Marketing in the digital age is weird — traditional campaigns have been taken over by social media influencers, and companies now don’t just sell products, they try to sell whole lifestyles. But one can fully appreciate how strange things have gotten when a tweet from a company asking customers to use less of its own product ends up being the biggest marketing move of all.
Zomato’s tweet asking users to eat more home-cooked food has gone viral. “Guys, kabhi kabhi ghar ka khana bhi kha lena chahiye“, the company had playfully tweeted on 3rd July. On the face of it, you’d think the tweet would hurt Zomato’s business — as more people cook at home, there are fewer takers for Zomato’s food delivery service. But Zomato’s tweet, which felt like part friendly advice, partly humblebrag about how popular its service was, seemed to strike a chord.
Guys, kabhi kabhi ghar ka khana bhi kha lena chahiye
— Zomato India (@ZomatoIN) July 3, 2019
But even as the tweet racked up retweets and likes — it had been retweeted more than 3,000 times at the time of writing — other companies joined in. YouTube India asked users to put away their phones and find some time to sleep.
Guys, kabhi kabhi raat ke 3 baje, phone side pe rakh ke ? jaana chahiye https://t.co/pnhLejzVBK
— YouTube India (@YouTubeIndia) July 5, 2019
While Amazon Prime India asked users to find some time to drag themselves away from its service and watch some cable TV instead.
guys, kabhi kabhi cable pe bhi kuch dekh lena chahiye https://t.co/HKxxCUfMc2
— amazon prime video IN (@PrimeVideoIN) July 4, 2019
Online payments platform Mobikwik asked users to stand in queues and pay their bills.
Guys, kabhi kabhi queue me lag ke bhi Electricity bill pay kar dena chahiye https://t.co/PGYkM8pNAW
— MobiKwik (@MobiKwik) July 5, 2019
And BookMyShow asked people to queue up as well, this time at movie theatres.
Office shuttle service Shuttl asked people to work from home.
Guys, kabhi kabhi work from home bhi kar lena chahiye https://t.co/Qn1i4EbQCi
— Shuttl (@Shuttl_Ind) July 8, 2019
The requests kept getting more outlandish. Radio station Radio City asked its users to connect aux cables in their cars to listen to songs, while travel portal Ixigo asked users to stay at home instead of taking vacations. Traditional brands too joined in — Hajmola asked users to digest some gossip on their own instead of solely relying on its candies. But Zomato still had a zinger up its sleeve — it tagged all these other tweets, and told these brands: Guys, how about you think of some good tweets by yourselves?
Guys, kabhi kabhi khud ke acche tweet bhi soch lene chahiye. pic.twitter.com/rnsuoqBYAR
— Zomato India (@ZomatoIN) July 8, 2019
This tweet has gotten 2,300 retweets of its own, with people clearly appreciating Zomato’s tongue-in-cheek edginess. Zomato’s original tweet, the many subtweets from other brands, and its final parting shot, have possibly gained the company hundreds and thousands of impressions. A few decades ago, it would’ve taken an elaborate ad campaign, a star-cast, and a large marketing budget to do something comparable. These days, as Zomato has shown, all it can take a Twitter account and some creativity.