Explained: Why Zomato’s New Campaign Starring Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif Led to Backlash

If you’re using YouTube or any other social media site, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the new Zomato ads featuring Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan. The new ‘Har customer hai Star’ commercials, which aimed to promote the company’s prompt delivery and special customer service, sparked outrage as viewers highlighted the not-so-healthy working conditions imposed on delivery partners. Zomato valets. .

To understand all the controversy surrounding Zomato’s ad campaign, let’s start by finding out what ads are all about.

What is Zomato’s new advertising campaign?

A few days ago, Zomato released two commercials featuring Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif as part of the “Har customer hai star” campaign.

The commercial featuring Hrithik Roshan makes him name “Jadoo” as Zomato’s delivery valet in reference to the super powerful alien from his movie Koi Mil Gaya. He then goes on to say that the delivery partner is nothing less than “Jadoo” because, rain or shine, they always deliver on time. Hrithik offers to take a selfie with the man and walks away from the door to pick up his phone. As he walks away, the valet’s phone begins to ring. “Ab yahan selfie ke liye rukta, see you next late order ho jaata. Voh kya hai na, Hrithik Roshan ho ya aap, apne liye har client hai star (If I had stopped for a selfie here, the next order would have been delayed. For us, whether it’s Hrithik Roshan or you, every customer is a Star). “

The advertisement featuring Katrina Kaif points in the same direction. The only difference being that instead of a selfie, Katrina gives the valet cake. The delivery man has to move away to get to the next place because, as the ad further emphasizes, every customer is a “star”.

Why are Zomato’s new ads criticized?

As soon as the new ads went live online, viewing audiences responded by hiring high-priced celebrities, while Zomato has already been criticized for the poor pay structure of its delivery people. Previously, delivery men had taken to social media to protest job insecurity, low wages, mistreatment and poor working conditions. So for a valet to be excited for their next order while upholding the age-old ‘customer is king’ thinking was seen as a laundering exercise.

Shortly after Zomato announced its IPO, the company dominated Twitter trends, but the topic of exploitation of delivery managers started to gain momentum as well. Since many of these workers work under contract, they do not enjoy the benefits of being an employee. As the Cavaliers fought for an increase in their income and employment status, Zomato’s hiring of celebrities as tall as Hrithik and Katrina was seen as deaf. It was pointed out that if the company has such deep pockets, it should pay its employees first, instead of hiding its image.

Another factor that was widely criticized in the ads was the high pressure work of a delivery valet. The public was quick to point out that working conditions don’t look healthy if a worker isn’t even allowed to take a minute for himself between deliveries. In the context of the ad, the valets cannot stay for a selfie or a piece of cake as they are in such a rush to get to the next location, which has been interpreted as a seemingly difficult condition to work on.

What is Zomatos’ response to the controversy?

Days after the ads received a ton of backlash, Zomato posted a statement on Twitter with the caption “The other side of the story…” with which they tried to explain their point of view and the intention of the campaign. In his statement, Zomato admitted that they had heard of the criticism of the ads, saying they were called “deaf” for hiring celebrities “to hijack the conversation about paying gig workers.”

In a long note, they explained their point of view when designing the campaign. Their first argument was that these ads were conceptualized six months ago, “well before any social media chatter about the pay / working conditions of concert workers”, which, in fact, is only partially true. . The social media chatter may have picked up steam recently, but the conversation about unfair payments led Zomato workers to protest in towns like Bhubaneshwar in 2019. Unfair treatment of workers has also taken its toll. topicality, whether it is an altercation with a client. , or the religion of a valet / customer becoming a factor in the delivery of certain food products.

According to Zomato, they wanted to project their delivery partners as a “hero” and wanted to encourage the practice of customers talking with respect to people delivering their food. They added, “Last but not least, reiterate that every customer is a star to us and no less than Hrithik or Katrina.” Zomato also mentioned that while their ads were well intentioned, they were “unfortunately misinterpreted by some people.”

Their note ended with a statement that they had “listened to all the gossip about concert workers” and that they “were already actively working on it.” Zomato also claimed that their “delivery partners are fairly compensated for the work / time they put into it.”

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