Zomato Forced To Take Down Porn Campaign

Zomato had revealed the results of its porn marketing campaign with much fanfare. The campaign had involved advertising on porn websites to promote Zomato’s night time deliveries. And the idea, however unconventional, had worked. Zomato had managed to draw people to its site at record low costs. It had seemed like a perfect startup hack – an insight into consumer behaviour that had demonstrable results. Yet the campaign’s been taken down a day after it was announced.

Zomato says that while response to the campaign was largely positive, not everyone was okay with it. “Some folks got offended by the campaign, felt the campaign was in poor taste, and it wasn’t something they expected from a brand of our standard. Some also said that all porn is not legal, and by advertising on porn websites, we are financially supporting abuse – certainly something we don’t want to do.”, the company said in a statement.

ghoonghat

The company acknowledged that while the campaign was “textbook startup marketing”, being a mature player in the industry, it had to set the right examples and convey the right messages. Zomato said that it sensed the campaign crossed the “fine line between marketing irreverence and cultural insensitivity”, and apologized to those who were offended by it.

Zomato has always been pushing the envelope when it comes to marketing. They haven’t always had great results. When the company decided to move its offices from Bangalore to Delhi, it ran a campaign that compared Bangalore unfavourably to the nation’s capital. The aim, ostensibly, was to promote Delhi as a new tech destination, but the denizens of Bangalore didn’t take it too kindly. A backlash on Twitter erupted, followed with parody campaigns and threats to uninstall its app. A hasty retraction was issued, and the campaign was taken down.

More recently, Zomato’s relief efforts toward the Chennai floods was questioned for being self serving. The company had decided to match each meal that people bought and deliver it to the affected people in Chennai, but this move was derided as being opportunistic and a means to drum up sales.

Earlier this month Snapdeal had faced a backlash from outraged users when its brand ambassador, Aamir Khan, had made comments that some had deemed anti national.

India, on a whole, is currently in the midst of a vociferous intolerance debate. What had started off as political grandstanding has slowly been seeping into the national consciousness. When everyone from National Award winners to politicians are subject to moral policing by the masses, could startups have been far behind?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Comments

comments