Travel aggregator MakeMyTrip has invited controversy for their latest advertisement that was published in Ahmedabad Times on Saturday, October 14. The ad was poking fun at Pakistani cricket fans who had travelled to Ahmedabad for the India versus Pakistan world cup cricket match at the Narendra Modi stadium on Saturday. The advertisement said, “Let’s take a moment and forget our rivalries. After all, it is not everyday that you visit us. So, staying true to the Indian tradition of ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ [the guest is equivalent to god], we want to extend some heartfelt offers to you.”
The ad then offered discount codes based on how many wickets and/or run differences Pakistan would lose the match on Saturday. The discount codes were also phrases like ‘boys played well’, ‘ek shaheen haar’, and ‘no mauka mauka’, that have been used to make fun of the Pakistan team, every time they lose a match.
Several social media users further pointed out how the bad grammar in one of the posters in the ad that said ‘boys playz well’ was also demeaning to Pakistanis and the players.
The internet had mixed reactions to the ad. While some of them stated that the ad was hilarious and sporting, others said that it was in bad taste. Former Indian cricket team player Virender Sehwag shared a picture of the ad on X (formerly known as Twitter) and said, “There isn't as much fun in love as there is in Pakistan's loss. Who invites like this! MMT [MakeMyTrip] played well!
One person on X , questioned whether MakeMyTrip would have made a similar ad for any other cricket team playing against India. She said, “What a horrible ad in terribly bad taste MakeMyTrip Would you have done with any other cricket team?”
Another person apologised to the Pakistani fans for the ad and hoped that whoever worked on this ad would regret working on it. He said, “As an Indian, I want to apologise to every Pakistani person for this MakeMyTrip ad. This does not represent Indian values. It only represents the worst among us. The stereotyping using beards, the intentional grammatical errors. There’s nothing good about this. I hope the people who worked on this regret this someday. You’ll get a lot of support from the hateful social media crowd. Don’t mistake engagement for accomplishment.”
Sumit Purohit, a filmmaker, also expressed his disdain for the advertisement. He said, “We are terrible people. First, we deny them visas and then this. This is not funny, it only reflects our insecurities and our crass sense of humour. The foundation of any sporting competition is in respecting the opponent and bringing people together. We have forgotten that.”