Zomato looks to counter gig worker criticism

  • The ads come in the wake of recent criticism that riders had to work long hours, with declining incentives, for low pay. In the past few months, several anonymous Twitter handles have cropped up to highlight the daily ordeals of food delivery staff.
Advertising and branding experts feel the campaign may benefit Zomato’s image but is unlikely to impact the lives of gig workers.(MINT_PRINT)
Advertising and branding experts feel the campaign may benefit Zomato’s image but is unlikely to impact the lives of gig workers.(MINT_PRINT)
Published on Aug 28, 2021 02:31 AM IST
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BySuneera Tandon, New Delhi

Food delivery platform Zomato has released a star-studded advertising campaign, honouring its delivery executives, at a time their wages and work hours are gaining public attention. The ‘Har customer hai star’ campaign, made by advertising agency McCann India, shows Zomato staff delivering orders at the homes of top Bollywood actors.

The stars request delivery partners to stay for a moment, for a selfie in Hrithik Roshan’s case, and for a piece of her birthday cake in Katrina Kaif’s case; however, the riders leave since they want to serve the next order. More films on the same lines featuring southern stars are on the way.

“While our delivery partners are excited about spending those few extra minutes at the doorstep with their beloved stars, they instead choose to honour their duty and head out to fulfil the next customer’s order. This campaign is a tribute to all our delivery partners and their commitment towards their service,” Zomato said in a note on the new campaign.

The ads come in the wake of recent criticism that riders had to work long hours, with declining incentives, for low pay. In the past few months, several anonymous Twitter handles have cropped up to highlight the daily ordeals of food delivery staff.

Interestingly, delivery personnel see the campaign as a white-washing exercise to please the customer. “In real life, a rider is not exactly excited to do the next order. He’s in a rush because his daily earnings depend on it and not because he’s looking forward to it,” a delivery person said on condition of anonymity.

Advertising and branding experts feel the campaign may benefit Zomato’s image but is unlikely to impact the lives of gig workers.

“Delivery boys being glorified is an old story. Films like these don’t alter consumer behaviour. Unreal portrayals such as these only make the brand look good and don’t really change the life of the delivery boy,” said Sandeep Goyal, chairman of Mogae Media, a marketing and communication agency. Goyal said the only “fair” way to treat gig workers is to pay them more.

Zomato had 169,802 active delivery partners in March 2021.

The aggregator-gig worker discord isn’t new. Gig workers across digital platforms have rallied for better payouts and incentives for years. In food delivery, workers have complained that performance-linked incentives push them to work longer, and the rush to fulfil orders on time is a big challenge.

In an emailed response to queries sent by Mint, Zomato said that in a city like Bengaluru, the top 20% of its delivery partners who deliver on bikes and put in more than 40 hours a week receive a payout of more than 27,000 per month.

In its IPO documents filed earlier this year, Zomato stated that it remits 100% of the tips and delivery fees provided by the customer to the partner. Zomato also offers several benefits, such as providing insurance for hospitalization and assistance in two-wheeler financing.

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Thursday, December 02, 2021