Careem’s latest election-themed advertising has not only resulted in harsh reprimands on social media but also a rising inclination towards its competitor Uber. Its apology tweet two days ago has not satisfied the public. People are demanding that the ads be taken down as well.

What started all this was just a couple of promo codes and taglines. ‘Afternuun’ and ’10percent’ were clearly directed at the PML-N and PPP respectively. Then there was a clever play on the ‘Bhutto Aaj Bhi Zinda hai’ slogan: “Kal Bhi promo Zinda Hai, Aaj Bhi promo Zinda hai.”

And right on the heels of the Avenfield verdict, Careem’s quoting of “Mujhe Kyun Nikala” was probably what lit the fuse.

While Careem tries to encourage the hashtag ‘CareemForDemocracy’, the public is repeatedly tweeting under #BoycottCareemPakistan.  The animosity is palpable, especially as some people abandon all forms of articulate communication, instead opting for swear words and disturbingly graphic language.

One of Careem’s main objectives over the past few weeks really was just to bring out voters. Well before the controversial promos came out, people were actually loving the company’s enthusiasm.

 

Careem’s words were heartfelt and important. “Let’s use this power and play a central role in shaping your community’s future” – with the huge political tussle going on, I don’t think any of us care to remember what it really means to be a voter.

Careem was one of the few that tried to remind us.

Public opinion is still largely divided over how to respond to the promos. While some point out that everyone needs to lighten up, others are downright disgusted with the transit service.

 

Careem, largely, is being accused of attempting to play politics. Whether or not the campaign was disrespectful is a question that can be argued over endlessly without fruition. Perhaps we need to be asking a different question. The way we react to situations says a lot about us. Are we capable of providing mature criticism, even in the face of apparent tactlessness? More importantly, do we know how to tailor our responses proportionate to the offense committed?

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