Ice cream major Haagen-Dazs – which recently opened its flagship outlet in India at Select CityWalk Mall, New Delhi – landed in trouble when the company displayed controversial posters outside the outlet recently. The banner displayed a message saying ‘preview for international travellers’ and ‘Entry restricted only to holders of international passports.’
On December 15, an Indian man who saw the sign was turned away from the store — but only because of lack of space due to the weekend rush, according to Haagen-Dazs. Not to be outdone, the man took a photograph and posted it on the internet, inciting a hail of protests that left the company red-faced.
Anindo Mukherji, managing director, General Mills India has released a media statement saying, “There have been some reports alleging that the recently opened Häagen-Dazs shop denied access to Indians. We vehemently and categorically deny this. Häagen-Dazs products and our Häagen-Dazs shop in India are and will always be for our consumers in India.”
Clearing the controversy surrounding the offending poster, Mukherji says, “The poster in question was part of initial local store communication at a few locations within the same mall announcing the opening of the new Häagen-Dazs shop in the property. The message was intended to suggest that you can enjoy, for instance, a taste of the French Riviera without travelling to France – at Häagen-Dazs. Unfortunately the reference to the international passport holder on the poster may have led to a significant miscommunication. This was completely unintended and we apologie for creating the misimpression that may have hurt our sentiments as Indians.”
The company asserts that Haagen-Dazs is here to obviously tap the Indian market, not keep it out. Further, Mukherji confirmed that customers were refused entry only momentarily — due to overcrowding of the outlet.
Meanwhile, the irate customer is evidently enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame.
— IndiaRetailing Bureau