Buisnessworld , 03 Mar 2012, Prasad Sangameshwaran
The hunter becomes the hunted. Adman Piyush Pandey, known for his anti-smoking campaign and a film on the Bhopal gas tragedy, finds himself at the receiving end of a controversy. At the epicentre is a corporate film, ‘Creating Happiness’, that his agency, Ogilvy, made for Vedanta, the natural resources major that stands accused of human rights violations in tribal areas.
The ad, which features a young girl from Rajasthan who has benefited from Vedanta’s community initiatives, is believed to be the brainchild of Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal’s daughter Priya Agarwal, who works at Ogilvy. The ad would have escaped activists’ radar, but for a competition that Vedanta ran alongside the 90-second ad, inviting young film makers to make films on the company’s social initiatives. Two of the three jury members of the competition — actor-activist Gul Panag and veteran film maker Shyam Benegal — have resigned, claiming that they were unaware of Vedanta’s association with the campaign. And Pandey, the third jury member, has become the target of online activists, who posted ‘spoof’ ads on Facebook, showing Pandey with the caption “I’m faking happiness, are you?” Online activists sent appeals to I&B minister Ambika Soni to prevent the ad from being aired. And a counter competition inviting young film makers to create ‘faking happiness’ ads has been launched. “We are mixing issues that neither me nor the activists are qualified to make a judgement on,” is what Pandey, executive chairman, Ogilvy has to say on the debate.
(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 12-03-2012)
I was asked to reply Piyush Pandey’s comment and I did but was not carried in the story , so here is my reply
Which issues are being mixed and where ? A clear case of playing with peoples emotions by projecting the messages in a stratigized campaign to fool people into believing what it shows,a documentraish branding, patronising our history and poverty.It is an aggressive attempt at classical conditioning from a company whose brand recognition has been closely connected to its questionable practices in precisely the kind of tribal areas where this ad claims it is ‘creating happiness’ and just look at the selected jury, Gul Panag and Shyam Benegal, the socially conscious celebrities in the world of cinema, who were actually kept in dark, that its a VEDANTA PR EXCERCISE There is something called professional ethics, I hope Mr Pandey knows that very well, so act of keeping jury in dark was totally unethical . The Films in creating happiness are produced by Vedanta , funded by vedanta, and telling people what great work they are doing, Its like judging own production , and using the filmakers to say what vedanta officials wanted to say, but could not as no onE would have then believd them obviously .
- FTII’s only entry withdraws from Vedanta’s Creating happiness (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Vedanta -Creating Happiness? Certainly Not in Puri (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Open letter to Participants of Vedanta’s Creating Happiness (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Benegal pulls out of jury on Vedanta-promoted film competition (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Open letter to Shyam Benegal on Vedanta’s Creating Happiness (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Faking Happiness- Spoof Ad Competition (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Piyush Pandey and the Vedanta open letter (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Open letter to Piyush Pandey on Vedanta’s “Creating Happiness” (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Open letter to Piyush Pandey on Vedanta’s “Creating Happiness” (icrindia.wordpress.com)