The last few days have seen several brands buzzing for the wrong reasons.
There was Zomato with ‘Kachra’ that didn’t go down well. The intent was good, but sensitivity is at an all time high when it comes to religion and caste issues. The brand paid the lagaan and had to pull out the ad.
Then there was Tata Tea whose work for World Environment Day was perfectly in line with its Jaago Re path. It used nursery rhymes to have kids underline the message to parents. Some were irked that a parent was sipping from a single use glass. Good point but I wonder. How else does one consume a beverage in an auditorium? To be fair, it seemed like a paper glass.
Now there is McDonald’s that came up with a lovely baby plot in a series themed ‘A lot can happen at Rs.179’. Delightfully cute work.
Soon after, another film in the series that undid the good was spotted.
As some have pointed out on social media, the brand has potentially compromised the position of its female employees.
Portraying a young male customer smitten by a staffer was done rather cutely, but it could compromise the line of professionalism that protects the space of female employees.
As Rahul Rudra, a Creative at Ogilvy, posted on LinkedIn: “To the agency and client teams behind this ad, I get what you’ve tried to attempt here. It’s a formula that has worked well for other brands in the past. However, considering who your primary target audience for the ad is, as well as the dynamic between the characters, I think you could have done much better.”
Several professionals Medianews4u spoke with refrained from comment officially, but agreed that this was perhaps not in good taste even if executed tastefully.
One observed that perhaps McDonald’s is okay with positioning itself as a cool place to work where flirting on the job (even if with customers) is not a big deal. It would seem like a cooler brand to hang out at for the youth, s/he noted. The counter to that is, what is the message it sends out to customers? That it’s okay to flirt with the staff at McDonald’s? Where does that put the staff?
The overwhelming opinion is that this film is unintentionally damaging in more ways than one. We tend to agree. A customer making a move – however innocuous and romantic it may be – on a member of female staff serving him, has overt tones of power and privilege. It sends out the wrong signals to the external audience and the staff.
A brand that wowed us with family time and inclusive messaging has taken a wrong turn and will do well to course correct.