I don’t know about you, but I enjoy playing pranks on All Fool’s Day. So, whether it’s sending out pretend mails from my Outlook mailbox to colleagues to despatching colleagues to cover a fake press conference, I’ve had fun every April 1st. We take ourselves so seriously in the business of media – whatever be the size and scale of our organisations – that we forget to poke fun at ourselves and celebrate our existence. The humour in our work lives has of course been impacted by the slowdown and the crunch on spends. But it is not too bad to laugh out loud for a few minutes.
In the news business, you often find newspapers attempt doing a fake story on Page 1 that finally leads you to the confession of the gentle prank. So, what are the All Fool’s Day fake stories I would do and wish would turn out to be true? I could think of several things that I would like to see happening, but here are some that come top-of-mind. In no specific order:
April Fool Joke #10: 9X finds a suitor, Peter Mukerjea gets a new benefactor
You don’t need another me-too channel, but then since it is already in existence, it’s good to see that the original investors have found an exit route. Meanwhile, Peter Mukerjea finds himself a new benefactor in a media giant that is currently headless.
April Fool Joke #09: Newspapers up cover price. Times/HT/Hindu/DNA now priced at Rs 10; ET/BS/Mint at Rs 15
The Indian Newspaper Society steps in to convince the leading newspapers of the country – including regional biggies like The Telegraph, Deccan Herald, etc. – to participate. Some low circulation newspapers may be exempted from the move. Regional papers to follow suit.
April Fool Joke #8: Pitch fees become mandatory for all accounts above Rs 5 crore
At long last, the so very united honchos of advertising agencies decide to make a 1 per cent pitch fee mandatory for all accounts above Rs 5 crore.
April Fool Joke #07: Salaries back to pre-cut/2009 levels
With the recession over, and no liquidity crunch in existence, media owners have decided to bring back salaries to 2009 levels. Also: there will be appraisals in April 2010, and variable pay is back!
April Fool Joke #06: Channel owners fight carriage fee
Channel owners have finally decided to jointly fight the carriage fee payment norm of the television signal carriers… this includes an indefinite boycott of payment of carriage, which they hope will bring the carriers to the discussion table.
April Fool Joke #05: News allowed on FM radio
The government finally allows news on FM radio. The I&B Ministry was petitioned by radio channel owners asking them to allow it to further boost the business of the medium. Sources tell us that this was the first time media owners made such a strong pitch for news on FM.
April Fool Joke #04: DAVP rates hike permanent
With the elections over and government departments not advertising their plans and achievements as much, newspaper owners have urged the government not to reduce the rates at which the Directorate of Audio and Visual Publicity releases all advertisements.
April Fool Joke #03: Lowe sends entries for Abby
The team’s advance plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Lowe’s decision to stay away from the Abby will now have to be killed. Bossman Balki will send entries for Goafest 2010.
April Fool Joke #02: And, now, Abby for creative excellence in unpublished work
Goodbye, fake ads. There’s now no need to insert ads for cobblers, masseurs, tailors, raddiwallahs, etc. The Advertising Club Bombay has finally decided to include a special category for unpublished work. Hurray!
April Fool Joke #01: Times shuts Medianet, no editorial guarantee on Treaties
Although many people who would have otherwise not merited any coverage in Bombay Times/Delhi Times, etc., are very unhappy about it, Times has shut its Medianet division. Also, those signed on under the very successful Private Treaties programme have been told that there will be no guarantee of editorial plugs just because the Times Group has picked up stake.
Note: I have deliberately tagged the April Fool Joke to each headline, because as regulars of fake news site, ‘The Onion’, will tell you, very often search engine crawlers could pick these up and spread ‘disinformation’.
Personally, I would like to read all of the 10 banners above adorning our space soon (with different, more sober descriptors of course, and not what I’ve written against each of the fake headline).
(The views expressed here are my own. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you agree/disagree with what’s written.)