From HUL to Snapdeal, when social media made brands rethink their actions
HUL's Kumbh Mela ad and tweet didn't go down well with Twitterati.
Sharing the ad on Twitter, the brand initially wrote, “Kumbh Mela is a place where old people get abandoned, isn’t it sad that we do not care for our elders?”
However, this did not go down well with Twitterati who questioned and slammed, both, the ad and tweet. HUL soon pulled down the tweet, and replaced it with, “RedLabelChai encourages us to hold the hands of those who made us who we are. Watch the heart-warming video #ApnoKoApnao.”
.@RedLabelChai encourages us to hold the hands of those who made us who we are. Watch the heart-warming video… https://t.co/yNfFgVdlbN— Hindustan Unilever (@HUL_News) 1551932056000
Despite the changed tweet, #BoycottHUL started trending on Twitter.
From East India Co to @HUL_News that’s their true character. Their only agenda is to make the country poor economic… https://t.co/gv2RyRPxF7— Swami Ramdev (@yogrishiramdev) 1551937126000
Well @HUL_News try this stuff in #SaudiArabia maybe what happened to #Khashoggi would happen to your entire staff.… https://t.co/4BaZO9yyWz— PAYAL ROHATGI & Team (@Payal_Rohatgi) 1551933142000
While HUL is not new to controversy surrounding its ads, it’s also not the first brand to at the receiving end whether due to insensitive ads, tweets or sometimes even due to the choice of ambassador.
Also Read: When Amazon, Pepsi & other brands courted controversies, got into trouble for being insensitive
2019 began with Gillette facing backlash over its ad, released in the post-#MeToo world, that asked men to take a look at their toxic masculinity. The ad showed men and boys engaging in bullying and sexual harassment, while encouraging them to "say the right thing" and "act the right way." While some applauded the razor brand commercial from Procter & Gamble, many slammed it saying that it was insulting to men and laden with stereotypes.
I've used @Gillette razors my entire adult life but this absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a co… https://t.co/A6yIkjwi7Q— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) 1547493177000
The #Gillette commercial is the product of mainstream radicalized feminism— & emblematic of Cultural Marxism. STO… https://t.co/ag7ku4mO2T— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) 1547563934000
Last year, Uber’s campaign titled ‘Badhte Chalein’ featuring Virat Kohli reciting poetry in a cab, didn’t do much good for the brand, and rather had users raising questions as to whether the star-cricketer had ever hailed a cab.
Rewinding to 2015, when Aamir Khan was the brand ambassador for Snapdeal, a statement by the actor that his wife Kiran Rao had suggested leaving the country due to the growing intolerance directly affected the brand, with many users downgrading the app’s rating on Google Play. Meanwhile, others protested removing the ‘Lagaan’ actor as the company’s ambassador. Three months later, the e-commerce platform didn’t renew their contract with Khan.
These few examples just go to show the power of social media in today’s digitally-driven world where fortunes are made (read: Kylie Jenner) and can be lost over a tweet.