Pine Labs, a merchant platform, has seized the spotlight by taking a jab at Paytm's front-page advertisement in a national daily, igniting a heated social media discussion. Employing the concept of "moment-marketing," Pine Labs delivered a message with their digital ad campaign, proclaiming, "The front page can be bought. Trust cannot."

The counter-campaign emphasised that over a million businesses across India rely on Pine Labs to enhance their in-store operations, challenging the narrative set by Paytm's advertisement, which came on the heels of the company's partnership with Axis Bank for merchant payment settlements.

In the midst of the Paytm regulatory fallout with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), PhonePe's founder and CEO, Sameer Nigam, subtly anticipated a migration of customers from their competitor. While not explicitly mentioning Paytm, Nigam alluded to the regulatory challenges faced by the rival company, stating that the RBI's actions were 'proportionate' and followed multiple warnings.

The controversy intensified as Karthik Srinivasan, a former communications specialist, criticised Pine Labs for what he deemed an unwarranted attack on Paytm, despite acknowledging the regulatory concerns surrounding the latter. Srinivasan emphasised the need for civility in addressing a competitor's misfortune.

In response to growing uncertainties about Paytm Payments Bank's operational status following the RBI's directives, Pine Labs tried to capitalise on the moment, turning their social media post into an ad. However, not everyone applauded this strategy, with Arindam Paul, CBO of Atomberg Tech, labelling Pine Labs' approach as "classless" and reflective of a scarcity mindset.

While opinions on such marketing tactics are divided across social media, Paytm has a history of taking jabs at competitors for promotional purposes.

In 2020, when Yes Bank faced a moratorium imposed by the RBI, PhonePe's UPI services suffered a significant setback as it relied on the bank's UPI platform for processing user payments.

Seizing the opportunity, Paytm Payments Bank, through its official handle, tweeted to PhonePe, inviting them to join the Paytm Bank UPI platform. “Dear @PhonePe Inviting you to @PaytmBank #UPI platform. It already has huge adoption and can seamlessly scale manifold to handle your business. Let’s get you back up, fast!”

In response, PhonePe retorted, stating, "Dear @PaytmBank Inviting you to consider that if your #UPI platform was so 'seamlessly scalable', we'd have called you ourselves. No point getting back up faster, if we have to desert our long term partners when they're down. Form is temporary, class is permanent.”

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