#Scamadgate: Anil Thakraney: Pawar had to go

27 Mar,2013

By Anil Thakraney


Bobby Pawar must be sorely regretting he’s not a politician. Had he been one, JWT’s creative chief could have said the Ford scam ads are a conspiracy to malign his image, haha. Well, this isn’t Indian rajneeti, and therefore he got the boot. Must say Pawar’s conduct saddens me. As the big leader of the agency, he ought to have immediately taken direct responsibility for the offending ads, and resigned. Even if this crappy work was done by some young, desperate creatives, even if he wasn’t aware of the existence of these ads. Had he done so, Pawar might have walked away into the sunset with some degree of dignity still intact.


Instead, the senior agency leaders’ first reaction was to wash their hands off the mess. Such leaders have to be sacked, no two ways on that. Especially so in the ad world, because scammy, unauthorized ads such as these directly affect the client’s image. It’s only within the global ad frat that the names of WPP and JWT crop up. To the rest of the world, Ford is the offender. Naturally therefore, some blood needed to spill.


Speaking on a larger note, it’s shameful that after all these years of heated discussions on the subject, agency creatives continue to indulge in scam ads to win awards. Hopefully, Pawar’s sacking will result in some change. For one, national creative directors need to start worrying about the kind of culture and values they inculcate within their organizations. If the entire focus is on easy awards, scams will continue to happen, they are inevitable. If youngsters are evaluated mainly on the quantum of awards won, they will be tempted to cheat.


Secondly, it’s high time systems and processes are initiated whereby juniors cannot upload any work that hasn’t been okayed by very senior creative directors. There was a time when young creatives would beg and plead with their media department to get a scam ad released in a lowly newspaper. Now, they just have to tweet it, and it’s out there for the world to see. All the more reason urgent attention needs to be paid to the operating processes, particularly so in large and medium sized ad agencies. One measure I can suggest right away is this: Every single employee needs to sign a declaration that he/she shall not publish anything official on the net without sanction from the national creative director. If they break this rule, they shall get instantly sacked, regardless of the material uploaded.


Lastly, JWT must consider itself fortunate if Ford decides to continue with the partnership. Very fortunate, to be precise.


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2 responses to “#Scamadgate: Anil Thakraney: Pawar had to go”

  1. cagedsoul says:

    I think some amount of this stems from the frustration of the creative team handling Ford work with the mandate to use only real people in all Ford ads. Kind of makes you work with one hand tied.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well said.
    The rot starts from the top where winning awards is a basis to rank office performance. Sadly, the scam business has eroded the respectability of the Ad industry amongst its peers.