Zen Mobiles ups marketing spend by 50 pc to Rs 75 cr

In a bid to target urban audience, Zen Mobile has earmarked an amount of around Rs 75 crores as its marketing budget for 2011…

Preeti Hoon 23-March-2011

Zen Mobiles ups marketing spend by 50 pc to Rs 75 cr

Zen Mobiles, launched in 2010 with a pre-determined thought of tapping the rural segment, has now shifted gears in terms of advertising and positioning to reach out to the urban segment and the metros.

The latest TVC series by the brand evidently depicts this decision. The first TVC rolled out looked specifically for the rural consumer that could relate with the iconic Amitabh Bachchan speaking their desi language, while the recent campaign to promote ‘shortcut keypad’ feature has been given a 360 degree turnaround in terms of storyboard and presentation.

Bates 141 is the creative agency for Zen Mobiles, while the media mandate is with Prabhatam Advertising.

Smarth Bansal, Head - Marketing, Zen Mobiles, explained, “The shift has been intentionally done to revamp the brand imagery and make Zen a brand in metros and key urban towns.”

Speaking exclusively to exchange4media, Zen Mobiles brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan said, “It’s a pleasure to be able to partner a mobile brand which has been acting as a conduit of change in the mobile handset segment by churning out excellent quality phones at affordable prices. The exquisite repertoire of mobile handsets launched over the past few months has taken Zen Mobiles to its quintessential juncture with improved technology with great style.”

On being asked about the reason for choosing to endorse the mobile brand, he replied, “I have always associated myself with brands which have over the years been successful in winning the trust of people and in which I could pose my faith without having any iota of doubt. Zen Mobiles is such a brand, which believes in quality along with incorporating the best of new age applications at affordable prices, thus providing consumers a superior product with constantly improving features and services.”

The current TVCs on air are for M111, touted as India’s first Triple GSM phone, and M26, India’s first full multimedia shortcut phone, where Bachchan, using a local language, tries to convince the masses to become more fast in life by using shortcut phone of Zen Mobiles.

On the growth of the mobile industry in India, Bansal remarked, “Mobile handset industry in India is the biggest growth story for the country, probably at par with IT, but I believe it has still a long way to go. The consumers in urban India are evolving not by the day but by the hour and are constantly demanding handsets that can match their pace to ease the increasing complexities.”

Bansal believes that the rural market has a lot of potential for the mobile brands. “The rural market, which is still largely untapped, demands products that offer basic functionality along with some eye-catching features at competitive prices,” he pointed out.

While new entrants in the Indian mobile market continue to flow in, Bansal is of the opinion that the larger pie will only be occupied by the big players in the category. “Eventually, the handset market will consolidate to an extent as it will be a story of survival of the fittest. There will be some clear big players emerging and others will only be able to continue in smaller pockets of the country. This is because this industry requires constant investment into strengthening product, R&D and the market strategy. Most players would not be able to sustain the level of response time and the speed and flexibility demanded by the mobile industry,” he noted.

And as the market has responded as per expectations, the brand is pumping in more money to make its presence felt through its various marketing activities. “We have increased the marketing budget for year 2011 by 50 per cent due to overwhelming response from the consumers. The budget will be around Rs 75 crore for this year,” Bansal concluded.

Zen Mobiles is competing with new entrants like Lava Mobile, Micromax Mobile, Karbonn Mobiles and Maxx Mobile. The average marketing budgets for these companies range between Rs 60 crore and Rs 70 crore, whereas the established players like Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson spend anywhere between Rs 150 crore and Rs 200 crore.

 

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Media ACE Awards 2018: Photo Gallery

The 4th edition of the e4m Media ACE Awards 2018, was held on 16 October 2018 in Mumbai

exchange4media News Service 15 hours ago

MediaACE

The exchange4media Media ACE Awards recognizes Indian Media Agencies and their People for their work and their contribution to the Industry. 

