Amitabh Bachchan Receives Backlash After Flipkart Ad Irks Traders

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CAIT, in a letter to actor Amitabh Bachchan, stated that his recent ad for Flipkart’s ‘The Big Billion Days’ spreads misinformation and hurts local businesses

The traders’ body called for the withdrawal of the ad, failing which it will approach the Ministry of I&B and the Department of Consumer Affairs

Flipkart made an ad in which Bachchan could be heard saying that the kind of deals Flipkart will offer during its festive sales will not be available at retail shops. The ad has now been made private on YouTube

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to actor Amitabh Bachchan stating that his recent ad for Flipkart’s ‘The Big Billion Days’ spreads misinformation and hurts local businesses.

“We are highly disheartened to witness your recent advertisement for Flipkart, where you claimed that deals and offers are not available at shopkeepers, thereby misguiding and influencing the consumers which we strongly condemn and seek an explanation as to on what grounds you said such words in the advertisement in question,” said the traders association in its letter to the actor.

“We humbly request you refrain from being biased or diverting customers towards online platforms with misleading statements or advertising for monetary gains,” it said.

The development comes a day after Flipkart came up with its latest ad on the much-awaited festive sales. In the ad, Bachchan could be heard saying that the kind of mobile deals offered on Flipkart during The Big Billion Days sales will not be available at retail shops (rough translation from Hindi).

Meanwhile, Flipkart appears to have made the ad private on YouTube. While Inc42 was earlier able to view the ad on YouTube, it was changed to private by the time this story was published.

A mail sent to Flipkart seeking a response on CAIT’s allegations didn’t elicit any response until the time of publishing this article.

In the letter, CAIT showed concerns that while as the host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, the actor is seen “consistently promoting and highlighting the stories and struggles of ordinary individuals”, his endorsement of online shopping, “without acknowledging the fact that shopkeepers also offer competitive pricing and discounts”, are contradictory.

The association further highlighted the Indian government’s attempts to promote local vendors and local businesses. Hence, such endorsements are a disregard for the same.

“We sincerely urge you to withdraw the advertisement, as it is unethically and unfairly impacting the livelihood of shopkeepers and misleading consumers across the country. If this concern is not addressed, we will be left with no choice but to seek intervention from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting through the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) New Delhi,” the body said.

“This advertisement is unjust, unethical, and misguiding customers solely for your benefits, thereby causing significant harm to the business of local shopkeepers,” it added.

In a post on X, CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said if the ad is not withdrawn, CAIT and All India Mobile Retailers Association will file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

It must be noted that CAIT has been a strong critic of Flipkart and Amazon for years. In the past, too, the traders’ body has accused the platforms of resorting to predatory pricing and violating Indian laws.

The Big Billion Days sale on Flipkart is set to start on October 8 and run until October 15. With festival sales becoming one of the major battlegrounds for all ecommerce platforms, Amazon was also seen shifting the date of its Great Indian Festival sale to October 8 from October 10, earlier.

As per a recent Redseer report, the gross merchandise value (GMV) of the country’s ecommerce sector is projected to grow 18-20% to INR 90,000 Cr during the festive season this year from INR 76,000 Cr last year.

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