Grab deletes gruesome ad after backlash: ‘Our intention was not to shock’

Grab Indonesia adSoutheast Asian car-hailing app Grab has deleted a film that prompted a social media backlash for featuring a young girl who suffers from horrific injuries because she chooses to take a traditional Ojek motorbike rather than one of its own vehicles, which it claims are safer.

Grab did not apologise, saying that it had hoped the video would be “thought provoking” and encourage Indonesian commuters to be more concerned about safety, and replaced the film with a 15-second version with none of the gore.

Some social media had said that the video had prompted then to delete the Grab app, and others expressed their anger that the company was using fear for self-promotion.

Mediko Azwar, Grab Indonesia’s marketing director, told Mumbrella in a statement: “Grab’s ‘Choose Safety’ campaign aims to raise awareness of how road safety standards can be improved in Indonesia. We had hoped for our ‘Choose Safety’ online video to be thought-provoking – to encourage people to be more concerned about the safety and service levels of their day-to-day motorcycle taxi rides.”

“There have been mixed reactions to the video and we thank everyone for sharing their feedback. On hindsight, we acknowledge that the graphics may have been grim and disturbing. We hope that those who have watched the ‘Choose Safety’ video will understand that our intention was not to shock, but to reinforce the consequences of accepting lower safety standards,” he commented.

Azwar pointed to data from the World Health Organisation that found that the rate of motorcycle accident fatalities is higher than average in Indonesia, yet many motorcycle taxi users are not concerned about factors such as their ojek drivers’ riding skills.

He added: “Hence Grab considers improving road safety awareness and defensive riding standards in Indonesia to be an urgent issue. The ‘Choose Safety’ video was designed to highlight in a vivid manner the regrettable and unforeseen consequences of road traffic accidents and to remind all road users of the importance of responsible riding and driving.”

“The ‘Choose Safety’ campaign aims to highlight and set best practice safety standards for motorcycle taxi – and trigger the motorcycle taxi industry to put in place fundamental standards, such as enforcing that 100% of motorcycle taxi drivers are licenced and go through defensive riding training before picking up passengers. Grab is committed to raising safety standards across the motorcycle taxi industry, and will work with pangkalan ojek to hone their driving skills with defensive riding training which will be covered in the next phase of the ‘Choose Safety’ campaign.”

The original film can still be seen in various places in social media.


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