BY Malay Desai
Food delivery application Zomatohas launched two new films in its new campaign. In one, a lady is surprised by her son who arrives home without intimation, and proceeds to prefer the restaurant food that he’s ordered over his mom’s food, all to spend more time with her. In another, a girl goes to her divorcee father’s home, only to discover that he has burnt his pasta. They too order online and enjoy the meal. Both the spots end with the call-to-action of downloading the app.
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Had I been writing this at the beginning of this year, I would have had chunks of restaurant food in one hand and cashback in the other. Food tech startups were the buzz then, and ET reports as well as corporate PPTs were high on how this could be a big biteof India’s start-up thali. It’s only November, and I not only don’t have cheap fast food (it didn’t deliver thanks to logistical faults), I also smell a rot in the story.
Zomato, DeepinderGoyal’sstart-up of last decade that made us proud by growing to half-a-dozen countries, attempted food deliveries in April. It was a late entrant, after FoodPanda, Tinyowl and others, but it enjoyed formidable recall and positioning. If we discount the launch TVCs, i.e. the low-budget snappy ‘hey we are here’ calls, this is the firstfull-length TV campaign.
With its pre-Diwali timing, it was bang on to say ‘spend time with your parents’ and show tech-savvy youth being all sanskari. My problem is that it’s so overdone, you could replace the brand with Coca-Cola or Dominos and I won’t blink.
Zomato’s voice on social media, one that it’s target audience is used to, is witty and snappy. AksharPathak, their creative designer par excellence, before he recently quit to join AIB, would make viral images, which worked like print ads. The voice is not only missing in the TVCs, it’s been replaced with that of a doting son fromDiya aur Baati Hum.
Ogilvy gets to cast SaurabhShukla, whose presence and comic timing is incredible, but he is barely effective, playing a stereotypical messy single dad-who-cannot-cook. The other spot features the omnipresent Indian salwarkameez-ed mother, and says that restaurant food > ma ka khana. (One Fortune brand of oil and about 999 other brands would beg to differ). It evokes a little feel-good but the spot is overall forgettable.
After hurriedly signing up tons of restaurants and landingcrores of funding, the challenge with food start-ups was to sustain, and they seem to be erring. I won’t be surprised if by next year, half of them have folded up.
Meanwhile, I suggest you go home and ‘order’ either of your parents to cook for you.
(To watch these films, go to Zomato’schannel on YouTube.com/Zomatodotcom)
Your regular dose on the shifts in the social media universe
When Reddit took on ‘BookmyBai’
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Kurkure’s #WhysoSweet does social right
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