Recently, a Foodpanda ad has received huge backlash from the Malaysian community regarding their choice of casting.
On September 29, the delivery platform published a video titled Pollywood to advertise their application on YouTube.
The video consisted of an all-Malay cast, including renowned actresses Adibah Noor and Nadia Aqulah.
Clad in traditional Indian costume, the cast danced and sang while showcasing the Foodpanda app’s latest feature.
This video received waves of backlash criticising them for ‘borrowing’ Indian culture.
Many pointed out that though the video was published in conjunction with Deepavali, it failed to feature a single Indian actor in it.
It’s more than the lack of Indian representation. Even if there were Indians in this ad, it’s still silly and stereotypical. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but the dance-y Bollywood theme has nothing to do with Deepavali and is not representative of Indian culture in general https://t.co/rsl7xOP5tg— ❅ᜐᜋᜓᜎ (@uglyluhan) October 5, 2021
An Indian-style ad by a German-owned company, done for the Malaysian market, featuring not one single person of Indian ethnicity in it.— Media Dude (@willworkforpork) October 4, 2021
Were you TRYING your best to go for cultural appropriation, @foodpanda_my? https://t.co/G1zDtpTKJx
Today (October 10), the marketing head of Foodpanda, Vanita Menon Kris, has apologised and responded to the controversy during an interview with Malay Mail.
According to her, the company had not intended to offend the Indian community. Instead, it was supposed to celebrate the rich musical influence on Malaysia’s local television.
Furthermore, Vanita said that the video is a teaser for an upcoming story that depicts the daily lives of a Malay household. The narrative was planned to air in October.
We will feature them going through their daily lives using various Foodpanda joy hacks, multiple musical genres such as Bollywood and K-Pop to communicate the different hacks a consumer can do.”
The marketing head added that the video aimed to illustrate how Malaysians adapted to each other’s cultures.
Additionally, it was purposed to celebrate all things uniquely Malaysian.
“As such, Foodpanda would like to take this time to humbly apologise as it is never our intention to cause any discomfort to our consumers as we stay committed to delivering happiness to your doorstep.”
Watch the Foodpanda ad here:
Cover Images via Foodpanda Malaysia
Proofreader: Grace Choong