With the increasing popularity of digital education and increasing number of students transitioning to online learning, Indian edtech companies are running highly engaging advertising campaigns. Recently, Upgrade, an online higher education company, shared one such campaign which features an AI-generated lookalike of Google CEO Sundar Pichai. While this approach can be seen as creative by the company, it received mixed reviews from social media users.
Many criticized the edtech company for creating an advertisement which they considered “stingy” and “clingy”. Additionally, questions were raised regarding whether Upgrad had obtained permission from the Google CEO himself before using his likeness and personal details in his campaign.
Upgrade’s new ad campaign reminds me of Sundar Pichai
In the ad, Upgrad shared a picture of a man standing in the middle of a crowded railway platform. The man who bore a striking resemblance to Google CEO Sundar Pichai was described as 45-year-old Sundar P.
The ad gave more details about the man and said, “I got a scholarship to Stanford but the cost of travel was too high so I didn’t go.”
Notably, the Google boss also has a Stanford connection as he completed his master’s degree from there.
While it was still confusing, the caption left no doubt about the campaign’s indirect taunt on Sundar Pichai. “Thankfully, the beautiful one we know has chosen to #SkipExcuses and leave it to her competition, Miles Peche,” it wrote.
thankfully, chose the handsomest we know #leave the excuses And left his competition Miles Peche. ,
Disclaimer: This post is fictional. Any resemblance to actual events, real life persons/persons or entities is purely coincidental. viewer discretion is advised. pic.twitter.com/jE6sHjjgIE
— Upgrade (@upGrad_edu) June 6, 2023
Further advising viewers to act at their own discretion, the company also mentioned that the post is entirely fictional and any resemblance to actual events, real-life persons/personalities, or entities is purely coincidental.
However, it seems netizens were in no mood to be reassured.
Netizens are unhappy with upGrad’s new ad campaign
As soon as the ad was shared, many people took to the comments section and expressed their displeasure towards the same.
One user wrote, “Does Sundar Pichai know that his name and likeness is being appropriated in an ad campaign by an Indian edtech brand?” While another commented, “That’s so stingy.”
“Let’s be thankful Mr. Pichai isn’t given a silly name like ‘Wolf Gupta’!” said a third user, while a fourth wrote, “This is a new low. Must have terrible leadership to approve such disgusting ads.”