Here are some snapshots from the event:

Raj Nayak, Chief Operating Officer, Viacom18 (left) with Avinash Pandey, Chief Operating Officer, ABP News at the e4m Media ACE Awards 2018

Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO Madison Media (left) with Avinash Pandey, Chief Operating Officer, ABP News at the Media ACE Awards 2018

Avinash Pandey, Chief Operating Officer, ABP News with Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network

Avinash Pandey, Chief Operating Officer, ABP News with Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World

Harit Nagpal, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Sky Ltd, addresses the audience at the Media ACE Awards 2018

Panel discussion: (L-R): Ashish Sehgal, Chief Operating Officer, Zee5, Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Capital, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO Madison Media, Raj Nayak, Chief Operating Officer, Viacom18, Shashi Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, IPG Mediabrands, India and moderator Paritosh Joshi, Principal, Provocateur Advisory.

Prasanth Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Mindshare, South Asia, Africa, MENA (second from right) receiving the 'Agency Head of the Year' award

Prasanth Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Mindshare, South Asia, Africa, MENA

Nandini Dias, CEO, Lodestar UM, India, speaks after winning the 'Agency of the Year' award

GroupM wins the 'Network of the Year' award

'Network Head of the Year’ award  (L-R) Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder & Director, exchange4media Group, Anurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, Harit Nagpal, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Sky Ltd, and Avinash Pandey, Chief Operating Officer, ABP News 

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network speaks after winning the ‘Network Head of the Year’ award

2018 Media ACE Award winners: (L-R): Gopa Kumar, Executive Vice President, Isobar, India, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect India, Rajiv Dingra, CEO, WATConsult and Shekhar Mhaskar, VP, Digital Creative & Services Division, Isobar India 

 

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Piramal Capital & Housing Finance launches new brand campaign, 'Bada Socho’

The campaign embodies Piramal Capital & Housing Finance’s commitment to enable customers to transform their dreams into reality by embracing a new way of life - ‘Think Big’

exchange4media News Service 15 hours ago

Piramal

Piramal Capital & Housing Finance (PCHF), the wholly owned subsidiary of Piramal Enterprise Limited, announced the launch of its new brand campaign, ‘Bada Socho’ (Think Big). The campaign highlights the ethos of the Piramal Group and PCHF - its financial services business, to create long term value for all its stakeholders. Therefore, the essence of the brand campaign is PCHF enabling customers to pursue their goals and transform their dreams into reality by embracing a new way of life i.e. ‘Think Big’.

The campaign also brings out PCHF’s expertise across diverse sectors as a key differentiator in the industry and its ability to partner with businesses across the value chain - from the promoter to the end customer. ‘Bada Socho’ is a brand promise highlighting this unique partnership model that allows our customers to pursue their dreams as we support them in their journey. 

Speaking at the launch, Khushru Jijina, Managing Director, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance said, “We are excited to launch our brand campaign ‘Bada Socho’, across our target markets - Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune. This 60-day campaign highlights our expertise in the market while showcasing our approach to do business. Our brand promise encourages our customers to ‘Think Big’ as we extend our support by partnering with them respectively in achieving their goals whether it is to buy a new home or grow their business.”

Campaign Brief
The strategy is to reflect the ethos of the Group at large with a specific relevance on the financial services business. The campaign helps establish ‘Bada Socho’ conveyed through messaging that talks about this mind set. A series of creatives help deliver this message in the context of the brand’s different business verticals viz. housing finance, real estate finance, emerging corporate lending, corporate finance group and capital markets & advisory. Visual imagery that is positive, confident and focused lends a strong character and maturity to the campaign. The campaign will run across OOH, radio and digital for the duration of 60 days targeting Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. The messaging will start with brand and then move on to the housing finance communication being retail. The sustenance of the campaign will be supplemented by leveraging on transit/commute and digital platforms. 

