Ola, which is facing intense competition from its global rival Uber and attempts to restrict its business from several state governments, now has to deal with an angry mob of users online who are expressing disgust over the brand’s blatantly sexist advertisement.
In an ad titled ‘Too expensive to take GF out on a date?’ uploaded on YouTube, Ola tries to bolster the fact that its newly introduced ‘Micro’ service is so cheap, that the hole it burns in your pocket (assuming that you’re an unmarried male) is negligible in comparison to the sinkhole your girlfriend creates.
“Meri girlfriend chalti hai Rs 525 per km, but Ola Micro chalti hai sirf Rs 6 per km,” says the protagonist of the advert, somehow suggesting that Ola’s cheap rates restore the balance in this twisted universe. This blatant use of sexism has now drawn the ire of hundreds of users who’ve taken to Twitter to protest Ola’s distaste.
Read more from our special coverage on “OLA”
Ola Shuttle to provide free rides to Delhi-NCR commuters on April 22, 29
Ola launches premium service Prime in Chennai
Ola denies reports of stake sale to Uber
Ola eyes 2 mn auto bookings a day by 2017
As Uber hunts it down, Ola turns to autos to help it win in tier 2 towns
Since Ola begun to see resistance it has taken down the video from its YouTube channel, but nothing ever dies on the Internet, so you can watch it on AdZone’s YouTube channel. Protesters on Twitter have begun asking people to boycott Ola’s service, as mark of disagreement with the company’s views.
In response to the flak it has been facing on social media, Ola later responded in a tweet saying,
“Society is becoming more and more sensitive. Earlier these kinds of ads might have gotten away, but today we live in the day and age of social media. Things which are sexist, stereotypical get noticed and brands can’t risk these things. It’s extremely important to be careful for brands to not hurt anyone’s sentiments these days,” said brand consultant Harish Bijoor.
Social media is an important tool to build brands these days, however, it can also erode a brand in a mere matter of hours. Moreover, Bijoor added that the biggest mistake a brand can do is hurt its target audience, which in Ola’s case are millennials who are the most active age group on social networks.