Food delivery giant Zomato recently broke silence on the new Katrina Kaif, Hritik Roshan ad controversy and claimed that the ads were “well-intentioned” but “misinterpreted by people”.

For the unversed, Zomato released ads featuring the Roshan and Kaif recently and received severe backlash on it by social media users. The update comes after chatter of the foodtech unicorn not paying its food delivery executives is on an all-time high.


Food delivery platform and restaurant aggregator Zomato, which was earlier last month in the news for its much-anticipated IPO subscription and its successful beginning on the Indian stock exchanges is in the news once again. However, this time, the Deepinder Goyal founded company is in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Owing to a couple of ads which featured Bollywood actors Hritik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, Zomato found itself to be amid a lot of criticism on social media and had to break its silence before the damage got bigger.

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What Were the New Controversial Zomato Ads About?

Zomato released two ads that in a nutshell speak about how a Zomato delivery partner is as committed towards a superstar celebrity, as any other Zomato user.

In the first ad, a delivery partner, dressed in a raincoat, rings a bell and is surprised to see Hritik Roshan opening bell. Roshan then addresses him as “Jaadu” (reference to his alien friend from Koi Mil Gaya), and tells him that delivering food in any weather is no less than magic.

Roshan then asks the delivery executive to wait for him for a selfie. As he waits for the actor, the delivery executive’s phone gives him an alert that another order is yet to be delivered. The executive makes the decision of not waiting longer for the promised selfie and sets on his way for his next delivery.

One can hear him saying in the background – “Hritik Roshan ho yaa aap, apne liye har customer hain star (Be it Hritik Roshan or you, every customer is a star for us).

The other ad, featuring Katrina Kaif is also premised on something similar. In this ad, the actress receives a birthday cake from the Zomato delivery executive. The actress asks him to wait as she would bring a piece of cake for him. Similar to the Roshan ad, the delivery executive gets notified of the next delivery. He gives up on the cake and leaves for his next delivery.

Watch Ads Here:


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What Was the Backlash Against the New Zomato Ads Regarding?

After the ads released, it received an immediate backlash on social media. Netizens came down hard on Zomato for diverting people’s attention from its delivery partners being overworked and underpaid.

Sharing the ad, a Twitter user wrote, “So zomato agrees that they overwork their delivery executives. Also, why don’t you pay your delivery executives instead of paying these celebrities to do these ads?”

Zomato would rather make these obscenely expensive ads meant as damage control for the issue of underpaid delivery staff, than paying them fair wages,” another Twitter user wrote.

Soon, an avalanche of similar responses was launched against Zomato.

“Ads Well-Intentioned but Misinterpreted”: Zomato’s Response to the Backlash

Zomato soon took charge of controlling the narrative and broke its silence on the matter. The company claimed that the ads were “conceptualized 6 months ago”, before there was a consistent buzz around the company underpaying its delivery executives.

Zomato further explained the goals with which it created the ad and said that it wanted to “make delivery partners the hero of the ad”, enforce the idea of speaking nicely to the delivery partners, “raise the dignity” one would associate with delivery partner job, and more.

“We believe that our ads are well-intentioned, but were unfortunately misinterpreted by some people”, the Unicorn startup’s statement read.

The company also claimed that it will be publishing a blog soon where it would explain how it thinks that “delivery partners are fairly compensated”.