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Square Yards’ OOH campaign called out over alleged ‘vulgarity’

The campaign is gaining a lot of criticism on LinkedIn and Twitter with people calling it out as a cheap marketing tactic, saying it might increase traffic but not sales

Real estate start-up Square Yards’ recent OOH campaign to build customer recall seems to be getting all the negative publicity, with audiences calling out its hoardings over their alleged double meanings. The campaign purportedly uses sexual innuendos and call-to-action phrases against a yellow backdrop for the billboards.

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These billboards were placed in the prime areas of target cities to evoke as much response from prospective customers and spawn engagement on its digital platform and offline distribution nodes.

The campaign, however, didn’t go down well with netizens who termed it as a ‘cheap marketing tactic in the garb of creativity’.

When Kanika Gupta Shori, Founder and COO at Square Yards, took to LinkedIn to share the campaign, she drew a lot of criticism with people commenting how it puts the brand in the wrong light.

“Not sure whether hitchhiking on a theme like that would give you returns, may be footfalls, but not conversions. I do understand it is pretty creative and bold, but is an average Indian family ready for the tongue-in-cheek boldness?” one of the users asked.

Some also called the tactic ‘eye-catching and bold’.

“Advertising only raw rule is to draw attention — conversion is the role of product / services offered. Suddenly remembered the ‘Axe Ad’ which made a 1000 bikini (clad women) run after a guy using it! Great work!” another user said.

In her LinkedIn post, Shori claimed that after the campaign, traffic on its website surged 5x. At any point, more than 4,000+ users were concurrently searching and its site crashed because of high volume for few minutes. She said the start-up had already become the largest listings portal in India with 1mn+ listings, and 35,000+ monthly active brokers (all within just 12 months of launch).

“Now it's time to set some disruption on consumer experience and traffic. For too long, Indian real estate consumers have been middling with poor search quality and fake listings—time to change that,” she said.

The brand’s own marketing team has developed the creative.

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