Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: My agency is dishonest with a client. Should I blow the whistle or grin & bear it?

04 Aug,2016

By Jaisurya Das


So, things can happen quick if need be… I remember the time I was setting up my Consulting Company in 2003 and decided to register it as a Private Limited Company. It took us well over a month-and-a-half to have our incorporation in place..

Yes, I am yet another Citizen of this Country who heard that the PM has instructed all the authorities to speed up approvals in order to make life easy for new businesses. As always, my Partners and myself were sceptical about the efficacy of the system and believed all this to be pure propaganda.

If am not mistaken, our CA submitted requests for Title Clearance for the new venture around July 12, 2016. The clearance was received within 24 hours… flukes happen.

Friday, the 28th of July, our CA uploaded Stage 2 for Company Registration and applied for Incorporation. Weekend so nothing would happen, we were sure. August 1, Monday and we have the Certificate of Incorporation from the Registrar of Companies. I am still reeling under the shock of this efficiency.

Something is obviously working…

No, this isn’t paid PR. I am honestly impressed with the way things are moving and if this is the speed at which authorities are going to function, then India is probably going to witness sea change.

I am just hoping that this percolates to every window an Entrepreneur and Citizen has to visit. India must shine and its important that all of us give credit where its due. Somewhere I believe, that there isn’t any better motivation than public recognition of efficiency and service…

As for now, my respect for the PM and his manner of work have grown manifold. India needs this!

On that note of gratitude to the system, I take you straight to our questions this week from Mangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon. Read on…


I am due to retire in eight years from now. Unfortunately, I haven’t risen very well in life and do not have a great bank balance. All the money is in the PF after thirty years of selfless service in the advertising industry. I currently live in Gurgaon, but last week’s traffic mess and water-logging has disillusioned me so that I want to return to my hometown Mangalore. But is there enough scope for advertising there? Please advise.

Thank you for writing in to Dear MxM. I can understand your concern since infrastructure is a major bone of contention in most cities today. The deluge in Gurgaon and the resultant damage is a typical example of the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities with respect to infrastructure.

In fact the situation is as bad in several cities of our country and people react only when there is an emergency. Having said that, Mangalore is still a good mix of the old and new with fairly decent infrastructure.

However I must confess, that besides a handful of local agencies, there isn’t much happening out of this market. This is primarily because most of the advertising is headquartered out of Bengaluru. While there are some active clients in Mangalore, their marketing communication is most often handled by a Bengaluru agency.

However, this may also be a good opportunity for you to set up something on your own and scout for new business. There is always place for a good enterprise. And why limit yourself to advertising…?

There could be so much more..

I suggest you visit Mangalore for a couple of weeks and study the market well to help you crystallise your plans well before, you finally move back.

I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.


I trust this will be kept confidential. I find that the agency that I work with is dishonest with my client. Simply put, we are overcharging them. I tried making my bosses see reason, they said “get real”. While my conscience says I should blow the whistle, do you think I should just grin and bear it?

Hmmmm. This is an unfortunate malaise that we see a lot off nowadays, with clients being given a raw deal. One needs to see both sides to be honest. Kickbacks and under-the-table commissions and payoffs happen as well. Often the client has a rotten apple in his backyard and this is where it gets worse.

There is little you can do by blowing the whistle. You will lose your job and it’s highly unlikely that the client is going to compensate you for this. I know this sounds inappropriate but at this stage of your career, it’s best not to attempt cleaning dishonest fabric in the business!

Focus on your work, and start looking around for a more professional environment where unethical practices is abhorred. There is no excuse really. It’s disgusting and I would ideally like to have all this exposed, but this isn’t the way you need to shape your career at this point of time. Yes, whenever you leave, do tell them that it is this dishonesty that you cannot accept.

There is nothing to fear. Good craft will find its space and am sure you will find a good professionally managed agency soon. There is no shortage of such well-run outfits. It’s just a few that give the industry a bad reputation. I wish the nodal bodies get more active in smaller markets and weed out this culture. This is what needs to be done.


I am good in both Hindi and English, but need to choose a language as I get into a career in journalism. The numbers are big in Hindi, but the $$$s are bigger in English. Please help me take a decision.

Ah, this is always a huge dilemma… English or Vernacular! It really depends on your interests and writing persona. Both are equally good and today vernacular media is growing too. The Hindi press is more or less stable and it can certainly offer you a good career.


Yes, it’s true that English media pays better. In my opinion this has a lot to do with the image of the medium. English media are most often better marketed and also end up getting a lions share of the advertising pie. This in turn allows them to spend more on staff, marketing, production etc.

It’s a mindset issue, but unfortunately this won’t change in a hurry. The strong western influence adds  to the divide and the big moneys get spent on English media especially print.

I am biased and hence may not be giving you the flipside, but if i were you,

I would take English provided, it’s a sound environment you are working with. Look for a place that offers sensible learning and is content led. Tough to find nowadays but yes, you will, if you look hard enough.

You are likely to get better breaks as you go along, given some good formative years in the English press. This is the rule of the land. Strange land we live in, isn’t it?

All the very best to you, my friend. Be well.


I am a student of PR, but I am unsure if I should get into a PR agency or corporate communications. What should I do?

You should ideally finish your PR course and then worry about this 🙂

But, yes, since you ask, both are good careers and offer a plethora of opportunities given your academic foundation. PR is an industry that has grown fairly steadily and has now gone beyond getting editorial coverage for clients.

In fact, the line between marketing and PR is getting blurred by the day. Brand consulting is becoming an integral part of the business. I reserve my view on the prowess of a lot of the PR professionals when it comes to citing edge brand custodianship but that’s a different matter totally.

As far as you are concerned, both these options can work well and it would be best to do short internships and then take a call. Once you are in that environment you will build perspective.

I suggest you work towards getting some assignments in both these areas, find your comfort zone and then focus your attention on getting the right break

All the best to you!


Ladies and Gentleman, as always sincere gratitude for the faith you have in Dear MxM. Our raison d’être is you and nothing will change that. We belong here and will do our little best to help you navigate and find method in the madness we live in…


Have a wonderful weekend and take great care of yourselves. Keep those questions coming on Be sure to superscribe the subject with ‘Dear MxM’ and the ‘City’ you call home.


Sayonara. Be well.


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