Here is why Zomato and FabIndia is facing social media backslash!

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The two recent brands to come under fire on social media is Zomato & Fabindia. #Reject_Zomato and #boycottFabIndia is trending on Twitter and the angry Netizens are urging people to stay away from both brands.

Zomato and FabIndia are not the lone ones to come in the line of criticism from social media users. Nykaa faced criticism for their Navratri sale, Byju’s for having Shah Rukh Khan when his son was arrested recently, Mohey (Kanyamaan) for hurting religious sentiments and Tanishq’s last year Diwali ad.

So What exactly happened with Zomato and FabIndia this time? 


Zomato Issue:

Zomato was criticised on Twitter after one of their customer service representatives allegedly told a customer from Tamil Nadu to “learn Hindi”. The customer posted screenshots of their chat and soon #Reject_Zomato began trending.


Zomato apologised to the customer, calling the incident unacceptable. It also issued a statement — in Tamil and English — stressing that it stood for diversity.


Zomato initially sacked the customer service representative and later re-instated the sacked representative.

Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal took to Twitter informing about the company’s decision to reinstate the employee, saying she should not have been fired over this issue and that “she can learn and do better about going forward”.



FabIndia Issue:

FabIndia was subjected to trolling — including by political leaders — and had to withdraw their ad for their latest clothing collection called ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’, which pays homage to Indian culture.

After pulling down the advertisement and the tweet, FabIndia claimed that the ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’ collection was not a part of its Diwali Collection.

“Our current capsule of products under the name Jashn-e-Riwaaz is a celebration of Indian traditions. The phrase means that, literally. The capsule is not our Diwali Collection of products. Our Diwali collection is called ‘Jhilmil si Diwali’. It is yet to be launched,” a FabIndia spokesperson said.

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya took to Twitter to slam the FabIndia ad and asked to impose “economic cost” on FabIndia for such “deliberate misadventures”.

Several high profile Twitter users joined him and soon #boycottFabIndia was trending on the social media platform. 

Last year, Tanishq’s ad “Ekatvam” – which means ‘oneness’ – showed a Muslim family organising a traditional Hindu baby shower ceremony for their Hindu daughter-in-law, which had to be pulled down due to social media outrage.


What are the implications of these social media outrages for the brands?

Most of the time, brands whenever there is a social media backlash, take down the ad. Almost every brand like to play it safe.

But Veteran ad film director Prahlad Kakkar had a valid point in this report during the Tanishq controversy, “Social media trolling is done by professional trolls aligned with political parties. It’s got nothing to do with normal people. I would advise Tanishq to not succumb to that kind of pressure. People who are politically aligned are not their consumers; the consumers are normal people, and they have no problem with such ads. So why are we falling into this trap again and again? Brands should just ignore them. They have to understand that they can’t be playing safe all the time. They have to eventually take a stand. You look at life as right or wrong and not through the prism of political parties,” he said.”

That’s a very valid point. As a brand, you need to take a stand at some time. Every time, you cannot just play it safe. India is a secular country. We cannot be guided by the political parties and their propaganda. Every person has the right to take a stand and express his point of view.

Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal has correctly pointed out. We are not perfect. We should learn from our mistakes and move forward. In the case of Zomato, the customer representative agent should be trained properly on how to handle customers from other regions, if they are not comfortable with Hindi. India is a land with many languages. Every state or every 100 km, we can see people speaking different languages.

So the customer representative agents should be trained to handle these colloquial issues. Also, Zomato should have localised centres to address customer complaints from each region. You cannot just operate using Hindi or English in a democratic country like India.

At least, Zomato founder had a sense of accountability to address the issue in public. As he said, “The level of tolerance and chill in our country needs to be way higher than it is nowadays. Who’s to be blamed here?”.

It is the right question. Who’s to be blamed here?