Marketing fail: Flipkart 'sexist' customer emails go viral on Twitter

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In August 2015, Flipkart was forced to apologise for sending a sexist promotional email after a customer took to Twitter to criticise India's largest online retailer. This case study looks at the fall out from the marketing blunder, and why brands should think before they click 'send'.


Case study summary:

• Indian retailer sends mass email claiming 'beauty breeds success' for women

• Email is posted on Twitter and goes viral-provoking outrage and negative media coverage

• Company forced to make quick apology with deep review of content strategy

Following a mass mailing by Flipkart to targeted female customers, Twitter user Richa Kaul Padte posted a screenshot of the email that cited "research" to market women's fashion products.

This is the text of the email it sent to potential customers:

“Research shows that beautiful women are more successful in their lives. This is because when women improve their appearances, they get noticed, listened to and eventually respected for their opinion. Such women not only become confident but also remain motivated to perform even better in life.”

The tone of the text, implying women can only be succesful of they are beautiful, provoked poutrage on Twitter.

Here's an example of some of the reponses:


Flipkart replied to the tweet saying it does not endorse the content of the email and will investigate and take action. Punit Soni, Flipkart's chief product officer, admitted that this was a big faux-pas and and apologised on the company's behalf.

"Unconditional apologies. We do not endorse the insensitive remarks in the email. This is a big fail, will not happen again," tweeted Soni.

He also said that the company was kicking off a deep review to see what happened and will fix things.

However, this isn't the first instance of glaring sexism that Flipkart has resorted to, as has been pointed out by certain users on social media:

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