For a creative person, the last thing you would expect is your work being ripped off without being given proper credit. And for a brand the last thing it would expect is having to save its reputation on a lazy Saturday. Despite it being a lazy Saturday today, another social media disaster of 2013 has been thwarted successfully. Pepsi India deserves a pat on its back since not only did it act swiftly but also saved its reputation before it could be butchered by the social media ninjas.
The creative person who was the victim in the entire episode is Akshar Pathak. If you love minimalistic designs and are active on Facebook then you would have hardly missed out the brilliant art work being created at Minimal Bollywood Posters. The fan page that has kicked up to have more than 30K fans on Facebook, has been possible due to the sheer word of mouth and classic content.
Akshar, who had previously interacted with me while I was interviewing him about his work, had shared that social media has been a boon. Indeed you never know what can go viral but that also means that it becomes easy for someone to right click, download, put a whacky statement, share and drive clicks to their page. Exactly that is what Pepsi India did on a Friday with Akshar’s original art work. Pepsi India posted a content on a Friday asking fans about their weekend plans, but little it did know that it’s own weekend was about to fall flat. In a world where we are rampantly posting content without considering to give credit to the creator, Pepsi India did a grave mistake by taking original content from a person who is quite popular on social media.
Akshar, who was disgusted by this act from a reputed brand like Pepsi India, had no choice but to go and ask answers on social media. The below screen grab gives a clear picture how Pepsi India stole Akshar’s work.
Akshar posted the content on Facebook and Twitter as well and left the people to decide. And in no time, the Facebook post got more than 50 shares, more than 150 likes and 20 people joined in conversations on the content.
However, Pepsi India jumped into action without wasting any time. The brand deleted the content and got in touch with Akshar personally and wrote an apology too. The entire thing happened in just one hour and showed the intent to resolve the matter as soon as possible. The proceedings by the brand to resolve the matter was posted by Akshar himself, who updated his Facebook page and was pretty impressed that Pepsi India takes copyright infringement very seriously.
A crisis well-handled and on-time
This won’t be the last social media goof up that we would be seeing but what was impressive was the intent to resolve the issue from the brand. In today’s age when it takes seconds to rip off online images, Pepsi India made sure that not only it resolved the matter but acted really swift.
Situations like this are delicate but can be handled really well if the people behind the logo are ready to accept the mistakes, show the intent and move on. Not only a brand can save itself but it can add some extra brownie points by being genuine, accepting the fault and showing what it really takes to be a true social media brand. Volkswagen India and Starbucks India, both the brands lacked it and hence they were ripped off on social media. Volkswagen India went on to delete a sexist tweet and later on expressed that their account was compromised. And Starbucks India deleted a negative Facebook post after it went viral, gave an apology after few days but denied having deleted the Facebook post.
Your social media strategies are tested to the maximum when you have a crisis like this and Pepsi India did manage to close the chapter without much damage. I hope Akshar is a happy man now but not sure if this gesture would make him change his drink. Maybe Pepsi India can send him some free cans to chill out.