How Ola’s April Fool’s prank video turned real

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on April 01, 2019

The company to crowd fund toilets for 20,000 people

When an Ola mobile restroom video went viral on social media, attracting 8,67,000 views, 3,500 comments and 55,000 likes and reactions over the weekend, few realised it was an April Fool’s Day prank video.

“Brilliant move from @Olacabs. When you gotta go, you got to go!!!” tweeted Lloyd Mathias, former marketing head, Consumer PCs, HP Asia-PAC Japan. Sujibb Chandra tweeted “Quick question Ola, will the restrooms be air conditioned or not?” And Kalyani Sohalkar tweeted, “Just got this notification on my phone. You guys are funny.”

Nationwide campaign

Putting to rest all speculation, Ola on Monday announced a nationwide crowd-funding campaign to build toilets for over 20,000 people across India.

Launched under Ola’s ‘My Ride. My Cause’ programme, users can contribute ₹1 per ride from April 2 to October 2.

Ola has partnered with Gramalaya, an approved key resource centre from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, which will use the proceeds in its on-going effort to build toilets for the underprivileged.

The Ola Restrooms April Fool’s video was aimed at building awareness around the need for accessible and hygienic lavatories in India.

How to contribute

Once a ride is booked, customers will be able to see an option to contribute ₹1 on the ride booking screen. On clicking ‘see how’, customers will see detailed information about Gramalaya and how their contribution will be used.

The button at the bottom of the screen that says ‘Donate INR 1 on every ride’ enables the contribution. Once accepted, customers will see their contribution towards the initiative in the ride details screen for every ride and can choose to opt out at any point of time.

Alternatively, customers can activate contributions from the ‘Donations’ section, under ‘Profiles’ in the global menu.

S Damodaran, founder and CEO of Gramalaya, in a statement, said, “Sanitation provides safety, security and privacy for women and adolescent girls and we envision a society where everyone has access to safe sanitation facilities that empower individuals and communities. Gramalaya has successfully demonstrated sustainable sanitation models over the past 30 years and plans to expand these facilities to other parts of India. We are grateful to Ola for facilitating the crowd funding campaign to help us achieve the goal of making India cleaner and healthier.”

Published on April 01, 2019

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