Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Not much original stuff in digital advertising?

25 May,2017

By Jaisurya Das


Tom Peters wrote his classic ‘Thriving On Chaos’ around 1989 if am not mistaken and I remember being deeply immersed in it during the early 90’s like I was in any book that came my way. This one caught my fancy actually thanks to it’s title and my affinity for the chaotic world…

Ladies and Gentleman, Welcome to Dear MxM, the longest running counselling column for the media, marketing and advertising trade! 

Those of you who are in the trade will know the continuing action surrounding the English news channels and the consortium of sorts that seems to have emerged to take on ArnabGoswami’s Republic TV. It’s interesting how the worst of enemies can together to take on a competitor however weak or strong he may debatably be… 

And Republic TV seem to be ‘thriving on chaos’ and enjoying all this adulation by the hour. Immense coverage, debates, social media posts and huge numbers tuning in ( or so the BARC numbers suggest ) to add to it all. This is quite something isn’t it. They just trigger all this action around, sit back and watch the fun. 

Am not too sure how long the fun will last though, what with the courts stepping in and issuing notices etc but they certainly seem to be getting the eyeballs! For the right or wrong reasons is secondary here. The larger picture is using chaos as a method to grow and build brand and how artistically Arnab is doing this. I must hand it to this man. He has the public attention and so swiftly too. 

As an ardent media watcher am waiting to see how this shapes up but for now, I must focus my energy on perfecting the art of great PR at zero cost aka ArnabGoswami! 

Tip my hat to you for this Mr.Goswami ! 


On that note, it’s time to move on from Republic TV to our very interesting set of questions for this week from the cities of Chandigarh, Kochi and Bengaluru…


Sir, isn’t it shocking that news channels which are supposed to be watchdogs in a democracy are fighting each other. And to think of it, their association took an extreme step without even a discussion on the issue. As a youngster part of a news channel, I am dismayed, but as a friend said, I shouldn’t bother about these things. Your advice, Sir?

Typical of any media war when everyone just jumps in without thinking of the consequences. In my opinion both sides could have ideally had some dialogue rather than just going ahead and punching each other !

BARC exists to do a job and I see where they are coming from on this by going ahead with the results, yet when there is a new baby on the block some amount of dialogue may have helped. At this juncture BARC may not have too much to do with this so-called consortium pulling out and I doubt if they are affected at all since English news channels are a minuscule part of their membership across the country.

I am not sure if this will affect advertising revenues for these channels though as some media pundits predict. Personally I think media planners are smart enough to know which channel is doing well and will place their money there. Viewership data may not always be the decision maker and more so now.

I agree with your friend however and advise you to just absorb all this but stay unmoved. Controversy and fights are part of any large business and media isn’t any different. Soak it all in and enjoy the storm. All will be well my friend!


I am a little dismayed with the kind of work that is being done in a few digital advertising agencies.The emphasis is not on producing original work, but just adapt creative thinking to digital. Or do a banner ad with a funny involving Rajnikanth or Gabbar Singh. I have just done my internship and have 6-8 months before the final placement and I am hesitant about getting into digital directly. Please advise.

Good question indeed! As I see it, this is more a cultural issue starting from the client downwards. All think mainline and using digital is still to a great extent satisfying client curiosity more than anything else.

Clients want to be seen on the medium more because of his competitors presence than believing in the efficacy of the medium. Mainline is almost revered by clients that they often just want the digital agency to do adaptation than fresh work. From what my friends in digital tell me, it’s really upto the agency to break free and come up with creative excellence.

The medium does allow you to get highly creative even with the same objective and though. It allows you far more precision targeting and thus it’s also the responsibility of the digital team to push themselves into great creativity and delivery rather than just end up being a support mechanism for clients’ campaign.

Am not sure if I have been able to guide you on this, but I firmly believe that it is indeed a good space to be in provided you make effective use of the opportunity and push limits beyond what is apparent. All the best to you!


I am an avid reader of books, and as a kid I have dreamt of being a book publisher or work with a book publishing company. But now that I have grown older and am about to graduate, I am confused whether it’s the right profession to be in. Please guide me, Sir.

Tough question! The larger issue here is the death of the reading habit and more so with physical books. Yes, some authors sell and there’s a lot of noise all over but believe me, there isn’t big money coming in for authors or publishers.

Publishers end up making more than the authors in most cases, what with the large margins but the profits are diminishing with the cost of paper that is going skywards. Quality printing requires a lot of investment and the variable costs are unbearably high.

As far as you are concerned, my advise would be to try and intern with a leading publisher and understand the dynamics of the business before you plunge into it as a career. Am not sure at this juncture as to which area you are looking at within the publishing business but some good work experience would certainly help you take a firm decision.


That reminds me, I have a good book waiting and I better get set for my weekend ahead to be able to sit back, sip my beer and soak in some good reading! Awfully hot summer though but I am hoping the met bureau is right for a change and we do see some showers for Pune! 

Well, we all live with hope don’t we ? On that hopeful note, let me wish you all a terrific weekend. Be good, stay safe and take good care of yourselves. Sayonara and God Bless.


Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist, eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also the Contributing Editor of MxM India and Co-Founder of For more on his work visit The views expressed in this column are his own.


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