Popular ride-hailing service Careem recently began a campaign to create awareness and facilitate voters in reaching their respective polling station with innovative promo codes, but little did they know was that the campaign would backfire outrageously, in a matter of few days.
As part of its campaign tagged #CareemforDemocracy, the service released a number of promo codes with political taglines with a special reference towards the embattled Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, a move which promoted the firm to tender an apology.
Days before the Avenfield verdict, Careem launched a series of promos with the most noticeable ‘AFTERNUNN’, in a reference to the popular catchphrase of former premier Nawaz Sharif, ‘Mujhy Kyun Nikala’.
Besides, it also released other promos ‘DHARNA’, ‘JAANNISAR’ and ‘CAPTAIN’, in an apparent taunt to the loyalists of PML-N.
Soon, the promotion was met with hostility with a great number of people vowing to #BoycottCareemPakistan for its lack of political neutrality and apparent favouritism towards PTI.
People, especially the ones claiming allegiance to PML-N, spoke up against the promo codes which were used to poke fun at their party, portraying PTI in a neutral manner.
The social media backlash stirred concerns among the marketers of the service, who found it better to apologise and advocate democracy in the country.
‘We sincerely apologise for hurting your sentiments. Careem is politically neutral and our election taglines covered all popular political slogans,’ said the service in a Twitter message.
The clarification came after it faced a Twitter storm for its selection of marketing strategy at a time when the country is caught up in a fraught election season.
A large number of Careem users were seen deleting their app and shaming the service for its irresponsible behaviour, reminding the service providers of the power of customer dissatisfaction.
However, this is not the first time that Careem tried to ‘troll’ the N-leaguers as it also released such promos in July last year after Pakistan’s top court showed Nawaz Sharif the door in the Panama Papers case.