Campaign India Team
Jan 25, 2010

Anant’s blog: DAVP – the disaster that was waiting to happen

I’ve been following the brouhaha (what a wonderful word) over the ad released by the Ministry of State for Women and Child Development that featured a photo of ex-Pakistan Air Force chief Tanvir Ahmed.How did this happen? How on earth did no one notice this super disaster as the communication was being created?No time needs to be spent worrying about this. We all know the answers; this was a disaster waiting to happen.

Anant’s blog: DAVP – the disaster that was waiting to happen

I’ve been following the brouhaha (what a wonderful word) over the ad released by the Ministry of State for Women and Child Development that featured a photo of ex-Pakistan Air Force chief Tanvir Ahmed.

How did this happen? How on earth did no one notice this super disaster as the communication was being created?

No time needs to be spent worrying about this. We all know the answers; this was a disaster waiting to happen.

The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, the government body responsible for both the creative and the media plan, is a law unto itself.

It decides to award accounts and businesses and projects to unheard of advertising agencies based purely on whims and fancies. Actually it is based on other considerations, but, since one cannot prove it, one cannot write about it.

How is it that the government of India entrusts important communication backed by large budgets to a host of incompetent agencies? They’ve been doing this for decades – ever since the DAVP was born – and have gotten away with it.

This instance, with the Prime Minister’s Office being forced to tender an apology to the nation, should be a wake up call. They need to stop this nonsense of evaluating and empanelling agencies based on ridiculously crude and subjective parameters which are open to favouritism, cronyism – and corruption.

The advertising industry, the professional, non-DAVP bit of it, is accountable and responsible. If such a disaster had affected say, a TATA brand or an Aditya Birla Group brand, the agency concerned would have had to forgo all costs – media and creative. Perhaps they would have been sued as well for damages.

That’s what the Ministry of State for Women and Child Development should do. Stop all payments to the agency concerned with the creative. Send them a debit note and recover the fortune that would have been spent on all the full page ads. And sue them for damages.

And use this as an opportunity to re-look at how the DAVP is run. And rewrite the rules that govern the DAVP.

Or, what the hell, shut the damn thing down.

Source:
Campaign India

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