What were  Jack & Jones thinking? Or drinking? Or smoking? When they approved this not just retro, but plain retrograde ad? It blatantly promotes sexual harassment which is illegal in India and in the brand’s home country of Denmark. I’ve said before that brands can’t have morals but they need to stick within the legal framework of their host country.  They also need to know the pulse of their customers and Jack & Jones’ stance that this was an ad done by their Indian arm and that they have pulled it, just doesn’t cut it. The only good thing is that they haven’t claimed their account was hacked or that the agency went solo. The owners of Jack & Jones, Bestseller, sound like nice people – if you visit Tranquebar (home to Denmark’s second-largest fort) you’ll see Bestseller everywhere, as part of the work of their Foundation. As for Ranveer, for a star of his clout/money-power to agree to such an imagery is disappointing to the say the least. I hope his fans don’t think it’s ok to do such ads. And I hope he doesn’t practice what he preaches. I know that movies often depict acts that are illegal in the real world, and unlike cigarette smoking they don’t actually have to put up a warning sign (maybe they should – Kabali supers would be a blast.) The difference is that when similar acts are shown in an ad with a celeb, there is an implicit belief that this is (a) aspirational and (b) the brand is endorsing such acts. The agency for Danish retailer Bestseller India (owner of Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Only) is Marching Ants which seems to have a lot of Bollywood clientele – again, I hope that coming up with an idea in such bad taste is not a reflection of the prevailing culture in that industry. I’d like to believe that Deepika will not put up with such sexism.
This week our Prime Minister has been to Goa, Belagavi, and Pune and more than 93% of people who participated in a survey support the move to demonetize the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. How do I know this? I read it in his weekly newsletter, of course. Prime Minister Modi is fast getting his marketing organization right – a newsletter, an app, a website. I wonder if the database belongs to the office of the PM or to the individual who holds the office. The mailing tool looks pretty cool – 173.38 crore emails sent across 331 campaigns. The best part? It never goes to spam.
In a similar vein I would like to update you that I was in Chennai and Bangalore this week and am travelling to Germany shortly.  Our 5th Annual Great Indian IT Marketing Summit is set for February 2017 in Bangalore.  We’re delighted that ITSMA is our Knowledge Partner this year too, and I’m sure we will all benefit hugely from the learnings of Rob Leavitt, VP, ITSMA, a big picture thinker and strategist, who works on new approaches to build market leadership and stand apart from the crowd.  He leads the ITSMA Thought Leadership Council, oversees a number of research studies and publications, participates in consulting and training projects, and leads the company’s marketing efforts.  We’re introducing Masterclasses this year – 90 minute intensive modules on topics such as Account Based Marketing and Customer Outreach Programs which lead to a certificate. The Marketing Excellence in IT Awards are back too! To know more about participation email me.
I’m all for digital but it seems unfair that I have to pay more for every transaction. Cash is free – paid for by the government – whereas every digital transfer seems to have a variable price tag attached to it. For example, if you book your ticket online there’s a hefty “convenience” charge attached to it – I paid Rs 450 for a ticket price of around Rs 4500.  If you use tools like NEFT or IMPS there’s a cost for that too. The wallets are pretty expensive too – per transaction fees and also a fee to move your money from the wallet to the bank account. Yes, I know, PayTM is laughing all the way to the bank, but the point is you still need the bank.
To check answer to last week’s question “Why did the marketer hire an opthamologist?” click here. Dipankar Khasnabish responded with the right answer. Congratulations! Question for this week is “Why did the marketer break into the chemistry lab?”
Also read the 5 Must-dos for Global Brand Managers to avoid Jack & Jones style disasters.

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