E-commerce brand Flipkart has found itself in the weeds as its Women's Day message backfired. To celebrate the day, the platform sent a common message to all the customers that promoted kitchen appliances on their platform. Its screenshot was shared on Twitter, which received backlash from the internet for perpetuating negative stereotypes.
The message gave an offer on kitchen appliances on the occasion of Women's Day. It said, "Dear Customer, This Women's Day, let's celebrate You. Get Kitchen Appliances for Rs 299." A link was given at the end that led the reader to the concerned page.
Over the years, brands have tapped onto the customer's attention by using favourable and engaging marketing techniques. One of them is their way to reach out to them on important days, to strengthen the brand and beneficiary bond. On events like Womens' Day, they go out of their way to focus on promoting a gender-inclusive platform and preach equality in society. However, the execution becomes the bone of contention. What starts out as a noble intention can often turn into something entirely different altogether that is not received well.
In Flipkart's case, the message drew flak for perpetrating misogynistic and negative stereotypes on Women's Day. The message's screenshot was shared by a Twitter user named Raj, after which it went viral. "Can you spot the problem," said the tweet, asking the users to point the platform out for their message.
Soon after, his tweet was bombarded with responses, most of which called Flipkart out for their message. A user said, "Celebrating Women's Day by assuming a woman's place is in the kitchen. Patriarchy is so internalised."
Unfortunately, this followed suit in other brands as well. A user shared a screenshot of a message from PayTM that had an unnecessary title. "Did she forget her documents? AGAIN? This Women's Day, gift her a FREE DigiLocker document wallet on Paytm. Know more," said the message.
A certain section of the internet felt the opposite. They found nothing wrong in the message as they did not want to shame a woman for working in the kitchen as a housewife. A tweet said, "Finding offence in everything can be a profession in this century. I work in an industry perhaps one of the most male-dominated ones. I don't find any problem with this ad & I don't mind gifting it to my mother or one of my friends as they love cooking."
Another user supported this view, "Why such hypocrisy in admitting that. Does that make a woman inferior or less empowered? My CMD used to discuss with us during breaks about our saree or jewellery. What's wrong?"
'We Messed Up'
Despite the differing responses, the tweet drew flak from the users. As a result, Flipkart took to the microblogging platform and issued an apology about the same. "We messed up and we are sorry. We did not intend to hurt anyone's feelings and apologise for the Women's Day message shared earlier," said the tweet.
In light of the current situation, it is essential for brands to be mindful in their marketing gimmicks. Despite being progressive, the message can be received in different ways that can give rise to mixed opinions.
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