In Jest | Sanjeev Kotnala: Sir Martin’s Secret 7 Steps for Encounter with Arnab

18 Aug,2014

By Sanjeev Kotnala


MARTIN Vs ARNAB promises to be an interesting Reality Shadow Boxing Show. Live today at 3:30pm at ITC Grand Central, Lower Parel. Mumbai.


Sources in WPP and IAA requesting anonymity tell us: “A lot went into ensuring Sir Martin Sorrell (SMS) 69, CEO, WPP to agree to converse with Arnab Goswami (AG), the 9pm dude of Indian television. It’s a great combination and a must-watch for the audience. Hope AG does not tone down his usual theatrics.”


AG the sport that he is was willing to grill SMS risking his future. You don’t know what Martin buys next. IAA convinced him that Martin is no Rakhi Sawant or Lalu and could not guarantee TRPs at 9pm. ‘Frankly Speaking with Arnab’ was out of question. Hence the 3:30pm slot with a live audience.


It started with the head of one of the Martin’s many companies pushed by the polite tall gentleman of IAA approaching Martin for the Encounter. Who is this Arnab Goswami? Is he head of some media business that you guys want Martin to meet was a natural question raised by SMS’s secretary.


Primary research over the Net revealed AG, born 1973, writer of missing-from-the-racks ‘Combating Terrorism’, is an Indian journalist + Editor-in-Chief + News anchor of ‘Times Now’ and primarily responsible for all the Noise at 9pm. He has 21K+ likes on his Facebook pages (FB does not count Hates). While ‘NATION WANTS TO KNOW’ is his pet verse, truth is AG already knows and decides what and how much the nation should know.


This was insufficient information for SMS who believes in knowing the ememy. WPP India team was directed to provide a complete dossier incuding list of Youtube videos to watch. Due to conflicting views, SMS finally made his own assumptions. Child’s play, he uses the same technique for understanding any thing Indian, including the economy.


For the last seven weeks, SMS been preparing for the Encounter wrongly named Conversations. And here is the exclusive step-by-step action of the 7-week preparation programme.


Step I: Watch Youtube videos and track social media on AG. Avoid polarised performance vedios with Rahul Gandi and Modi.


Step II: Practise raising voice. AG loves a fight. SMS went to the best, he has been coached by Thirumurugan Gandhi who holds the record for outshouting AG.


Step III: Dodge questions on Economy, FDI and cross-media ownership.  Fighting AG is a waste of time. Polite conversations will be the best weapon. AG after all is ill experienced to handle politemess and logic.


Step IV: Build immunity to shouting.  With no body to shout at him, this was identified as the weakest point. Now, SMS is expected to  allow AG to shout when he breaks down the discussion to few limmited  focussed points, without  bothering if he was stating things out of context. Right context. WPP Generals have informed him audience would love it.


Step V: Carry no notes. Sit straight. No gestures. Head must always be held above AG line of vision this makes AG nervous. Only AG can hold paper and bang the table or raise his voice shouting ‘The Nation wants to know”.


Step VI: Shuffle through recnet past. Read all your past comments. Articles- interviews and even the SMS and Whatsapp messages. AG is bound to bring something from your past that even you may not remember.


Step VII: Minor details major impact. AG is known to wear suit with white shirt. SMS been advised to stick to light pastals. SMS expected to avoid Dark Red and sit facing North. AG is allergic to anything Red or South. If he reports in wearing just shirt and trousers, be on guard, this is his style of trapping you.


The two parties agreed on a NO-DISCUSSION LIST.


Point 1: Salary and Copensation. SMS Total calculated compensation 2013 was 2.98 crore GBP. SMS is staunch supporter of salary hikes for CEO and Board members.


Point 2:The failed merger of Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group. It is old news.


Point 3: Need for media measurement. Both WPP bosses IAA and the publication houses has warned AG on it.


The tall gentleman from IAA been extra-cautious. No playing ‘My Funny Valentine’ by Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, especially the trumpet. It is known to change SMS’s mood. Deva oh Deva or ‘mai doll hu peetal di‘ is not allowed as AG natural instincts get charged and errupt out of context, just like some of his debates.


Media Punters taking bets on (1) How late will the programme start  (2) How long will Martin last (3) How many times will we hear ‘The Nation wants to know’ ( The audience wants to know would qulify) (4) How many non-planted questions will be asked. *Conditions apply.


No bets are being taken decibel level beyond perisible limits. Punters do not take bets on facts – truth and near certainty.


Disclaimer: Late update reveals that it’s going to be mellowed down AG taking in equally polite SMS. With no satellite beam and lack of people to switch and noute; Arnab is expected to show his other side that audience will hate to love.


If you are on Twitter, just go ballastic at the conversation


Sanjeev Kotnala is Head Catalyst, P1P2Solutions. The views expressed here are his own


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