Grab plays the fear card in gory ad attacking Ojek rivals in Indonesia

Car-hailing app Grab has taken the controversial approach of suggesting that ojeks – the traditional motorbike form of transport much-used in Indonesia – are dangerous in a gory new ad to attack the competition.

Grab Indonesia ad

A 45-second commercial shows a young woman’s face and body gradually turn bloody as she considers riding with an Ojek driver.

The ad also claims that taking a Grab car instead of an Ojek would be faster.

The commercial has prompted a strong response from Indonesians in some quarters, with some saying that Grab is using fear to promote itself. Mumbrella has approached Grab for comment.

Update: Grab has removed the ad and issued a statement.

Grab Indonesia goreThe film, which uses the hashtag #PilihAmandiJalan (choose the safe option), has raced to almost a million views on YouTube in two days.

The ad comes out just ahead of the news that Grab has secured $750 million in equity financing, which increases the company’s capital position to over $1 billion.

Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi until a rebrand last year, has produced some bold but at times controversial marketing during its short existence as the Southeast Asian company does battle in the hugely competitive transport app space with the likes of Uber and, in Indonesia, Gojek.

Last year, Grab apologised after a heated reaction in social media to a campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer in Singapore. The campaign went with the line ‘Love boobs? So does cancer’, which some pointed out was distasteful and offensive to breast cancer sufferers.


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