Eyewear Retailer Lenskart Uses Nepal Earthquake To Send Offensive Advertising Message

Aaron Homer

Indian eyewear retailer Lenskart has found itself in hot water with its customers after sending out an offensive text message that appeared to make light of the Nepal earthquake, Indian Express is reporting.

Within two hours after the first shock waves hitting Nepal and killing hundreds of people (over 900 confirmed deaths as of this post, according to this Inquisitr report), Lenskart sent the following SMS (text) message to its subscribers.

First SMS sent to Lenskart customers after the Nepal earthquake.
3000 Indian Rupees (Rs) is about $47 at current exchange rates; 500 Rupees is about $7.84.

About an hour and a half later, someone at Lenskart realized that the country had made a horrible mistake and sent the following text message to its subscribers.

Second Lenskart SMS message.
Second Lenskart SMS message.

By that time, the damage had already been done. The hashtag #ShameOnLenskart had begun trending on Twitter in India and South Asia.

The Indian media has been no less kind to Lenskart, either. Indian Express writer Debashis Sarkar took Lenskart to task for taking an hour and a half to realize the gravity of their mistake.

“Realising the gravity of the situation and to avoid #ShameonLenskart from trending on Twitter, the company sent out another SMS at 3:01 pm apologising for the “accidental choice of words”. Yes, it took 90 minutes for Lenskart.com to realise this. Within that 90 minutes, our government had already hit the panic button to provide relief and support.”

Blogger Rashmi Mishra, writing onn India.com, called Lenskart’s actions “disgusting.”

“The Twitterati could not control the angst over this mindless marketing gimmick of Lenskart, which was openly mocking the Nepal Earthquake. They referred to the lack of humanity and senseless product selling. It is absolutely disgusting to see the company stooping to this level!”

Unfortunately, big (and small) companies’ advertising departments often make huge mistakes in their advertising, whether through poor timing, poor taste, or simple failure to think things through. Burger King, for example, faced heavy criticism for an advertising campaign involving a seven-inch long sandwich; the ad could most charitably be described as “suggestive,” according to this Inquisitr report.

Do you think Lenskart’s advertising campaign tied to the Nepal earthquake is offensive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Images courtesy of: Getty Images/Omar Havana, Indian Express]