Credits:
Creative: TAG Vinnatti
OOH: Posterscope
Radio: Vizeum
Digital: ARM Worldwide and Yellow Seed

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We are focused on providing a seamless digital journey: Ankur Kansal, Jaguar Land Rover

Kansal, Brand Director, Jaguar Land Rover India, spoke about ‘The Above & Beyond Tour’, how Land Rover uses experience to communicate its brand story and driving strategic brand objectives

Misbaah Mansuri 35 minutes ago

AnkurKansalLandRover

Jaguar Land Rover recently completed its 70th anniversary globally. Throughout its journey in India, the brand has gained quite a following in the country and is only stepping up its game, as we go foward. At the helm of the brand's growth is Ankur Kansal, Brand Director, Jaguar Land Rover India who chatted with exchange4media on ‘The Above & Beyond Tour’, how Land Rover uses experience to communicate its brand story, driving strategic brand objectives and how it leverages CRM system, social media channels, and digital targeting. 

Edited excerpts below: 

What was the starting point of ‘The Above & Beyond Tour’ and why is it of the essence?

‘The Above & Beyond Tour’ is a series of drive experience events that are organised with Land Rover vehicles and allow customers to test the true capability of the vehicles under challenging off-road conditions. As such, these events allow us to bring the brand closer to our customers. For any brand to have a sustainable future it is important to build trust and credibility and we do this by delivering the experience events in a safe, authentic, relevant and engaging manner. This also helps us in differentiating the Land Rover experiences. Further, the experience is highly engaging as the customers actually get to drive the Land Rover vehicles over the chosen terrain, while the Land Rover Experience Instructor only guides the customer.

The most important factor, however, is relevance. Given, the road conditions one encounters in India on a day-to-day basis and the unpredictable weather systems that may result in water-logged city roads, ‘The Above & Beyond Tour’ demonstrates the capability of Land Rover that lends itself perfectly to overcome these challenges. The first such drive experience event was conducted in India in 2013. When we started in 2013, of course, it was limited to a few events in the top cities in India. Since then, we have expanded the reach of ’The Above & Beyond Tour’ to Tier II and III cities across a variety of formats. We have smaller formats that we use via mobile terrapods, training programs where customers get to drive several models of Land Rover and then we have international expeditions. The main objective is to maximise reach and take our brand as close as possible to the customers.

How does it impact the brand funnel?

‘The Above & Beyond Tour’ has the potential to positively impact the entire brand funnel i.e. from creating awareness, building brand appeal to driving consideration. As such, to check the effectiveness of our experience events, we not only seek to measure the sales conversions but also measure impact on the brand, and we are convinced that ‘The Above & Beyond Tour’ has effectively conveyed the Land Rover brand story to our customers, thus providing a positive impetus to the brand. To further maximise the impact from these events, we curate content and leverage it across social media platforms, thereby extending our reach to a larger set of customers. As highlighted earlier, we closely monitor inquiries and customer feedback that we receive post the events as well.

Is there any activity specifically to promote‘The Above & Beyond Tour’ and ‘The Art Of Performance Tour’?

We rely on our CRM system, social media channels, and digital targeting to promote our events. Further, we leverage our strong network of retailers, who have built strong and engaging relationships with our current and potential customers. On-ground amplification via PR and social media is also deployed to popularize and maximize the reach of our experiential events.

In terms of prominence, which of the two mediums holds more importance for Jaguar Land Rover – television or digital?

The choice entirely depends upon the objective of the campaign e.g. at the launch of a new product, driving awareness might be the objective and hence use of television, if done appropriately, will help meet the objective. However, in case the objective is to build immediate demand, then certain targeted digital actions will provide a more cost-effective solution. Having said this, the relevance of Social Media channels must be acknowledged, regardless of the objective of the campaign, even though the social media channels lend themselves better to driving strategic brand objectives rather than tactical ones. Overall, the media mix will depend upon the objective of the campaign and of course the available budget.

 What distinguishes brand Land Rover from its competitors?

Land Rover is known for its ‘go anywhere’ spirit – designing iconic vehicles with genuine capability and composure at their heart.

What is your digital marketing strategy?

