Good and Bad PR 3 minute read
Breathe free and rack up PR brownie points with Suzlon‘s Pure Air Lovers Society (P.A.L.S)
Creative stakeholder engagement by wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon gets thumbs up from Great PR this week. The alternative energy firm interacts with people on the issue of wind engagement, through the community site Pure Air Lovers Society or P.A.L.S. The site provides an air quality index of the four main metros in India: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkota and Bengaluru. Once you get over the shock that none of the four cities are in the safe/low air quality, you have to appreciate the effort that has gone in to create an engaging concept around the value proposition of the company of clean energy.
Once you sign up and pledge to go green, P.A.L.S promises to plant a tree, so just by registering you get to earn some green karma. You can also sign up for an alert to get your PUC (Pollution Under Control) certificate updated and also look at various environment friendly activities such as tips on car pooling, calculating your carbon footprint, locating green vendors and suggestions on effective waste disposal. An air quality index widget is also available if you want to add it to your page. A great campaign, which could push the envelope a little more in terms of mainstream profiling of this effort, keeping in mind the pressure that the Companies Bill is going to place on companies to show their social conscience.
Coca Cola’s new ad: making a virtue out of a necessity?
Coca Cola’s drive to script a health-related narrative for its product, resulted in this commercial in the US, which everyone is already calling an anti-obesity ad.
An interesting act to pull off for a company that’s core proposition is based on encouraging people to guzzle sugar water.
This new narrative by Coca Cola flags off issues like its effort to display the calorie count of a drink, to reduce portion control and offer juices, low calories drinks and water at school. This campaign, currently aimed at American audiences, has sparked of a raging debate about the attempts by a fast food company to create a heath-related value proposition. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman called it both brilliant and deceitful, other food experts called it "desperate”.
Why does the fast food debate matter for India? A survey conducted by AC Nielson last week shows alarming obesity rates in urban India, as per this report nearly 40 per cent of the total obese population of the top 11 cities is on the upper edge of morbid obesity, with Body Mass Index (BMI) over 50. Hopefully Coca Cola will roll out similar ads for India as well.
While the role of sugary drinks in obesity is a scientific reality, it will be interesting to see where Coca Cola goes with this campaign. Will they succeed in overcoming the basic irony of a fast food company pushing the health agenda and scripting a new story for the brand? Or will it go the tobacco products way, a relic perhaps seen mostly in Mad Men episodes.
Watch this space.
Bollywood goes the corporate survey route to pique interest around a movie premiere
Bollywood film Inkaar premiered last weekend, and it included an interesting PR stunt to create a buzz around the Arjun Rampal-Chitrangada Singh starrer.
The story centres around an unusual topic for Indian film : sexual harassment at the workplace. This led the producers to commission a country wide survey to assess how people behave at offices in similar situations. Spending 2 crores on the survey as per this story, producers Viacom 18 attempts to tie in actual survey data around a serious topic, is quite a first for Bollywood.