Nepal Tragedy: Lenskart Botches, But Indian Telco’s & Startups Extend Genuine Help!
Nepal experienced one of the worst natural disasters ever when a powerful Earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale rattled this small country on Saturday, last week. As of now, more than 3000 people have been declared dead, and more than 200 ancient monuments, buildings and palaces have been razed to ground. More than 50 people have died in Bihar due to this calamity, as the entire North India shock with tremors and after-shocks even after 48 hours of the earthquake.
During such distressed times, when death and destruction is playing havoc everywhere, startups and telecom companies in India have risen up to the occasion, and announced several help and relief measures. But at the same time, there is a brand which attempted to make a mockery of the situation with their ill-timed, inhumane and distasteful marketing stunt.
We will begin with the bad efforts first.
Lenskart’s Message: Shake It Off Like This Earthquake
Within couple of hours of the earthquake, Lenskart customers and followers received this message on their mobiles, which completely shocked them:
Comparing Earthquake with another dance move, Lenskart was clearly trying to take advantage of the ‘buzz’ and ‘trend’, as evident with this message.
With the backlash and public outcry on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook, Lenskart quickly apologized for their marketing gimmick, and Tweeted:
@_mohul We regret the wrong choice of words. We deeply apologize for unintentionally hurting any sentiments.
— Lenskart (@Lenskart_com) April 25, 2015
Even in their apology, they are emphasizing on the ‘wrong choice of words’, as if the ‘right choice’ of words would have made it correct. It was the intent of cashing on the tragedy which irked one and all. They also published a blog with their apologies.
Companies Which Genuinely Helped
On the other hand, there are several telecom firms and startups along with mega corporations who didn’t waste time in showcasing their marketing skills, and went straight into assistance and help mode.
Some of them are:
Telecom Firms That Helped
BSNL: They were among the first to announce immediate measures for helping Earthquake victims. All BSNL calls from India to Nepal would be local between April 26th – April 28th. Considering there are vast number of Nepalese immigrants in India, this was an excellent gesture.
Airtel: Going one step ahead, Airtel decided to offer all calls within Airtel network from India to Nepal free for the next 48 hours (from April 25th to April 27th). We certainly appreciate this excellent gesture from Airtel, and we strongly believe that large corporations have the power to help society. We only hope that the same sentiments are passed on for supporting Net Neutrality and #SaveTheInternet campaign as well.
Aircel: Aircel decided to offer absolutely free calls to Nepal for their Indian pre-paid and post-paid customers, along with waiving off International Roaming charges for April 27th and 28th.
Vodafone: Against their normal rate of Rs 12/minute, Vodafone decided to offer all calls to Nepal at a discounted rate of Rs 1 /minute for the period April 27th to April 28th.
Tata DoCoMo: All calls made on Tata DoCoMo’s network would be charged 1paisa per second between April 26th and April 28th
Idea Cellular: Similarly, Idea also announced that calls made to Nepal would be charged at Rs 1 per minute.
Videocon Mobile: All calls made using Videocon’s mobile services would be charged 90 paisa per minute, against Rs 9.2 per minute which is their standard rates.
Startups / Online Companies
PayTm: PayTm was probably the first Indian startup which stepped up the tempo for providing relief to the victims. They came up with an offer where they will match every contribution made by their customers for Nepal tragedy. Hence, if I contribute Rs 500, PayTm will add Rs 500 from their side and pass on the money to Govt. of India’s Nepal relief funds.
Freecharge: They came up with an interesting offer wherein everyone is encouraged to give a missed call at 9590666222. For every missed call they received, they will contribute Rs 20 to the Prime Minister Relief Fund. And, the caller will also receive a free Rs 20 recharge voucher.
ShopClues: ShopClues quickly launched a portal for accepting donations meant for Nepal earthquake victims. In a noble gesture, they will match every rupee donated and will contribute the entire sum collected to the World Food Programme (WFP).
Google: They immediately announced a relief package of $1 million, along with launching an excellent People Finder Tool, which collaborates all data about missing persons, and helps people locate them. As of now, they have saved records of more than 5000 people.
Facebook: Facebook immediately released their ‘Safety Check’ app, which allows users to mark themselves as safe during such natural calamity. Thousands of Facebook users have used this app to declare themselves safe.
Apple: Within hours of the Earthquake, Apple placed a link on their iTunes and App Store which re-directed the users to Red Cross America’s donation site. The relief funds would be used by Red Cross to help Nepal.
Besides these, you can directly donate to the Indian Government’s Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, which will be sent to Nepal to help the survivors rebuilt their country.
Our condolences and heart-felt prayers to Nepal.