Lenskart turns quake into product promo
As massive tremors rocked India and Nepal, e-retailer Lenskart sought to make the natural disaster into a promotional event by asking the customers to “shake it off” like the earthquake by buying its sunglasses. A outrage on social media, however, forced the company retract the campaign and apologise for the “error.”
As the figures and details of massive loss of lives and property were still trickling in, Lenskart sent out promotional SMSes that read, “Shake it off like this Earthquake: Get any Vincent Chase Sunglasses up to Rs 3,000 for FLAT Rs 500, by sending invites to 50 friends ....”
The campaign created a massive backlash soon as netizens took to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to lambast the company with hashtag #ShameonLenskart. Later, the company sent out another SMS apologising for the “accidental choice of words”.
“We apologise for the accidental choice of words in our SMS. Our intention was not to hurt anyone’s feelings. We are extremely sorry for this error - Lenskart Team,” the new message said. The company did not reply to queries in this regard.
A strong earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale shook Nepal and several parts of India, including the national capital, leaving a trail of devastation. Hundreds of people were killed in Nepal as the quake flattened houses and buildings and triggered an avalanche on Mt Everest. Casualties have been reported from India as well.
Later, Lenskart’s co-founders Peyush Bansal and Amit Chaudhary said in a joint statement that it was a “sad day” for them and they felt sorry for having “messed up”. “We witnessed an earthquake that hit Nepal and north India which has caused extensive loss of life and property.
Our hearts reach out to the many who have been affected by the earthquake. “Today we also sent out an SMS offer which referred to the earthquake in poor taste. This is completely unacceptable to us and is against the standard that we have set for ourselves as a responsible member of society.
“We are really sorry that this has happened. We have already taken steps to put safeguards in place to ensure that is never ever repeated,” the statement said. The two tendered “an unconditional apology to the society at large and especially to the affected families and to everyone whom we have offended”.
“We sincerely hope that you will be able to forgive our lapse. At Lenskart we take pride on being a young and responsible organisation. This incident has strengthened our resolve to work harder and add greater value to our customers and our society,” the two co-founders said.