Surf Excel and Microsoft Excel may have little in common, but outrage by some against the detergent brand has ended up in poor ratings for the spreadsheets app on the Google Play store. Users were trying to express their anger against a Surf Excel advertisement , which they claimed was anti-Hindu.
Since Monday, an unsuspecting Microsoft Excel found itself the target of labels such as “anti-national” and “Hinduphobic”, and received one-star ratings. “I hate Surf Excel now,” said one user. “I will never purchase any product from you guys.” Another person asked Microsoft Excel to do its business in Pakistan.
The controversial advertisement released last week was a story about a young girl who helps her neighbour go for his namaz without getting stains of Holi colours on his clothes. Twitter users were divided – some said it showed a message of inclusivity, while others soon helped the hashtag “#BoycottSurfExcel” trend.
A user Jitendra Singh asked what wrong have “we Hindu brothers done to you”. Take back the anti-Hindu ad, he said, even suggesting that Surf Excel had renamed itself to Microsoft Excel because it got “scared of us”.
Another user called Vinay Parihar said the “Excel family is disgrace to India and Hinduism”. Interestingly, however, Singh rated the app four out of five, and Parihar rated it five.
One review, by a user “Sirius Black”, said in Hindi, “I know you have not done anything; in fact you might have even opposed the Surf Excel ad. But your name also has Excel, so you are also anti-Hindu.”
Meanwhile, some users seemed to have done it for fun, writing satirical reviews pointing out the mix-up by right-wing groups. Others also logged in to rate Microsoft Excel five on five in solidarity.
Several Twitter users mocked the comments posted on Microsoft Excel’s Play Store app:
Meanwhile, Snapdeal founder Kunal Bahl posted a meme, after he was understandably reminded of a similar incident in 2017 when users confused the Indian e-commerce company with messaging app Snapchat. After a former Snapchat employee revealed that its CEO Evan Spiegel called India a poor country and said the app “is only for rich people”, several Indians outraged. But amid that outrage, they seem to have also gotten confused and mass downrated Snapdeal.
“I know that feel bro,” Snapdeal tells Microsoft Excel in the meme that Bahl shared.