For us, digital and social media are very significant; we are focusing on providing a seamless digital journey, from the discovery of our brands and products to booking vehicles online. As such SEM, SEO, programmatic targeting, etc. are part of our digital strategy and we have a well-defined action plan for each of these. We also have extremely engaging online booking platforms, findmeacar.in for Jaguar and findmeasuv.in for Land Rover, which may be used to search and book, a Jaguar or a Land Rover vehicle of choice. Further, you would have seen our latest campaigns on social media, ‘Discovery with a Purpose’ and ‘Land of Land Rovers’. Such content is extremely effective in delivering the relevant brand stories and we do intend to continue our focus on this aspect.

 What according to you are the challenges with operating in the luxury auto segment?

The size of the luxury auto segment in India is fairly small in comparison to the overall passenger vehicle market, and hence finding a luxury customer is like finding a needle in a haystack – extremely challenging. Besides the media landscape, relevant to the luxury auto segment, is changing quite rapidly, especially in digital. And thus, it is imperative to keep the marketing plans dynamic and flexible. We are continuously seeking to create new brand touch points via digital and on-ground initiatives, evaluating them and then tweaking our plans for optimizing the output.

Unified digital communication is a big challenge, so how are you measuring your digital campaigns and their effectiveness?

In today’s cluttered media space, understanding the impact of any campaign or communication is extremely crucial. For any campaign to be successful, it is important to define the objective and success measures e.g. if the objective of a campaign is to achieve a particular sales number, then it is extremely pertinent, to look at sales conversions. However, if the objective is to drive awareness and familiarity, then we focus on parameters such as reach, website visitors, time-spent, etc. We have a very robust CRM system and complete integration of our CRM system with our digital channels. This enables us to track the impact of any campaign that we undertake.

 What would be the way forward in terms of the brand's marketing and communication plans?

We have campaigns planned to meet the various brand and sales objectives; specific details of these will be known as we activate these campaigns. At the moment, we have our festival season campaigns on and we do intend to continue focus on ‘The Above & Beyond Tour’. In terms of content, we have had success with ‘Discovery with a Purpose’ and ‘The Land of Land Rovers’ and are in the process of exploring new content opportunities along similar lines.

Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Misbaah reports on advertising industry. Based in Mumbai, she interviews industry leaders in the creative, advertising and marketing space, reports news updates in the ad space. She drives the ‘Chillout’ section, and regularly reviews ad campaigns. In the past she has reported on mainline news, travel and lifestyle.

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LG Air Purifiers partners with Laqshya Media for outdoor campaign

The campaign, carried out at Delhi and Bangalore Airports, commenced on October 1, 2018.

exchange4media News Service 16 hours ago

Laqshya

Laqshya Media has bagged the prestigious mandate of conceptualising and executing the outdoor branding campaign for LG Air Purifiers. The campaign, carried out at Delhi and Bangalore Airports, commenced on October 1, 2018.

According to the agency, the main aim was to attract multiple audiences who travel via flights during this festive season.

Laqshya Media installs over 312 digital screens at all terminals of Delhi. The LG Air Purifier commercial was displayed in the digital screens where the commercial used 1/3rd of the space whereas the rest of the space is utilized to display Live Air Quality Index (AQI). Laqshya’s scope of work also comprised displaying the product placement and branding in premium plaza lounges; out of which 2 of them were displayed in Bangalore and 4 of it in Delhi. The product is strategically displayed at the food joints and near smoking rooms at Delhi Airports which includes 9 units at Terminal3.

Commenting on the campaign, Amarjeet Singh Hudda, COO, Laqshya Solutions, the agency arm of Laqshya Media Group, said, “It’s an immense opportunity to manage and execute the outdoor branding campaign for LG Air Purifier. The brief was well-defined, and it definitely helped us understand the brand, which helped in building outdoor branding communications for LG Air Purifier. The campaign attained high visibility for the brand and attracted lakhs of throngs in and around airports at Delhi and Bangalore. The team seamlessly worked hard and dedicated round the hours to deliver the best for this campaign.”

