CNN-IBN is the PR winner this week after running a negative story involving investor

Good PR

CNN-IBN displays some smart PR by covering a negative story about a major investor in the channel

Arvind Kejriwal has accused the country’s Petroleum minister Veerappa Moily and the owner of the country’s largest oil and gas company, RIL’s Mukesh Ambani, of colluding to raise the price of gas. In an unprecedented move Kejriwal directed that FIRs be issued against Moily and Ambani.

While the legality of the instructions is still being debated and Kejriwal has managed to again corner the lead headline, all eyes were on CNN IBN and whether they would cover the story or not. Reliance and Mukesh Ambani is a major investor in the Network 18 group that owns CNN-IBN.

CNN-IBN did cover the story, albeit with a very carefully picked panel of commentators, including a speaker from Reliance funded foundation. The lead in story, ahead of the discussion, was slanted in favour of Reliance, but I have to say they did cover it. Not covering the story would have only served to inflame the sentiment around CNN–IBN, already facing allegations of being pro BJP. As well as their star anchor, Sagarika Ghosh, being told to refrain from anti-BJP remarks on her Twitter handles.

However, as the gas pricing story will remain a running story for a while, it would be interesting to see how CNN –IBN handles ongoing coverage.

Reality Show ‘Mission Sapne’ ropes in Bollywood and cricket stars for offline activation

Imagine you want to get your hair cut by a barber at a salon-and the person doing the cutting is Bollywood bad boy Salman Khan!

In an interesting offline activity, the marketing team of an upcoming reality show ’Mission Sapne’, got Bollywood and cricket stars to take up some every day ‘Aam Aadmi activity’. The reality show, that is expected to go on air on Colors in March/April, puts celebrities in the shoes of everyday people and raises money in the process.

According to India today, Salman turned a barber in aid of a
physically challenged barber, Qurban Ali, from Delhi.

Film director Karan Johar, clicked pictures of tourists at the
Gateway of India in Mumbai

Cricket star Harbhajan Singh, sold biscuits on a scooter

Sony sells waterproof MP3 player inside a water bottle

What better way to demonstrate a waterproof MP3 player, than inside a bottle of water. Sony, with the help of their Auckland-based ad agency DraftFCB, came up with a unique PR stunt to sell the product in New Zealand.

The MP3 player was sold in a vending machine, inside a bottle of water!

Have a look at the video:

Bad PR

Urban Development secretary complains that Chidambaram humiliated him at a meeting

It seems that the coming elections have taken away the usual caution displayed by bureaucrats. According to the Indian Express: “Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna was said to have complained to Urban Development Minister, Kamal Nath that Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, who hails from Tamil Nadu, humiliated him at a meeting saying he (the minister) did not understand his English.”

The story says that “sources”, at the meeting have said that the finance minister only asked Krishna not to speak in Hindi as he does not speak the language too well.

Either way the country has been treated to the unedifying sight of a wrangle made public.

Many feel that the Congress parties’ nervousness about the election is showing; recently senior journalist, Vinod Mehta, likened the Congress to the Titanic.

Penguin India gets flak for withdrawing book on Hinduism by Wendy Doniger

 As part of a settlement with a fringe right wing group, "Shiksha Bachao Andolan”, Penguin India has withdrawn the book "The Hindus: An Alternative History” by American writer Wendy Doniger. Penguin India has also agreed to pulp at its own cost the remaining copies of the book.

The "Shiksha Bachao Andolan" had objected to terming the epic ‘Ramayana’ as a work of fiction, the book’s psycho-sexual content had also drawn the ire of the right wing.

Penguin India has received heavy criticism for its move, seen as a move against freedom of speech. Critics also feels Penguin is pandering to the fringe right elements in India.

Godrej Appliances V Day campaign is very unimaginative

This one is for all of you who are fed up with the mush overload of Valentine’s Day.

Adding to the gooey puddles all over Valentine’s Day is Godrej Appliances. With an eye on V Day, the company is running a campaign encouraging tweeples to share the dishes they would make for their loved ones:

I am also fairly confused about the company bio on their Twitter page:

Still to figure that one out!

Sushma Swaraj makes a racist remark while trying to defend north east Indians!

Sigh. The elections are bringing out the worst in many politicians. Leader of the opposition for the BJP, in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, spoke out last week in Parliament about the problems people from the North East of the country faced in the metro cities and towns of India. So far, so good.

And then she spoils it all by saying: “People with flat noses are as much Indians as those with sharp ones."

A senior leader such as Swaraj should be certainly aware of what she is saying. As India becomes more open – driven by social media – everything about us good and bad is on display. Including our decidedly racial streak.

The death of Nido Taniam, a youngster from Arunachal Pradesh, in a beating in South Delhi has led to a charge by politicians, with a firm eye on the upcoming general elections, to display their secular credentials.

I think they should think before they speak.

Have you seen any great or even bad PR?

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

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