Mediaah!: 6 answers the industry wants to get

09 Apr,2013


By Pradyuman Maheshwari


(as you read this, imagine it’s Arnab Goswami addressing us on Newshour… the same tone, the same aggression and the same energy!)


Ladies and Gentlemen, we are facing with a situation which almost sullied the image of the grand and trusted empire that Ratan Tata and his ancestors have built. You’ve read elsewhere on MxMIndia on what really happened, here then are some questions that I would like to ask this second Tuesday of April. It’s important the questions are asked because the advertising and marketing fraternity wants the answers. Not just in India, the world over. From New York to Shanghai to Australia!


My questions. Just 6. Simple questions, need simple answers.

1. The Goafest Awards Governing Council (AGC) agreed to give away the award on Friday only – and I repeat only – after receiving a written letter from Tata Chemicals saying the ad was indeed commercially released by the company. Who wrote it? And why did he or she write after initially clearly stating in the letter to the organizers that the radio spots weren’t paid for? What really happened that fateful Friday?

2. How did it occur to Tata Chemicals to send the (revised) letter? Did someone from the 10-odd-member AGC call them? Specifically, did someone from Leo Burnett (LB) speak to anyone at Tata Chemicals? This is no police case or CBI enquiry, but in the spirit of fairness and to allow for investigation and transparency, can we check the cellphone call records of some of the key LB officials present?

3. That the Tata Salt Lite radio spots were scam ads has been exposed. And the spots withdrawn. Do we now have a declaration from Leo Burnett that all the other 67 metals it has won are for ads that are legitimate and paid for by clients and are not scam ads?

4. Leo Burnett is an internationally reputed advertising network. Its Worldwide CEO Tom Bernardin is in fact in the country and was part of Goafest. While sacking people is not the answer, is there some kind of a disciplinary action happening so that other clients of the mighty ad network get the comfort that their brands are in safe hands?

5. Will Bombay House now issue clear and explicit instructions to all its marketing and brand managers as well as its advertising agencies that they must not indulge in scam ads?

6. Should Goafest authorities write to all advertisers and agencies winning metals that in case their awardwinning metals are indeed scam ads, they should return these honourably or stand the chance of getting exposed?


Ladies and Gentlemen. MxMIndia hereby says that it will NOT name agencies and clients who take advantage of such an amnesty. However, those who don’t and have indeed ‘scammed’ and are not giving up their award stand the chance of getting exposed. Because your site will not just report the news, but will also interpret it for you. And your site does not shy away from asking the tough questions.

Mr Sharma has referred to MxMIndia in his mail to the AGC chairman Shashi Sinha saying “a website alluded to this debate with unnecessary insinuations”. He was obviously referring to the Big Story on MxMIndia yesterday. Ladies and Gentlemen, we did not name anyone because we did not have any one on record. But now we do. And now, we are going to ask the questions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you deserve the answers. And we’ll come back with more questions, if they are unanswered.

Until then, goodbye… ta ta!


(Did we stretch our arguments a bit much? Put yourself in the shoes of Arnab Goswami on Newshour, and we are sure you’ll do the same 🙂 )




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