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#AdgullyImpact: Magicbricks retracts ads that faked Bots as loyal customers

On July 23, 2019, Adgully had reported a speculation about bots being used in the ads by Times Group-owned Magicbricks. The campaign included three creatives with images and quotes of three different satisfied Magicbricks ‘users’. However, when we tracked backwards, we found that the people used in the campaign ads were not real users. They did not have any social media accounts, the tweets like images shown in the campaign were the only tweets that they had done from their accounts, which looked more like bots. The people in the ads had joined Twitter in July 2019, but had no followers nor were they following anyone.

Three days after the story was reported, Magicbricks has removed the creatives from all its social media handles. Today, we searched all their handles and the campaign could not be found. All the tweets and Facebook posts were removed, which clearly indicate that veracity of Adgully’s report.

Adgully reached out to Magicbricks for a comment in this regard, but are yet to receive a response at the time of filing this report.

Several small and unknown brands across the country, who do not have a national presence or a large consumer base and don’t have much to lose, sometimes are see releasing ads that use fake consumers. Such brands are present across most categories. However, such measures are not expected from bigger brands with a strong customer base and who have been advertising heavily across all mediums. Such measures could put an irrevocable dent on the brand equity built over the years.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) keep a regular watch on ads making misleading or unsubstantiated claims as well as indulging in unfair competitive practices and take stringent action against those found violating the advertising code. It is not known whether this particular Magicbricks campaign has been brought to ASCI’s notice.

Founded in 2006, Magicbricks has emerged as a leader in the online renting, buying and selling of real estate. The brand claims to have million-plus happy customers and has a strong social media community, besides being a consistent and frequent advertiser across mediums.

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