‘Amby’ drives off the competition in this week’s Great PR

Great PR

The Guardian lets you log in as Republican or Royalist to see more or less of baby news

Agreed, that by now, you are probably overflowing with baby news.  But can’t resist sharing this one. If you go to the homepage of the Guardian newspaper, on the right side you will see a button you can toggle to log in as either Republican or Royalist. The latter gets you all the royal baby news you want, the former get you well, less, baby news.

Neat stunt. Now if only ‘The Times of India’ could develop a similar button for Modi vs. Congress and Modi vs. Rest of the known world!

Amby drives past the competition in taxi face off

Most Indians of a certain age are very familiar with the Amby, or ambassador. This rotund car was the symbol of government power, childhood memories of pushing the car before it would start, a car big enough to pile in family and friends and of course the sign of an approaching  ‘kaali-peeli’ ride (from the yellow topped ambassador cabs in India).

In a face-off organised by Top Gear, the humble ‘amby’ beat off competition from a Russian stretch limousine to the Mexican Volkswagen Beetle, German E-class Mercedes and even the British black cab to win the title of the wold’s best taxi.

Parle G ropes in Ruskin Bond to write up PR

Parle G, India’s largest selling biscuit, already has a campaign that ties up children and the value of curiosity. Extending this message further, Parle G now has celebrated children’s author, Ruskin Bond, as a blogger on their site.

Ruskin Bond, who draws up evocative pictures of children and animals, is a good fit with Parle G’s aim to nurture future geniuses.

It’s also good to see something beyond a mindless stunt, which might actually get young children to pick up a book and read.

Parle G has been consistently coming up with campaigns to extend the ‘genius’ link with the brand. Earlier this year, Parle G ran a “My Kid a Genius” campaign that invited parents to showcase their kids’ eureka moments.

Bad PR

Congress workers shut down Mumbai eatery by force for criticising UPA government on its bills

Here’s the story: the owner of a popular eatery in Mumbai, printed a message on the bills saying, “As per UPA govt eating money (2G, coal, CWG scam) is a necessity and eating food in AC restaurants is a luxury.”

This, naturally, was a message that the Indian Youth Congress could not stomach. Members of the youth wing of the Congress, which is headed nationally by Rahul Gandhi, soon swooped down on the hapless restaurant owner and forced a shutdown.

The eatery has since reopened, minus the message on the bill and the Mumbai police has registered a non-cognizable offence under Section 501(Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the IPC against Srinivas Shetty, owner of the Aditi Hotel at Parel.

Well, the Congress has certainly not done itself any favours. In a city well known for the often aggressive and irrational political action by parties such as the Shiv Sena and MNS over trivial issues, the Congress has now shown it is no different. This too in an election year.

What is heartening to note is that people turned up in large numbers to eat at Aditi Hotel, to lodge their protest against the Congress party action.

Hospital authorities booze the night away under guise of a tribute to Uttarakhand flood victims

In the early years of my career as a journalist, in the early nineties, I remember attending a press conference in New Delhi by one of the UN organisations on the state of children. While, officials, shared the report, glasses of wine and plates of kababs did the rounds. Most of us were appalled at the insensitivity of circulating party food while discussing the state of children’s wellbeing. This story appeared in several papers, including the ‘Economic Times’. This incident was an early lesson about the power of image management.

And now it seems that a condolence meeting for those affected by the devastating Uttarakhand floods, turned into booze, music and food party. As per a mid-July story in India Today, senior officials and district hospital authorities of Shahjehanpur paid tribute to those tragically affected by the floods in a rather unique way. First, they held a two minute silence from those affected by the floods and once the token homage was over, it was on to a night of drinking and eating.

Apparently sad Bollywood songs, with Devdas being a top choice, were also played. The state government has since suspended the Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS) of the hospital.

Black farce, this one.

Have you seen any great or even bad PR?

Write to Paarul Chand at paarul@prmoment.in or tweet @PaarulC or @PRmomentIndia throughout the week and we’ll happily credit you for your trouble.