Careem has drawn the ire of social media users over its recent marketing campaign. The transportation company often comes up with ‘out of the box’ creative concepts.
However, a billboard of a runaway bride with the catchphrase ‘apni shadi se bhagna hai to Careem Bike karwao’ seems to have triggered a lot of nerves. Many have called for a boycott of Careem’s taxi and ride-hailing services.
Ansar Abbasi, a journalist at The News called the campaign very “shameful”.
So shameful. #Careem https://t.co/ieujA3sGI8
— Ansar Abbasi (@AnsarAAbbasi) March 18, 2019
Actress Veena Malik also added her two cents and called on the company to “take down this nefarious ad right away” as well as demanding an apology.
Careem should take this Nefarious add down Rit Away…And Apologise! #Careem pic.twitter.com/e1NuVhD94j
— VEENA MALIK (@iVeenaKhan) March 18, 2019
A journalist, Anam Hameed, dubbed it the “worst advertisement” for it doesn’t depict “our social and cultural values”.
Worst advertisement by #Careem – doesn’t depict our social &cultural values. pic.twitter.com/vYAFBZZCeU
— Anam Hameed (@anamhameed) March 18, 2019
A social media user called it “complete stupidity”. “What are you teaching our younger generation? If you [have] nothing good to teach then shut up,” she said.
What a complete stupidity. What are you teaching our younger generation! If you nothing good to teach then shutup. #Careem #PakistanZindabad #Islam pic.twitter.com/UnbtGECLWa
— afshan ammad (@AfshanAmmad) March 18, 2019
Comedian and Producer Ali Gul Pir, however, found much to like about the advertisement.
“I don’t understand how people can be triggered by free will. Usko nahi kerni shadi, would bhaag rahi hai, tumhay kya hai? Aur acha hai Careem Kay sath bhaag Rahi hai, not some Anwar,” he tweeted.
I don’t understand how people can be triggered by free will. Usko nahi kerni shadi, would bhaag Rahi hai, tumhay Kya hai? Aur acha hai #Careem Kay sath bhaag Rahi hai, not some Anwar @CareemPAK pic.twitter.com/EecqznNMmy
— Ali Gul Pir (@Aligulpir) March 18, 2019
Activist Usama Khilji wrote that the advertisement is “actually not distasteful at all” considering the alarming number of forced marriages in the country.
“Why are people so offended? Have a sense of humor,” he wrote.
Considering how many people are forced into marriage in Pakistan, this is actually not distasteful at all. Why are people so offended? Have a sense of humour 🙂 #Careem pic.twitter.com/zmikDwv7FQ
— Usama Khilji (@UsamaKhilji) March 18, 2019
Academic Nida Kirmani tweeted: “Pehle Aurat March ke posters aur ab Careem ka ad. Seems like Pakistan is a country full of judgmental aunties and uncles with zero sense of humour and too much time on their hands.”
Pehle #AuratMarch ke posters aur ab #Careem ka ad. Seems like Pakistan is a country full of judgmental aunties and uncles with zero sense of humour and too much time on their hands.
— Nida Kirmani (@nidkirm) March 18, 2019
When approached for a comment, Careem Head of Communications Madeeha Javed Qureshi declined to comment.
However, sources in Careem told Pakistan Today that the campaign was done to promote Careem Bike and it did not have any underlying social motive. It was intended as a “lighthearted promotion”, they added.
It must be noted that the billboard was part of a wider campaign to promote their bike services. The catchphrases on other billboards refer to a tailor that has ruined his client’s clothes, a jibe at the recently captured and released Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan and a boy that wants to escape his mother’s chittar.