Askmebazaar Makes A Countermove Via Public Interest Campaign #GetReal

Askmebazaar has rolled out an awareness campaign warning consumers about fake brands. Ironically, the ecommerce site is reeling under accusations of selling fake products on its site


Google “Askmebazaar Fake” and you would be welcomed to a horde of articles leading to Mouthshut reviews, consumer complaint forums and even a blog talking about fake products from the ecommerce site. Moreover, actors Ranbir Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar who have endorsed the brand, found themselves in a legal soup when a lawyer filed an FIR against them for endorsing the allegedly fake portal.

Livemint reports that sales of counterfeits crossed Rs.1 trillion in 2014 in India and online sales account for a quarter of the counterfeits sold in the country. Alcohol, personal care products, tobacco, mobiles and mobile components, automobile components, and computer hardware and software are more prone to counterfeit trading in India.

Fake products could ruin the growth of ecommerce in the country, an industry that is riding on the growing potential of a digitally evolving country. And, Askmebazaar – a portal that has itself been accused of selling fake products – wants to change that perception.

The fully-owned subsidiary of Getit Infomedia, Askmebazaar is now on a genuine mission to erase the label of ‘Fake’. Askmebazaar has rolled out a new campaign called ‘Get Real’ that seeks to warn all online buyers and sellers about fake products!

Conceptualized by JWT, ‘Get Real’ comprises 5 short films that mock brand names through wordplay.

In “Samsung”, a guy named ‘Sam’ gets ‘sunk’ on stage, and by the time you realize that ‘Samsunk’ is a bad joke, the screen displays “Fakes are as bad as this joke. Get Real.” The text further states ‘Get original brands’.

In ‘Parker’, people on the street suddenly encounter a black cat, and do not want to cross the street and be cursed with a bad day. So, they pretend to be busy right in the middle of the road – an office-goer is seen taking a selfie, a lady starts filing her nails, an old man starts jogging on the spot, and more. The text displayed this time is ‘Paar ker’ with a logo of the stationery brand.

In ‘Nikon’, a guy is having his hair cut by a barber, who in turn is having his hair cut by another barber, who in turn is having his hair cut by another barber, who in turn is having his hair cut by another barber, and that’s it. The text blurb goes ‘Nai kon’.

There’s more wordplay on brand names at the Askmebazaar social media properties. The brand’s Twitter handle has been sharing these jokes as visuals with the hashtag #GetReal.

A countermove?

Askmebazaar’s #GetReal seems like a countermove by the ecommerce brand. Moreover, brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor is reported to have distanced himself from the brand. All the negative PR generated has only added to its woes, and adversely affected brand credibility. So, a public interest campaign comes across as the only strategic move. How much will “#GetReal” help the brand regain consumers’ trust is something its seller policies will decide.

The awareness campaign is tackling the issue head on, with the help of videos. The wordplay with brand names is a clever idea to educate consumers and prevent them from being deceived by fake brands that usually look very much alike the original. But, when you place an online order, you never know what you will get is what you have ordered.

Rocks instead of laptops, soaps instead of mobile phones, only scraps of paper is a nightmare. It could mean the end of ecommerce in India, and a brand building consumer awareness is a good thing. But, coming from a brand which is itself accused of selling fake products on its site, ‘Get Real’ videos sound more like what consumers want to convey to Askmebazaar!

When Snapdeal had to deal with loads of negative PR after a consumer was delivered a stone instead of a mobile phone, it triggered an array of positive PR activities. Snapdeal’s #DilKiDeal featuring brand ambassador Aamir Khan was a good move by the ecommerce brand to regain consumer trust and make up for the damaged brand name.