Indian food technology company Zomato has defended two recent ads after they came under heavy criticism online for appearing to glorify the grueling working conditions of its drivers.
The first ad, which has been viewed over 16 million times on YouTube alone, features Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan opening the door for a drenched delivery agent.
In the ad, Roshan asks his driver Zomato for a selfie in exchange for delivering the actor’s food despite the pouring rain. At this point, the driver is given another job, to which he rushes leaving the Bollywood star without a selfie. A second ad featuring actor Katrina Kaif follows a similar premise and has more than 24 million views.
The slogan ? “Every customer is a star,” and Zomato drivers are committed to delivering on time – in the face of rain, sun and even a Bollywood celebrity.
At least that was the idea behind the ads, but they ended up leaving customers with a bitter taste. Many online commentators called the ads deaf, especially as Zomato, Swiggy and other Indian food delivery services were ranked among the worst companies for working conditions, according to 2020 Fairwork India.
Then, in an unprecedented social media protest that began in late July, delivery officials took to Twitter to anonymously document the appalling conditions they were said to have been forced to work under.
Allegations against Zomato included lack of compensation for record gasoline prices, lack of first mile pay, lack of long-distance return bonuses and daily earnings caps, even as the number of orders was skyrocketing during the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Zomato issued a statement on Twitter on August 30 in response to criticism of the ads. The statement clarified that the purpose of the ads was not to “hijack the conversation about concert workers’ payments or working conditions” but to “make delivery partners the hero of the ad.”
The recently listed food tech giant said it believed the ads were well-intentioned but ultimately distorted. He added that the company’s delivery partner’s Net Promoter Score – an indicator of whether they would be likely to recommend Zomato to others – fell from -10 to 28%, and that Zomato would blog explaining why he thinks his runners are getting compensated quite “very soon”.
Online, the statement has been criticized as a “Classic no-excuse”. Twitter user Shoeb Khan wrote: “Your ad was callous and in bad taste and you should remove them ASAP if you really care about the comments.”
Journalist Sohini Chattopadhyay wrote that Zomato’s statement was itself “confirmation that these ads were stinky.” Sucharita Tyagi called Kaif’s ad “disconcertingly deaf,” and Ankur Pathak said it “romanticized the policies of labor exploitation.”
Some have called on the company run by Deepinder Goyal to reassess the salaries of top executives, while others have accused the company of wasting money on advertisements with Bollywood celebrities instead of fairly paying its employees.
Goyal has yet to comment publicly on the backlash.
More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2021-09-02 02:11:16