In a recent unfolding of events, Zomato, the well-known restaurant aggregator, pulled the plug on its ‘Kachra’ ad campaign this Thursday due to escalating criticism from the online community.
The controversial campaign first hit the airwaves on World Environment Day, June 5, featuring Aditya Lakhia, an actor famed for his role as ‘Kachra’ in the 2001 blockbuster movie ‘Lagaan’. In this unique ad, the audience watched the actor metamorphose into various household objects such as a stool, a lamp, and a hand towel, intriguingly underscoring the volume of plastic involved in producing these everyday items.
Zomato’s campaign objective was to spotlight the brand’s commitment to recycling and environmental sustainability. Unfortunately, the campaign’s creative approach drew fire from the internet populace who viewed it as casteist and insensitive. The outcry largely stemmed from the association of the actor’s character ‘Kachra’ in the movie ‘Lagaan’, who is portrayed as belonging to a lower caste.
Caught in the storm of online outrage, Zomato swiftly responded by withdrawing the contentious ad. The company issued a heartfelt statement, reassuring that their intentions were not to offend any communities or individuals. They emphasized that the ‘Kachra’ campaign’s sole purpose was to shed light on the importance of recycling plastic waste, particularly in observance of World Environment Day.
In their statement, Zomato mentioned, “Unintentionally, we may have hurt the sentiments of certain communities and individuals. We have taken down the video,” demonstrating their responsiveness to public sentiment and showing a sense of corporate responsibility.
While the campaign’s primary intention was environmentally focused, it undeniably stirred a considerable uproar that led to its withdrawal. This incident serves as a reminder that in an ever-increasing digital world, it is vital for brands to carefully consider cultural nuances and sensitivities when crafting their marketing strategies.