Food and sex are a bad mix, finds Zomato, pulls ad campaign from porn sites after backlash

However they faced major backlash on social media and CEO and co-founder of Zomato, Deepak Goyal announced on Thursday that they have decided to call off the ad campaign 'because we sense we crossed the fine line between marketing irreverence and cultural insensitivity'.

FP Staff December 17, 2015 19:11:43 IST
Food and sex are a bad mix, finds Zomato, pulls ad campaign from porn sites after backlash

A few days ago Zomato put out a blog about something not many startups must have thought about — advertising on porn sites. The website and app that is your go to for ordering food advertised on Pornhub.com and we must say it was extremely clever.

They used sexual puns against photos of food and managed to attract several eyeballs, and also reportedly saw a surge in their number of orders.

Food and sex are a bad mix finds Zomato pulls ad campaign from porn sites after backlash

A screengrab of the ads by Zomato.

However they faced major backlash on social media and CEO and co-founder of Zomato, Deepak Goyal announced on Thursday that they have decided to call off the ad campaign "because we sense we crossed the fine line between marketing irreverence and cultural insensitivity".

The ads may have been ingenious, but they were certainly not received well in a country like India where porn sites are still a taboo.

"The response to the campaign was largely positive. People said we were ballsy for trying this at all, and that we broke new ground for doing this in a country where porn has long been a touchy topic. But there were a few things said that we simply couldn’t ignore. Some folks got offended by the campaign, felt the campaign was in poor taste, and it wasn’t something they expected from a brand of our standard. Some also said that all porn is not legal, and by advertising on porn websites, we are financially supporting abuse – certainly something we don’t want to do. Ever," Goyal wrote clarifying Zomato's decision to take down the ads.

In an earlier blog, Zomato had said that while highly optimised Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter ad campaigns were commoditised and therefore quite expensive, the idea of advertising on porn sites seemed cost effective.

Apart from that, they said that India ranked number number in terms of most daily visitors to Pornhub. "So we advertised on porn sites," they had said.

But keeping in mind the varied users Zomato has, Goyal said that if Zomato had crossed a line and "ended up offending or disrespecting anyone in any way at all, we are sorry. That obviously wasn’t the intention, and we’ll work on doing things better in the future".

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