared to get behind Seth’s demands, but lots of women categorically said that they were not offended.
— Enjeela Shakeel (@EnjeelaShakeel) 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
But the last word was had by Zomato’s Akshar Pathak, who’d originally designed the creative. He said he was working on a replacement.
I've already started working on the replacement creative. pic.twitter.com/DkTSlbeUiJ
— Akshar (@AksharPathak) November 30, 2017
The hoarding will likely be taken down, and with it bring yet another blow to the supposed freedom of speech in the country. If Seth found the hoarding offensive, he could’ve complained to the relevant authorities, who could’ve then investigated the matter. But a internet lynch mob is the preferred choice of Suhel Seth and his ilk. And the more attention we pay to them, the more harmless fun will be held hostage by the humourless, loony fringe he represents.