Dear Zomato, I have been wondering what made you do the MC. BC. hoarding. It is now a public property. So, it is okay to believe that the agency/ individual presented many options, and you picked up this one along with the rest of equally good creative in Red & White to go.
It was a conscious call! If I as an outsider see the set of creative, this does not fit the template. And that’s where it gives me an idea that you went along for the buzz and social media hype. It would be hard to believe that the agency, and the client did not understand the way they were pushing the boundary. You did and even when you were taking the decision to bring it down, there is a little smile playing on your face. Hopefully, I am absolutely wrong in this statement.
Hopefully, and that is tough to think that you were diligently naive to the statement you were using. MC-BC is one of the most commonly used abuses above the tropic of cancer. It’s so prevalent that one of my friends Mahendra Chandola never could allow to use his initials to be playfully called M.C. I have another friend M C. Anand Kumar and what do you think happened; he was okay when fiends called him MCee.
Or was Zomato saying we have got enough of ‘MC. BC.’ for our service, so believe you must order online. Then it is definitely a comment on the user subgroup. I pray that is not right.
So, that brings me to another thought. Just like ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder’, ‘Dirt lies in the mind of the thinker’. You as a brand consciously went ahead with the campaign. Unfortunately, the agency forgot to add to the list, which would have made it B.C., M.C, and D.C and the whole issue would have vaporised. But then there would not have been Google Naresh and Suhel Seth ( 4.5 Mn followers on Twitter) trashing it upfront. The latter for whatever it was worth even tagging Hon. I&B Minister, Sniriti Irani for no reason. Someone wanted to go and complain to ASCI on the subject.
It’s different that Zomato Co-founder Pankaj Chaddah apologised for the ‘offensive’ ad saying that the company will take it down. “We can see why it can be offensive to people, and we apologize for it. We will take this ad down with immediate effect,” he tweeted. It came after commentator Suhel Seth took to Twitter to call out Zomato for the same. I can understand what Pankaj is saying.
In effect, he is letting down few of the people who were not so much culturally socially nose in the air type. Here is what one of them said Arjun Pal @pal_arjun said ‘@pankajchaddah, hats off to the creativity of your Marketing Team @Zomato . Don’t pull down the ad coz of some moron. This way @suhelseth will ban all historical Hollywood movies when they write 36 BC or 69 BC’
Let me share the fact that in F&B, there are acronyms that get popularised. I remember that once in HTA Delhi, while working on the roof-top-restaurant at ‘ITC-welcomegroup Maurya Sheraton’, the agency came with a beautiful name ‘West Court’, and the client (Nakul Aanad) rejected it for a valid reason. He said, soon it will be known as W.C and then who would want to eat there. I still believe that the reason was not strong enough to justify losing a good name. But then that is history.
Meanwhile, as always we have people with a different take on the campaign. If you give it time and see all the creative, you will realize they have a sense of cheeky take on the subjects. They are harmless. They are interesting. They are something you read and smile. Including the one that is the centre of the conversation.
There is no point in Badi Goldflake ( Prathamdev- Recently mastered the art of being misunderstood- with 399 followers on twitter J ) , Mihir ( 61 – followers on twitter), Akshar Pathak (1.3 Mn Followers on twitter) comment. We are taking life too seriously. MC and BC are in your mind, there is no explicit mention. There are far freer to be wrongly interpreted contextual advertising that no one seems to object.
Here is a tongue in cheeky playing by the word comment by Mohita @ReineDeDeniers that sums most of the feeling ‘Hey, @Zomato, you didn’t have to apologise for this. You didn’t hurt anybody’s sentiments or anything. Trust me. I’m from Delhi and if I’m not taking offense at BC, then it’s not offensive BC!’
I am not sure, that this hoarding exists, but it sums up the whole thought process. And I stand corrected, There is definitely a mixed reaction to the campaign.. Because Opinions are like Asshole, everyone has one. So the strong belief; ‘Dirt Really Lies In The Mind Of Thinker’. Some people are more right than others and hence the poor Butter Chicken cannot be called BC. To round off- I don’t find anything wrong in the campaign, but then that may not count for anything.
Sanjeev Kotnala is a senior marketing and strategy consultant and trainer. He writes weekly for MxMIndia and whenever there’s an issue that merits more immediate attention. The views here are his own