Anil Thakraney: Mallya’s image is working against him

25 Oct,2012

By Anil Thakraney


All that’s gone wrong with Kingfisher Airlines has been discussed enough in the media (I too have posted on this in the past), so there’s nothing more to add. One can only grab a Kingfisher beer, sit back, and quietly watch the airline go down the tube. Clearly, there’s no scope for a turnaround, so utterly horrid is Dr Mallya’s business model.


However, I think the reason why there is so much public anger against Kingfisher is not just because the innocent employees remain unpaid, not just because the wife of an unpaid staffer killed herself, it’s because of Vijay Mallya’s own flamboyant image. All those yachts, the lavish parties, the wild IPL celebrations, the frantic air kissing… it’s all come back to haunt the man. And these images are being beamed right next to the images of protesting employees on the news channels. That his equally high-life living son has been posting floozy tweets is adding to Mallya’s already overflowing mug of woes.


The colourful imagery is projecting the man to be deeply insensitive to his starving employees (even if that’s not the case), and that, for any organisation chief’s image, is akin to corporate hara-kiri. The Indian junta will never accept the idea of a man having a good time while his ‘family’ suffers. This goes against the grain of Indian culture. And in the absence of public sympathy, whatever little hope Mallya has of a government-led bailout begins to fade. What is truly incredible is that in the face of such a mega challenge, he continues to be bombastic!


The least Vijay Mallya must do now is to come down to earth (like his aircraft), roll up his sleeves, meet up with his angry employees and personally clean up the mess. If that means filing for bankruptcy, then so be it. Time for arrogance and ego is up. It’s time to do some dirty work and take hard decisions. And if he does this even now, some of Mallya’s dying reputation may yet get salvaged.


And oh, while the booze tycoon is at it, he must ensure his air-head son stays off Twitter for a few decades.




PS: Wonderful interactive video from Old Spice. You can use the keyboard to decide which instrument you want the musician to play, and how he must play it. It’s gone totally viral, 18 lakh hits at last count. And do note that the brand isn’t directly selling anything. This clearly is the future of viral marketing.


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