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Good and Bad PR: Bold Care ropes in Saas-Bahu serials and porn star Johnny Sins, Taylor Swift almost make it to the moon

We already have a Worst PR of the Year (yeah, beyond Bad PR) candidate, and we're only in February. The jury is still out on whether the client or their creative agency got it handed to them worse, but more on that later.  

Good PR: 

Bold Care 

The men's sexual wellness category can be a real banana skin (pun very much intended). By combining a cringe Indian TV soap narrative and one of Bollywood's best comics with one of the world's most meme-able porn faces, Bold Care boldly went where no brand has gone before. But maybe this can be categorized as the 'Cred-ification' of a message that breaks every rule in the brand book. When the message becomes the most talked about media on social for days, you know the message has transcended context and medium. In a world with a meme for everything, creating a cringy skit to get the message across and dominate visibility makes for healthy brand ROI.  It's a scream, do watch.



Bad PR: 

Paytm Payments Bank 

Another month, another Indian startup poster child gets schooled with a rap on the knuckles. . Paytm Payments Bank gets a deadline (Feb 29) looms to wind down their core business. Hurrah for leap years, I guess? Paytm (the holding company) has participated in the nationalistic fervor storyline for a few years now. Remember the full-page ads the morning after the demonetization announcement? Quite a fall from grace, or should we say good books of policymakers. The erosion of shareholder value for one of the few listed Indian startups, inadvertently creates a textbook cautionary tale for Indian startups on the fast track to growth - choose your inspiration wisely. 

Good PR: 

Swiggy 

Brands put together some great UnValentine's campaigns this Feb 14. Swiggy decided it would uphold the honor of love but changed the narrative with a beautiful twist. Now, any millennial or GenZ who has tried to assist their boomer parents with technology will attest that it's a ridiculously foolish endeavor. It's impossible that Mr. and Mrs. Mehta have so much rizz. It's a crazy accurate depiction of the empty nest syndrome. A love story told through the eyes of the customer segment that struggles to use your app the most, with deep cultural immersion and dollops of humor - win, win, win!  


Bad PR: 

Poonamgate 

Is there merit in wasting more digital real estate to state the obvious? Logic died a tragic death in that ideation room. But we continue seeing things crumble long after the disaster campaign began. MSD, the Indian affiliate of the pharma giant Merck, has cut ties with Schbang, the folks behind the campaign. Those who have watched Nightcrawler will relate to the following analogy. In the movie, the search for gorier gore (videos) to boost the newsroom TRPs resulted in some very poor decision-making by the protagonists.  

Similarly, creative brain centres can suffer from the suffocating search for virality. Every boundary probably gets pushed, leading to poor brand consultancy. Truly the 9/11 of poor brand PR. But they should take solace from the fact that Poonam came back from the dead. They’ll have to repeat the trick to resurrect their creative credibility.  

Good PR: 

Swift... I mean the Superbowl! 

Math time! $7 million for a 30-second spot, 50 minutes of commercial runtime. Easy peasy, $700 million squeazy. Done and dusted for CBS (official broadcaster) at the Superbowl. Or should we say, #SwiftBowl? One thing we must hand to the Americans: they love a spectacle. And they bloody well know how to set them up. The era-defining music artist of our time is cheering her football (American) boyfriend from the VIP stands with the Hollywood A-list in attendance. New Beyonce music drops during the game. The country waits with bated breath for the winning sports superstar to take a knee (so many tangents here) and propose to the music superstar—every brand's wet dream. Poora paisa wasool! 





Shoeb is the director of brand content at Ideosphere Consulting. He loves helping brands and business leaders articulate their value better.

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