Zomato ads: Culturally insensitive, but marketing wise?

So Zomato ads, like most of Zomato’s marketing has created a bit of controversy.

The one school of thought is :

Hey! These are extremely creative, funny and cheesy.

The other school of thought.

This is an extremely insensitive campaign and sexists.

Sharing a few comments from my FB post.

I admire Zomato, Entrepeneur and the team – but this is not in right spirit of the brand to advertise – all of us , especially successful companies, brands and entrepreneurs have to set an example . Irreverent, humorous, tongue-in-cheek – all are fine but this crosses the line. Derogatory , sexist – does more harm than good [Ganesh of Tutorvista]

And Shilpi Singh who has earlier worked with O&M

It is derogatory. Its neither intelligent nor humorous..yes, it gets the attention..and that’s the parameter of success? Brands so insensitive to 50% of the population ? Extremely sexist and shameful…just because it is a part of common lingo does not make it right and definitely does not need space on the screeching hoarding.

For Zomato, this is part of the marketing campaign and the only goal is to create more awareness about their Zomato Order service. They wanted to reach out to the ‘mass’ audience in a very cost effective and cheesy way, which definitely goes with Zomato’s overall brand positioning (do checkout their anti-Bangalore campaign for hiring).

What’s the right thing to do here?

[1] Being sensitive and respectful to the culture ?


[2] Do whatever it takes to bring eyeballs. Don’t just burn money.

As a consumer company, how do you decide? You can always get cheesy and run a ‘holds-no-bar’ ad (remember those perfume ads which almost look like condom ads), or get very traditional and run those boring ads (get 30% discount).
Is there a mid-way? Is mid-way worth exploring? The only brand which has cracked this space is Amul – and that’s precisely the reason why executing a ‘lovable/cheeky’ ad for masses is so damn difficult.
As a founder of a (scaled up) consumer company which also needs to be a little more responsible and respectful (to others), would you like to first run such ads first on your family members / team members (esp women) and get their nod?
What’s the right thing to do, given cost pressure?

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