Youngnam Roh, Director Home Appliances & Air Conditioners- LG Electronics India, said "Health and hygiene are key concerns of consumers and they are looking for solutions to improve the same. Air quality has been of pressing concern for consumers, based on this insight we have developed the latest LG air purifiers, with PM 1.0 Sensor. This distinctive feature purifies even super-ultra dust particles from the air.”

“We wanted to create an experiential marketing platform and Laqshya media has always shown great expertise in outdoor marketing with their campaigns. We wanted to create an eye-catching installation and believed that Laqshya will fit the bill perfectly. The installation of the air filter by Laqshya Media Group, at Delhi and Bengaluru international airports has now become one of the biggest indicators and has given us an opportunity to celebrate our brand with our customers,” Roh said.

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Media ACE 2018: GroupM wins the coveted ‘Network of the Year’ award

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO - South Asia of Dentsu Aegis Network was awarded the 'Network Head of the Year'

exchange4media News Service 16 hours ago

GroupM Media ACE 2018

At the fourth edition of Media ACE Awards, GroupM took home the coveted ‘Network of the Year’ award.

Commenting on the win, Prasanth Kumar, CEO Mindshare South Asia, Africa and MENA, said, "I want to thank the jury for awarding us the Best Agency of the Year and Media Agency Network of the Year. It’s truly a fabulous day for us and we are very humbled that the jury and everybody recognises that a lot of effort has been put together to get the best of clients and partners. It's a big moment for all the people in GroupM, Mindshare, and all the winners."

The category award was judged based on the parent network and collaborator that played a pivotal role in development and enhancement of its reputation in the industry, by providing holistic marketing and communication assistance like content creation, digital advertising, proprietary tool development and other essentials. The winner was selected as per the Jury’s discretion.

GroupM has won this award for two consecutive years now. 

The awards held on October 16 showcased award-winning work for the period July 2017 to Aug 2018. Media ACE recognises Indian Media Agencies for their contribution to the industry and the professionals behind the growth of these agencies. 
 

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Media ACE 2018: It's been an amazing journey: Ashish Bhasin

Dentsu Aegis Network’s Ashish Bhasin bagged the ‘Network Head of the Year’ award

exchange4media News Service 18 hours ago

ashish bhasin mediaace

The e4m Media ACE Awards initiative recognizes Indian Media Agencies and their People for their work and their contribution to the Industry. The recently concluded fourth Edition of Media ACE Awards showcased award-winning work for the period July 2017 to August 2018 and people who played a significant part in shaping the media landscape in India.

In the ‘People Awards’ category, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Ashish Bhasin bagged the ‘Network Head of the Year’ award. This award is for the Head of a Parent network who has contributed critically towards delivering premium service, stimulating growth of the organization and enhancing the industry at large.

While receiving the award on stage, Bhasin said, “First of all, I would like to give thanks to the jury, Nawal (Ahuja) and Anurag (Batra) for this honour. It's been an amazing journey. It started with 45 people to 3500 now.”

Speaking on the win, Bhasin later said, "It's an honor and privilege to be selected as the Network Head of the Year and the credit of all this goes to the fantastic network of the 3500 professionals that I lead. I want to thank the jury and everyone for selecting me."

 

 

 

 

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BARC Week 40: Lizol takes the spot in Top 10 Brands

In the Top 10 Advertisers list only Amazon.in forayed at third spot; there was no other e-commerce portal apart from them

exchange4media News Service 1 day ago

BARC

In the list of BARC Top 10 Brands for Week 40 (September 29-October 5), Lizol reclaimed to the top with 14,023 insertions.
Santoor Sandal and Turmeric and Amazon moved up to second and third spot with 13,431 and 12,819 insertions respectively.

Flipkart again made an entry at fourth spot with 11,094 insertions. Trivago and Mahindra Marazzo slipped to fifth and sixth spot with 10,579 and 9560 insertions. Honda Activa 125 and Total Hi-Perf entered at the seventh and eighth spot with 9414 and 8856 insertions respectively.  

