These brands faltered in their communication

Kent RO and Dhora Jewellery found themselves mired in controversy

NEW DELHI: There have been ample researches by Kantar stating how important it is for the brands to have a voice amidst this lockdown and keep advertising. It has been insisted that brands stay creative, empathetic, and understand consumer needs as they work on their campaigns. 

Dwelling at length on how brands should be planning their communication to in an earlier interaction, Dentsu One president Harjot Singh Narang said that brands will have to go deeply humane and adapt to the new paradigm exactly like how human relationships adapt to and grow in uncertain times. Wunderman Thompson South Asia chairman and group CEO Tarun Rai had also mentioned that brands need to be empathetic in their approach. 

However, despite so much discussion about what and how a brand should be promoting itself during this period, there were some brands that faltered in their planning. The biggest example of this came in the form of KENT RO’s distasteful, classist, and misogynistic ad for its atta maker. 

The social media ad was called out by netizens and brand experts alike and the brand quickly took it down with an apology, stating that it was ‘unintentional’. 

There were two other campaigns that caught the attention of communication consultant Karthik Srinivasan, which he talked about in his blog and LinkedIn page. 

The first one was cooking oil brand Gold Winner, which did a ‘shabby’ job out of its influencer campaign on social media. 

The brand used images from other popular cooking channels and websites without taking creators’ permission or giving credits and used them for a mass copy-paste campaign on Twitter. The worst part was that they misused the sentiment of “we cooked for our mom” to earn some brand points. 

Srinivasan wrote in his blog, “I have no clue why brands and agencies still indulge in such monumentally stupid and shallow online promotions. It’s not as if they know all these things. The only explanation is that they know it and couldn’t care less. All they want is a LOT of people talking about their product with stock statements and stock photos. It doesn’t need to be real for them and even questions and mockery of the campaign don’t really matter to them at all. You could call it anything – confidence, bravado, chutzpah… or idiocy.”

Next was not as much a brand going wrong with communication but the unfortunate placement of its ad next to a piece of negative news. Amul and Indigo found their ads placed quite close to the news of Indigo fliers testing positive for Covid2019 on the first day of them resuming flight operations. 

Most recently, Diet Sabya, an anonymous social media account calling out designers and celebrities for copying designs, voiced its opinions on a far graver issue by calling out jewellery brand Dhora for creating a Covid-themed necklace. 

The brand clarified that it sees the design as a lesson that all have learnt from the crisis. It wrote in an Instagram story, “I guess, it’s the lessons we learn from all the crisis, wars, struggle for independence, etc. and yet remember that day as a lesson to empower our present. You can shut your eyes with disgust to a crisis or you can take the learnings and implement it to make a better future.”
Dhora further added, “I am glad that we all can co-exist happily with different opinions yet support each other. We are all game for criticism. Thanks to our supporters and customers. However, it’s probably the worst time to pull each other down @dietsabya. All we have right now is each other.”

Diet Sabya was quick to respond stating, “Trying to leverage Covid-19 by making over-priced necklaces is anything but privilege… Do you really think that any more would want to remember a crisis that has so far uprooted the lives of millions? Do you really think people want to remember the worst recession in history? Do you really think ANYONE would want to wear this ‘ART’ to remember the 362,124 lives lost?”

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