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The Trend That Went Bananas!

The recent uproar in the media set off by Rahul Bose is no unknown. Everyone on the internet is ‘going Bananas’ after the tweet went viral and sally forth a plethora of advertisements. In the notable tweet, the actor says how he was obnoxiously charged Rs.422.50 for a pair of bananas at a 5-star hotel in Chandigarh. He shares the video of his fruit platter that comprised of the two fruits and the bill levied on it. Netizens have utilised the issue to a maximum extent and composed memes, trolls and what not!  A small scale movement that went by the hashtag ‘My Rahul Bose moment’ did the rounds on social media. People from all over shared similar experiences where they encountered exorbitant prices for simple things. 

This got the show on the road. Contingently, ads from reputed companies started to pour in. Godrej’s retail chain Nature’s Basket said: “There is no reason to say Na-Na to our bananas” in order to promote their products. They’ve shown the price for a pair of bananas ‘at Rs.14’ after crossing out on ‘Rs.422.50’. 

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Prominent brands like Reliance Retail, Amazon Prime and Pepsi-Co started advertising of their own, benefitting from the situation. Amazon Prime tweeted a similar ad that said: “What you get for Rs 422, with two ripe bananas”. Whereas the other side showed a list of services Amazon offers, that includes a three-month subscription of their video streaming platform, free delivery of products purchased from Amazon.in, music streaming and e-book among other services and that the customer will still be left with Rs.55.

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The trend continued with the other leading brands as well. The American restaurant chain Pizza Hut said, “You paid Rs.422 for a fruit instead of getting the tastiest pizzas at just Rs 99? Are you bananas?” as a means to promote their affordable pizzas. “Creating relevant topical content that resonates with consumers is key to our digital strategy, and is in line with our marketing objective. Something caught our attention and that of many netizens recently, and we came up with a quirky way to tell our story through this opportunity,” said Prashant Gaur, chief brand & customer officer, Pizza Hut. This distinctly shows how brands have emerged to profit themselves and cash out the situation! 

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On the other hand, the Chandigarh excise and taxation department has penanced JW Marriot,  Rs.25,000, for overcharging customers. While it still remains unresolved if the fine was imposed for levying GST on an exempted item, tax experts believe that JW Marriott was right in levying GST. Anita Rastogi, a Tax expert, says, one does not go to a hotel to buy banana; one goes to a hotel to avail services, therefore a banana served to a hotel guest should be seen as a service.  Questions were still raised on how the hotel could charge GST at 18 per cent on an exempted item, fresh fruit.

“In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, it is imperative for brands to communicate with consumers through different moments. In fact, consumers today appreciate when brands share topical content – that’s why we have an ‘Always On’ social media strategy for Tropicana,” said PepsiCo marketing director Vineet Sharma. All these consequentially led to the advent of oodles of topical ads where leading labels put themselves out there and publicised themselves at no expense.