Dettol Toilet Soaps entered the category at ninth spot with 8803 insertions, whereas Dept of Women and Child Development slipped to tenth spot with 8795 insertions.

In the same week, in BARC Top 10 Advertisers list, FMCG brands Hindustan Lever and Reckitt Benckiser continued to lead at the top two spots with 1,17,018 and 1,11,113 insertions, respectively.

Amazon Online India and Procter and Gamble India climbed to third and fourth spot with 34,028 and 31,392 insertions, respectively. Wipro, SBS Biotech and Brooke Bond Lipton India entered the category at fifth, sixth and seventh spot with 23,607, 21,504 and 18,901 insertions respectively.

Cadburys India slipped to eighth spot with 18,715 insertions. Colgate Palmolive India and Ponds India are other few brands which forayed at ninth and tenth spot with 16,790 and 16,770 insertions respectively.

 

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We are looking at a turnover of Rs 500 crore in the next six years: Jiggy George, Mojostar

Jiggy George, MD, Mojostar, shares some insights about the performance-wear market and how Mojostar is looking at the category

Ruhail Amin 1 day ago

JiggyGeorgeMojostar

Mojostar is fast emerging as one of the leading performance merchandising brands in the country. According to Euromonitor, the total size of the performance wear market is Rs 44,000 crore and India presents a big opportunity for the segment.

With celebrities such as Tiger Shroff and Jacqueline Fernandez on board, Mojostar is already on its way to leverage the immense opportunity that this market offers.

In an interview with exchange4media, Jiggy George, Managing Director, Mojostar, shares some insights about the performance-wear market and how Mojostar is looking at the category.

Would it be right to call Mojostar a celebrity-driven brand?

I don't believe we are a celebrity brand. How we approach the business is little different. Our objective is not to take a celebrity and build a brand with them; it is to look at white spaces. We look at opportunities that exist which are untapped, for example, most performance wear brands in this country are just focused on men.  And, if they serve women, it’s a very pinkish, ‘skimpish’ strategy-- that if I make it for men, I make it smaller for women. 

Once we identify the white space or gap, then only do we look at the roster of stars which most authentically drive that promise.

What is the size of the performance wear market and what kind of market share are you looking at in the next few years?

The entire performance-wear space is a Rs 44,000 crore market, according to Euromonitor, growing at a rate of 20 per cent and the top players are just 10 per cent of the market. So there is massive headroom for more brands. We are looking at a turnover of Rs 500 crore in the next six years. 

You already have Tiger Shroff and Jacqueline Fernandez on board, by having celebrities on your side, does it make brand building easier?

We are very aware of the fact that if you only look at the celebrity and not care about your product, this is not going to be long-term at all. The biggest advantage of having a celebrity on your side while building a new brand is that you tap into their huge fan following, this phenomenon is particularly popular in the west, for example, what  Kayne West has done with Adidas and what Michael Jordan has done with Nike is commendable. So it is a model that works. Jacqueline and Tiger are both partners in the business and they both hold equity in the business, so it is their brand as much as ours.

What are some of the biggest hurdles for the performance wear category in India?

Building brands is a long, hard process overall. In our case, we look at the world of retail through a media and entertainment lens, primarily because we have been a lot in the media and entertainment business. At this moment, the challenges in this category continue to be the retail spaces and distribution. Right now we are exclusively available on Amazon and we have our own websites which have a very decent reach, almost 45 per cent of the traffic that comes to our website is organic.  In the coming time, our big focus will be on our offline presence and we would like to opt for an omnichannel approach when it comes to market strategy. 

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iProspect India adds KFC India to its kitty

iProspect India has bagged the SEO, paid media and digital mandate for the e-commerce business of KFC India, and will be handled from the agency’s Delhi office

exchange4media News Service 1 day ago

KFC India iProspect

Digital performance agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, iProspect India, has bagged the SEO, paid media and digital mandate for the e-commerce business of KFC India. The American fast food restaurant chain’s account will be handled from the agency’s Delhi office.

