Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at JWT India, resigns after a 1 year 3 months with the agency. Pawar confirmed the development to exchange4media. Highly placed sources have also confirmed the exit of Vijay Simha, Vice President & Senior Creative Director at Global Team Ford, JWT.
The series of exits take place after the JWT Ford Fiasco that was termed as shameful and disgraceful by experts globally. Speaking to exchange4media, Bobby Pawar said, “Regardless of how it happened, this was a totally unfortunate event and as the CCO I have the moral responsibility for anything that comes out, authorised or not. As the creative leader of JWT, I apologise for the pain this has caused. In light of this, it is better that we part ways. It was a pretty good year here, we did manage to do a fair bit in a relatively short time. I thank my team for giving it their all and I wish them nothing but the best.”
The wild fire was created by JWT for Ford showing the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi flashing a peace sign with scantily clad women in the Ford Figo’s boot. The controversy is supported with another ad showing Paris Hilton driving a Ford Figo with the Kardashians tied up in the boot and the third one had the Formula One driver Michael Schumacher kidnapping his male racing rivals namely Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. The posters, which were not approved by Ford India’s officials, were posted on the website Adsoftheworld.com but all three have since been removed. Official apologies have been issued by Ford and JWT’s holding company WPP. The brand is facing an image crisis with international publications slamming the incident and dozens of people on social media saying that they will never consider a Ford purchase after this campaign.
In an official statement JWT said, “We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency at JWT. These were never intended for paid publication, were never requested by our Ford client and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the internet. These posters were created by individuals within the agency and did not go through the normal review and oversight process.”
“After a thorough internal review, we have taken appropriate disciplinary action with those involved, which included the exit of employees at JWT. These were necessary steps owing to the direct accountability of the concerned individuals as we work to ensure that both the right oversight and processes are strictly enforced so that this never happens again,” the statement added.
It makes us believe that the agencies need to create awareness among the advertising professionals and monitor every possible work. It is important to review the current awards system which should reward work created for clients that are award worthy rather than just creating work for awards.
Pawar was brought within the agency to fill the position of National Creative Head, which was vacant for the three years since Agnello Dias quit. JWT's Delhi office had Adrian Miller as Chief Creative Officer who quit the organisation in May, 2011. Miller was brought in right before JWT bagged the Airtel business in August 2010.
After roping in Bobby Pawar, JWT India promoted three of its executive creative directors -- Tista Sen, Senthil Kumar and Swati Bhattacharya -- as National Creative Directors. All three NCDs reported to Pawar.
Before joining JWT, Pawar was the Chief Creative Officer at DDB Mudra Group. He has worked for 21 years in advertising with brands such as Jaguar, Kodak and American Express. He started his career with Ogilvy Mumbai and worked with McCann Erickson and Rediffusion before moving to the US. He had also spent about three years with BBDO Chicago before coming back to India in 2007.
JWT has seen the exit of a lot of priced talent in the recent past right from Rohit Ohri, Managing partner at JWT Delhi, who had an outstanding track record and managed almost Rs 100 crore of business for JWT to the ‘Pepsi boy’ Soumitra Karnik, who was the Executive Creative Director and Vice President, JWT and Agnello Dias, the man behind many path-breaking campaigns. The agency has seen turbulent times with the exit of some of the best minds such as Tarun Rai, Anuja Chauhan and Elvis Sequeira earlier.
It clearly raises questions such as: Is this giant ship sinking? Is this a final wake-up call to stop functioning in a callous manner with such big ticket clients? How can the agency cope with these high profile exits and revive the lost fortune? For JWT South Asia CEO Colvyn Harris, the going gets tough to find a partner as able as Bobby Pawar to lead the creative front.