‘The Delhi’, ‘Bhimashankari’ – Errors in Uber ad. Whose line is it anyway?

It must be as jarring for Grammar Nazis as nails on a blackboard. Ride-hailing major Uber India’s full front page print ads on December 6, 2019 in at least two editions of The Times of India had glaring errors. The print ads had appeared in multiple editions of The Times of India, but it was the ad in the Delhi and Mumbai editions that came under the scanner. 

The copy of the print ad in Delhi edition of TOI read: “Planning to head out of the Delhi?” Meanwhile, the ad appearing in Mumbai edition of TOI misspelled the name of a place as ‘Bhimashankari’, instead of ‘Bhimashankar’, a temple town in Maharashtra. 

Front page ads of any print major costs lakhs of rupees and an error like this can put the brand’s reputation at risk. Whose fault is it really? Ogilvy India, the agency that conceptualised this campaign, or Uber India, which gave the final clearance for the ad? 

Naresh Gupta, Co-Founder, Bang In The Middle, affirmed, “These are errors that should have never happened. Between the agency and client, there are always checks that ensure that errors are spotted and corrected. Only the client and agency can tell how the errors found a place in the released ad. There are three glaring errors in two ads, that’s one too many.” 

On the flip side, could it have been possible that the errors were deliberate? Uber might have wanted to play on the ‘The Delhi Sentiment’ as it is a common lingo in the city. As digital marketer Shubho Sengupta quipped, “Delhiites often make fun of Delhi by calling it ‘The Delhi’. That’s the Uber audience.” 

As far as ‘Bhimashankari’ is concerned, well if ‘Black Panther’ can convince us that the fictional land of Wakanda exists, Uber India might have some possible play on the name of Bhimashankar. 

While whether the error was deliberate or not is debatable, the ad has left industry experts and twitteratis with mixed feelings. Some point out the aspect of city lingo, but most of the netizens have been trolling Uber for the glaring errors. 

Here’s how industry experts and netizens reacted on social media: 

Deliberate or not, grammatical errors and misspelled names are a risky proposition. In case the move is a deliberate one, then it has to be communicated in a clear and smart way. A candidate applying for a job is rejected if there are errors in his/ her resumé, what does one do about errors in the body copy of an ad – oversight, sheer carelessness, despite several layers of checks.


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