Commenting on the win, Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect India said, “The growth in diversity of the client sectors in our portfolio is always welcomed. We are pleased to partner KFC in their growth journey.”

On the association, Moksh Chopra, CMO, KFC India said, “Our partnership with iProspect comes at an opportune time as we increase our focus on digital performance marketing. We are confident that our brand marketing strategies, coupled with iProspect’s expertise, will yield great results for KFC India. We look forward to a fruitful association with them.”

Founded in 1997, iProspect India is a part of the Dentsu Aegis Network. It offers brands an entire spectrum of result-oriented digital marketing strategies. 

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Indian Women's Press Corps issues a joint statement on MJ Akbar

In a Press statement issued by Press Club of India on behalf of journalist organisations, the Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, has been asked to step down and face the probe

exchange4media News Service 2 days ago

Me too

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and raising deep concerns over the overwhelming complaints of sexual harassment in the media industry, Indian journalist organisations have demanded an impartial investigation into such issues. In a Press statement issued by Press Club of India on behalf of journalist organisations have asked the Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, to step down and face the probe.

Akbar, a former newspaper editor, has been accused by more than a dozen women journalists of sexual harassment. He issued a stern defence of himself through a statement and called them “false, baseless and wild allegations”. He went a step further, and filed a defamation case against Priya Ramani, the first journalist to have spoken up against him. The minister's lawyers mentioned that the posts of Ramani were written with a 'sole ulterior motive of maligning the reputation and political standing of the Complainant, in furtherance of her own vested interests and underlying agenda'.

Many victims and activists expressed shock and disappointment at Akbar’s actions, while multiple journalist organisations issued a statement against the minister’s comments.

Here is the full text of the statement issued by the Press Club of India:

We the undersigned journalist organisations have been deeply concerned over the overwhelming complaints of sexual harassment in the media. We recognize that sexual harassment at the workplace is a worrisome reality and that media organisations and managements have been unable to put the systems in place which would have ordinarily addressed complaints of sexual harassment.

We are also deeply disappointed at the statement issued by Mr M J Akbar, Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs. Wherein he has threatened legal action against all those who have alleged they were harassed by him. Mr. Akbar is a senior functionary of the government and his response should reflect the responsibility that is thus bestowed on him. There can be no dispute about the need for an impartial probe into all the complaints without fear of threat or intimidation to the complainants - and this acquires particular significance if one of the accused is an influential minister in the government. In the interests of a fair probe, moral and public propriety, it would only be appropriate that the minister step down from his post till such time as the inquiry is completed. We are disappointed that Mr. Akbar did not choose to take this step instead of threatening the complainants with legal action.

An impartial probe should be conducted into all the complaints without fear of threat or intimidation to the complainants more so as the accused party is an influential minister in the present government. We also feel that in the interests of a fair probe, moral and public propriety, it is only proper and appropriate that the minister step down from his post till as such time the probe is completed.

Sexual harassment at the workplace is a pervasive phenomenon. It has continued with impunity despite the enactment of a tough law to prevent, prohibit and redress it, the inability of women to speak out about such harassment needs serious introspection and redress. We hope that employers in media organisations and the government will look into this with the seriousness it deserves and not treat the incidents as motivated complaints.   

- Indian Women's Press Corps, South Asian Women in Media, Press Association, Press Club of India


In a recent development, Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, Creative Head, Happy mcgarrybowen is now facing allegations of sexual harassment during his stint at JWT. A statement released by Dentsu Aegis Network said -

"Over the weekend, certain incidents have been brought to our notice involving an employee of Happy, which alleged to have occurred during his tenure with his previous employer. We have already initiated an enquiry to verify the same with his previous employer.

Dentsu Aegis Network does not and WILL NOT accept anything but professional behaviour at our workplaces and follows a Code of Conduct that sets a high standard of behaviour we expect of our people. We have a zero tolerance policy towards any kind of harassment at our workplaces and any such incidents that are brought to our attention will be investigated and necessary action will be taken in line with our company policy."

Following the investigation, Dasgupta posted on his Twitter handle:

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