Get Over The Divide

Zomato-ad-campaign

Zomato’s Ad Campaign Invites Criticism

Every time we plan to go out for dinner or lunch the first thing we do is log onto Zomato.com to find out if there is a new restaurant in town. However, have you ever looked at the careers section of this site? I don’t think so. In fact, neither did I, not until recently when a friend looking for a job brought it to my notice.

What attracted us to this section was the innovative way in which they advertised the job openings in Delhi. In trying to make the entire recruitment process more “happening” as it were, they decided to humor the applicants through an advertisement suggesting that Delhi be made the “tech capital” of India.

Their website read, “We are on a mission to make Delhi the official Tech Capital of India. Just imagine the country’s best engineers, product managers, and designers, all in one city. That’ll be one hell of a force to reckon with.”

They further added, “Honestly, we have a really hard time understanding Bangalore’s tag as Tech Capital. The more we think about it, the less sense it makes. Delhi has a lot more tech success stories than Bangalore.”

The site also listed reasons why Bangalore’s IT crowd should relocate to Delhi. Reasons like Delhi’s wide roads where you “apparently” don’t get stuck in traffic, thus having more time to spend with your family, and Delhi’s night life which allows you to “play past bed time.”

These are some of the things that the people residing in Bangalore often complain about, but given that this criticism came from the people of Delhi—otherwise known as the rape capital of India—the locals lost their cool and unleashed a social media war against Zomato.

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Personally speaking, I think this advertisement was Zomato’s best campaign ever, and that there was no need to create such havoc around it. That’s the problem with us Indians, we are always ready to make fun of everything that’s out there in the world be it politicians, movies or our own friends, but when someone does the same with us we take offence. All that the advertisement said was that Delhi’s traffic isn’t as bad as Bangalore—which by the way I am not very sure of—and that there are no curfews on partying late night. I mean don’t people often joke about the same on Facebook by sharing random memes:

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Seeing so many negative responses, Zomato took down the post by Thursday evening and posted an apology issued by their founder Deepinder Goyal which read, “What we thought was a cheeky dig at Bangalore spiralled into something we never imagined. This was just a hiring campaign to attract the right talent, and not to offend, outrage, degrade, stereotype, or do any of the terrible things that have been claimed. We’re crazy, not stupid. While we totally understand that this might have been a troll too far, some of the things that were said were mind-numbing. The suggestions that we’re trying to create a racial divide in the country, or that we have anything against people from any part of the country, were disappointing.”

The fact of the matter is that even though we criticize our politicians for creating a divide between us, we ourselves aren’t united in spirit. Which is why we take offence every time there is a city vs. city war, and especially when its North Indians vs South Indians.

As comedian Gursimran Khamba in his article on Zomato’s advertisement campaign writes, Ever so often I am asked as a comedian if Indians are ready to laugh at themselves and I usually respond in the affirmative. Incidents like these remind you of how fragile this sense of self really is. If the supposedly progressive lot on Twitter reacts this way what hope do we really have for the rest of the country. The few times a company tries to do something different we shut them down with our own sense of morality.

Here we were worried about a backlash for making jokes about Narendra Modi and turns out we have to start with worrying about techies from Bangalore first.”

Shraddha Jandial

Image Source [http://job-zone.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Recruiting.jpg]