This week’s round up of Good and Bad PR

Good PR

Brand Selfies make for picture perfect PR: Vodafone, Mahindra, Nokia ride the selfie wave

Selfies seem to have taken the brand communication world by storm. In March, PRmoment India reported on the Phillips #StyleTurf contest with MTV India to find India’s most stylish couple. The marketing communication was designed to promote Phillips’ grooming range.

Vodafone will be running the Vodafone Fan Selfie contest for the domestic T 20 tournament. Interesting fan selfies will get a chance to be flashed at screens at the stadium.

Meanwhile, Mahindra has been running what it calls its ‘Sulfie’ contest. Participants have been sending in their ‘sulfies’, i.e. selfies taken along with any Mahindra SUV.

Prizes such as iPADs are up for grabs. According to the Hindustan Times, the ‘Sulfie’ contest has gathered a 1000 selfies over the last two weeks.

Bad PR

Comments by PMO on book on the Prime Minister spark sales for the novel

That Sanjaya Baru, former media advisor to the PM, has written a memoir of his stint called “The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh”, is not news anymore.

Source: Amazon

The comments by PMO’s media advisor, Pankaj Pachauri, have won him what senior columnist Rohit Bansal calls, “The Penguin Prize for Unwitting Promotion.”

According to an article published by Rohit in ‘The Pioneer’, “The first 10,000 copies have flown off the shelves. Also, e-retailer Flipkart has no stocks left. An additional 20,000 are being printed ahead of the coming weekend.“

Great PR for the books and its sales, not so great for the Prime Minister. The issue has received further traction not only due to Pachauri’s comments but also because of the remarks by the PM’s daughter.

Given the serious nature of the comments in the book regarding access of Sonia Gandhi to official files and the mid election timing of the book release, PMO probably had no choice but to react. But it may have been better to fly under the radar or resort to that old political trick, tie up Baru in public interest litigation.

Economic Times takes on group newspaper Times of India on election coverage

Now this is an unusual ad. The ‘Economic Times’, India’s largest financial daily always had strong political coverage called Political Theatre. For this general election (arguably the most interesting election in recent times) ET significantly increased its political coverage. What is interesting is that it came out with this ad on Monday claiming that its coverage was better than its own group newspaper ‘The Times of India’! Take a look at parts of the ad:

Picture Source: Clicked from the Economic Times edition, dated 14th April 2014(Page 5)

As a reader of both the Economic Times and The Times of India, I have to say that ET’s political coverage on a daily basis is definitely better.

But for ET to take out an ad crowing about better coverage than their own group paper? Very, very unusual. Would hate to be a part of the Times of India election coverage team!

Perhaps this is what is known as disruptive innovation?

Dove’s latest effort to go viral with “beauty patches” fails to inspire

I have been a big fan of Dove’s real beauty sketches, including the latest one released at the Sundance Festival in January this year. The January film used ‘selfies’ to redefine a woman’s self-image of what makes her beautiful by exposing selfies of what they thought were their worst features’ to public opinion.

But the latest brand video from Dove that uses fake beauty patches to convince women that they are beautiful is a wee bit condescending. Dove promotes the video on Twitter trends as well.

Frankly I am surprised that women would believe in a beauty patch that would make them better looking. While Dove’s intent is clearly to try and get women to believe in their beauty as they are – this one presumes that women are not smart enough to look through an obvious placebo ploy. The Twitteratti certainly had a lot to say about the ad both good and critical:

Brand communication about women is yet to evolve to truly represent the changes that have come about in women’s lives. Dove, which usually gets this right, strikes a rare wrong note.

Have you seen any good and bad PR? Write to Paarul Chand at or tweet @PaarulC or @PRmomentIndia throughout the week and we’ll happily credit you for your trouble.

If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly event and subscriber alerts.