Mediaah! Should Ford sack JWT India for ad mishandling? + Cut the Katju!

26 Mar,2013

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

Harsh headline? Should JWT indeed be crucified or should we let the agency off by allowing it to nail a few bachchas and then let the whole thing be forgotten?

 

Yes, before we have someone saying that MxMIndia is shying away from taking on the high and mighty of advertising and marketing, here’s our two-bit, laced with comments from the Twitterati across the world.

 

If the work of posting unapproved ad creatives is the handiwork of some upstart blokes – creative, client servicing whosever – then they ought to be asked to play Holi for the rest of their lives.

 

For those not in the know, BusinessInsider broke the story of ad creatives posted on adsoftheworld.com one of which saw former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi with a set of gagged, wailing women in the trunk of a car. The creatives have since been withdrawn from the creative showcase.

 

The apologies handed out are mere words of regret. It smacks of a cover-up. Ask anyone working in an agency of moderate size and you’ll be told that work such as this can’t not be seen and approved by the client and must have the blessings of the seniors.

 

Okay, so it’s not that people don’t make mistakes. They do, and it would be nicer if the biggies involved were to own up to the act rather than blame kids at the agency.

 

What they haven’t bargained for is that if there is indeed some funny stuff happening, it won’t take too long for it out to be on the social media.

 

One industry captain texted us last evening to ask if there was a Chapter 2 to the Ford story? And added an extra-large smiley. We don’t know, but what we do know is that it could well be the beginning of an all-new story.

 

Meanwhile, check this:

1. The BusinessInsider.com story with the offensive creatives and the apologies from Ford and WPP: http://www.businessinsider.com /awful-ford-figo-ad-silvio-berlunsconi-gagged-women-2013-3 and http://www.businessinsider.com/ford-wpp-apologizes-for-offensive-car-ad-2013-3

 

2. Since it’s not just about Silvio Belrunsconi but also about Paris Hilton and the Kardashian sisters, it also features in Hollywood chroniclers: http://hollywoodlife.com/2013/03/24/ford-kardashians-ad-leaked-poster-paris-hilton/

 

3.  The much respected Slate.com had this damning comment titled ‘Ford India needs to fire its advertising execs’: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/03/22/ford_india_should_probably_fire _its_ad_execs_for_depicting_bound_and_gagged.html

 

4. On Twitter, reactions bordered from the extreme to the moderate. Sample this:

Tom Becktold ‏@becktold: With the Ford/JWT India debacle, check your partner contracts to make sure spec creative cannot be shared. Shouldn’t need to, but..

Louise Ridley ‏@LouiseRidley: JWT India taking serious action after ads featuring Silvio Berlusconi with gagged women in a car boot appeared online http://bit.ly/14jwKYP

Seth Cargiuolo ‏@carge77: RT @rachebrun: Dear @Ford, you have no excuse. your ad is inexcusable: http://mashable.com/2013/03/25/ford-apologizes -for-ad-in-india-kardashians/

<< Ford should sack JWT India, no question.

 

5. There was also some debate. Like this one:

Piyush Pankaj ‏@piyushpankaj: @sshibad u can’t hold agency responsible for this as ad would have passed through various brand managers at Ford India as well

Sunil Shibad ‏@sshibad: @piyushpankaj I think some juniors did it for ad awards. I doubt Ford India even saw it.

 

So did someone say Goafest 2013 is going to be a li’l dry this year given the absence of Ogilvy at the creative Abby? Well, now, there’s going to be a fair deal of action. And we’ll be waiting for that someone to get plastered and talk. Wicked us.

 

Cut the Katju!

Over the last two years, Markandey Katju has become a household name given his various outbursts, all of which have provided much fodder to us in the news media. Often, we’ve even been happy with what he’s said. For, Katju can be expected to shoot his mouth off on anything… and until now he appears to be getting away with it.

 

But, remember, he’s also the Press Council of India chairman. And although the organization has got no teeth and the only print journalists who care much about it are those on its committees, it’s an important position and the Press Council’s role is quasi-regulatory.

 

His appeal to the Governor to let Sanjay Dutt off is bizarre, his arguments are outlandish. Apart from serving the needs of the government to needle journalists and media organizations and providing some comic relief, Katju has done precious little as Press Council chief.  I think his time is up. He ought to go. Doesn’t any little country in South America or wherever need an Ambassador?

 

Pradyuman Maheshwari can be reached at @pmahesh on Twitter and 29fea79c via BBM. The views expressed here are his own.

 

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