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Hunger games
Zomato goes all out to get your attention in this latest ad campaign

Somdyuti Datta Ray

If 'hunger’ were a living being, it would be a monster that attacked you in all forms: the midnight pangs that refuse to let you rest, that sudden craving for dessert; or the nostalgic yearning for your comfort food. Restaurant discovery and delivery app Zomato completely empathises with you. And it promises to do everything it can to satiate your food fancy.

Conceptualised in-house by Akshar Pathak, delivered with a dollop of wit and pop culture, that pretty much sums up Zomato’s series of outdoor print advertisements. Right from James Bond to Shah Rukh Khan; from AR Rahman to Honey Singh and regional staples such as dhokla and rasam – every thing finds a mention in the over 20-message campaign, all in good humour, of course.

“The creatives are around things people can connect with easily, either with situations and colloquial terms from their daily lives. Yet they are slightly different from the usual outdoor advertising you see in the country. The idea was to focus on conversation starters,” says Pramod Rao, head – content and marketing. And sure enough with easy-recall value lines such as “Oonchi hai building” or “Nation wanted to know”, the print ads manage to capture one’s attention.

 Zomato spared nothing and no one to make sure its latest campaign was the talk of the town. It’s not a surprise then that several people took offence to one of the campaign messages that was a play on the abbreviated versions of Hindi expletives. It was an ode to everyone’s favourite mac’n’cheese and butter chicken, it was a joke stretched too far that clearly wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So much so, that the company was compelled to take it down and issue an apology for the same.

However, Rao says in Zomato’s defense, “There was no malice or disrespect intended, nor was there an agenda to stir up a controversy. The reaction to that one specific creative made us think about taking an alternative path, and for the next wave of this out-of-home campaign we chose to go with the message that we believe in and live by.” Pathak, who faced much of the backlash, was unavailable for a comment.

But a minor blip is not one to make the team abort its strategy. If anything, it was perhaps the much-needed push to think of out of the box and convey all that it accomplishes on a single platform.

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