Boycott campaigns are nothing new, especially against certain companies who see themselves being boycotted for something or another on an almost daily basis.
However, recently, Zomato has been caught under fire for using the iconic character called ‘Kachra’ in an ad campaign that has raised several questions on them and accusations of the organisation being casteist and more.
On 5th June 2023, a day that is also celebrated as World Environment Day, Zomato released their “Kachra ad campaign” which featured actor Aditya Lakhia. Lakhia is famously known for his role “Kachra” in the movie Lagaan which came out in 2001.
The food delivery platform promoted the campaign as #KachraBhiKhelega and wanted to encourage plastic waste recycling. The ad had the actor being used as several common use objects like a lamp, hand towel, stool, and how much plastic is used in their production. The ad promoted that how recycling could change “Kachra” (plastic waste) into many useful items.
The ad was titled “Zomato recycles Kachra feat. Kachra as Kachra”, however, this got instant and intense backlash due to the comparison of the character that was shown to be from a marginalised background and given his name because of that probably and the actual ‘kachra’ (the plastic waste).
The character in the movie itself had been ridiculed a lot for his identity and the community he came from and was obviously a commentary on the caste system still very much prevalent in our country and affecting many people’s lives.
Although the advertisement was deleted from YouTube, however, it still has been circulated over social media.
Usually, I'm a big fan of Zomato's marketing, mostly done in-house. But their new ad film, made for World Environment Day, made for an uncomfortable watch, at least for me – your mileage may vary.
I understand the intent: to use the 'Kachra' character from Lagaan for his name 1/5 pic.twitter.com/WmoYYS4grg
— Karthik 🇮🇳 (@beastoftraal) June 6, 2023
Twitter user @beastoftraal commented that “I understand the intent: to use the ‘Kachra’ character from Lagaan for his name and signify that as ‘waste—denoted by kachra, in meaning, and by Kachra, the character—being recycled’. But there’s a context to Kachra’s character in Lagaan, and within the larger spectrum of commercial entertainment in India.”
He further added that “to see the character perform seemingly dehumanizing and menial tasks—even if he is performing them figuratively, as ‘waste’ and not his Lagaan character per se—made me uncomfortable while I was watching the ad.”
User @vrushalimkadam tweeted “How disgusting is @zomato to have conceptualised, approved an ad like this! For context, the actor in cream played a Dalit character in an Indian Oscar-contender film, the ad highlights sustainability by use of ‘Kachra’ – meaning garbage and name of the Dalit character. Gross!”
Meanwhile user @Profdilipmandal commented “This ad from @zomato is casteist & demeaning. Should be withdrawn immediately and an apology issued. Ashutosh Gowarikar made an error in the naming of a Dalit character as ‘Kachra’. Further mockery is unacceptable.”
Zomato did release an official statement regarding the campaign and the backlash it got stating how it took down the advertisement.
They stated “On world environment day, our intent was to spread awareness about the potential of plastic waste and benefits of recycling in a humorous way. Unintentionally, we may have hurt the sentiments of certain communities and individuals. We have taken down the video.”
Image Credits: Google Images
Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
Find the blogger: @chirali_08
This post is tagged under: zomato, zomato ad, zomato ad viral, zomato kachra, zomato kachra ad, Zomato Kachra campaign, Zomato casteist
Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.