#scamadgate: 10 Questions for JWT, Ford & Bobby Pawar

28 Mar,2013

 

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

When the history of modern Indian journalism will be written, one is sure it will have a rather long chapter on Arnab Goswami. On his ‘bhashans’ at the beginning of Newshour, his questions – the answers to which, according to him, the nation wants to know – and his style of interrogating his guests…

 

Pause for a bit, shut your eyes and imagine it’s Monsieur Goswami who’s speaking aloud. Note: speaking, not screaming.

 

So, eyes shut. 19 seconds.

 

Here goes:

 

Hello and welcome to this bright and sunny day in Mumbai.

 

Last week, a leading US publication found the creatives of a Ford ad to be offensive and raised a stink about it. As the controversy erupted, Ford’s agency in India – the redoubtable J Walter Thompson – sent in a letter to the Advertising Club withdrawing its ads from the Creative Abby, the Oscars of the advertising creative business in India.

 

Since the controversy has been raging, both JWT and Ford have issued a series of statements. JWT has also terminated the services of two of Indian advertising’s brightest stars – Bobby Pawar and Vijay Simha. Pawar is managing partner and chief creative officer, the No 2 man at the agency owned by British media magnate Sir Martin Sorrel’s WPP. Reportedly some juniors working on the account have also been sacked.

 

So here we are, ladies and gentlemen. Ten questions, the answers to which the industry wants to know. For, if we don’t nail the real people, the reputation of our Indian advertising and marketing fraternity will be forever tarnished.

 

Question 1: Why are Bobby Pawar and Vijay Simha being made scapegoats when Ford India had okayed the entry of the creatives?

 

Question 2: Firing Messrs Pawar and Simha and some juniors was an easy way out for JWT as it appears to be encouraging fake ads. Does Sir Sorrell’s advertising empire have a Code of Ethics on scam ads? Does JWT have a policy on ‘scams’?

 

Question 3: Shouldn’t Colvyn Harris as the head of the agency, and not Bobby Pawar, have been the fall guy, if there was to be one?

 

Question 4: Agreed it’s tough for awards organizers to nab scam entries when they are eligible as per rules, but why aren’t the industry bodies and associations able to build a consensus on fake ads? Why do marketing managers push agencies for awards for their brands?

 

Moving on to Ford

Question 5: While Ford has apologized, the controversy snowballs as we learn that it’s not about some creatives being uploaded on adsoftheworld.com. They were entered for the Creative Abby and the entry required a signed approval from the client. Who signed the letter? Did the marketing head see the controversial ads?

 

Question 6: The sacked employees and their families have gone through a torrid time. Are these the ethical standards that Ford has internationally? If Ford India is equally liable why sack these creative folk of JWT?

 

Question 7: Why is Ford India taking so much time on its internal probe? Is a cover-up being hatched or is it genuinely taking so much time to find out who approved the ads.

 

Question 8: Does Ford have a policy on scam ads?

 

And I have a few questions for Bobby Pawar:

Question 9:  You have hinted at saying that you didn’t see the ads or they didn’t bear your approval. Who did it then?

 

Question 10: Do you think you’ve been wronged, especially since your leadership at JWT – India and Worldwide and your client – as in Ford – are allowed to go scotfree. Do you think the agency ought to have stood together on this rather than have you and a few others pay the price?

 

These are questions we ask in this very special comment on Your Site.

 

We sent these questions to JWT, Bobby Pawar and Ford in the early hours of Wednesday. Ford’s PR head responded to us promptly with a stock quote. JWT and Pawar didn’t respond. Meanwhile, there are rumours that Bobby Pawar may be retained by JWT as a consultant.

 

As of now, Ford and JWT are not parting ways… in India or elsewhere in the world. But the answers, ladies and gentlemen, we must get, as otherwise the industry will not sleep tonight. And for the next issue we are raising this March 28, should Pakistan be…

 

Chill. No discussions on relations with Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Australia here. Meanwhile, more on #Scamadgate elsewhere. Arnab Goswami, zindabad!

 

Post a Comment 

2 responses to “#scamadgate: 10 Questions for JWT, Ford & Bobby Pawar”

  1. Raghu says:

    Bobby Pawar and all others have been made scapegoats. They should be reinstated immediately, or at least after a month or so when people forget the issue.

  2. Raghu says:

    Asking the adworld to rid itself of scam ads is like asking for a large city to be crime-free. Won’t happen.

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