Zomato: Zomato and Fabindia face criticism on social networks

The food delivery app and ethnic clothing brand Fabindia have suffered strong reactions on social media since Monday evening following back-to-back incidents allegedly involving questions about tolerance and inclusiveness.

Zomato faced Twitterati’s wrath after a service representative allegedly told a client in Tamil Nadu to “learn Hindi” when contacted by phone to complain about a missing item. his order. Soon, the Reject Zomato hashtag (#Reject Zomato) began appearing on the US-based microblogging platform after the client posted a tweet detailing their experience.

The incident took on political overtones when DMK leader Kanimozhi joined in.

“Tamils ​​don’t need a lesson on who is an Indian. It is not essential that customers know Hindi / English. It should be mandatory for support centers to speak in the state language, ”Kanimozhi tweeted.

After the outcry, Zomato apologized to the customer, calling the incident unacceptable. He also issued a statement – both in Tamil and English – stressing that the company stands for diversity. The food delivery platform also said it will build a Tamil version of its app and has already localized its marketing communications in the state. He was in the process of building a Tamil-language support center in Coimbatore, he said.

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The company also said it fired the agent, saying this was done “in accordance with our protocols and that (the) agent’s behavior was clearly against the principles of sensitivity for which we regularly train our agents.” .

However, just over two hours later, Zomato co-founder Deepinder Goyal tweeted that the company was reinstating the dismissed employee, referring to a lack of tolerance in the country.

“An ignorant mistake made by someone at a food delivery company help desk has become a national problem. The level of tolerance and cold in our country must be much higher than it is today. Who is to blame here? Goyal said in the tweet, which quickly garnered support from some within the industry.

In a response to Goyal’s tweet, Riyaaz Amlani, Managing Director of Impresario Handmade Restaurants, which runs Social and Salt Water Café, said: “The lack of courage of business leaders is one of the reasons there is less cold. Mistakes do happen, and they will certainly learn from them for life. Glory.”

Independent industry watchers also called the tweetstorm on Zomato.

“It seems that most of these trolling activities are pre-orchestrated; it only takes a few thousand guys to create a trend; it’s not as voluntary as you think, ”said Sandeep Goyal, managing director of the advertising agency Rediffusion.

Furthermore, Fabindia has been the subject of sustained trolling – also from political leaders – and had to withdraw an ad for a clothing collection called “Jashn-e-Riwaaz” (ie. i.e. celebration of a custom or tradition in Urdu), which carried a message of diversity culture.

It came after top BJP leaders accused the brand of “degrading” the Hindu Festival of Lights – Diwali – by tying it to an Urdu term.

BJP Youth leader Tejasvi Surya tweeted that “Deepavali (Diwali) is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz. And brands like @FabindiaNews face economic costs for such deliberate mishaps. ”

In support of this, former Infosys chief executive Mohandas Pai added in a tweet that Fabindia “was doing it deliberately and consumers should protest this misuse as they have done for others.”

A spokesperson for Fabindia told ET that its current product capsule under the name Jashn-e-Riwaaz is a celebration of Indian traditions.

“The phrase literally means that. The capsule is not our collection of Diwali products. Our Diwali collection is called “Jhilmil si Diwali” and has not yet been launched, ”the spokesperson said in a statement.

Around the same time last year, jewelry brand Tanishq also came under fire for posting a campaign depicting an interfaith marriage.

Industry executives have said brands are increasingly caught in the midst of an orchestrated and amplified crossfire on social media.

“Brand trolling and boycott culture are becoming commonplace, and unfortunately many brands are caught in this crossfire,” said Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and former marketing manager at Motorola and PepsiCo. “It is always certain sections which react violently, accusing the brands of taking sides. Brands should respect public opinion, but that shouldn’t stop them from doing what’s right.

Goyal from Rediffusion added that “Jashn” was a word everyone used regularly.

“A nuisance has been created, but for brands, it is better to withdraw from the controversy and go into business,” he said.

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