Campaign India Team
Jul 23, 2019

Ogilvy global crisis brings India political links into focus

Ogilvy's global CEO, John Seifert uses India as a case in point during an internal discussion with employees on the US Customs and Border Protection crisis

Ogilvy global crisis brings India political links into focus
The ethical dilemma in handling the US Border Control has brought the agency's work for political campaigning in India into focus.
In a chat with employees in early July, the transcript which was first published by Buzzfeed, global CEO, John Seifert draws the attention of his global workforce to the agency's political campaigns in India. In the 2019 general elections, the agency had worked on the campaign for political party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Addressing a question from one of his employees on human rights violations, Seifert said, "We serve political parties in India, where thousands of people die every single day based on a lack of clean water, food, all the rest of it. Should we have no advocacy in India for certain one political party, one politician versus another. If I went and said to our India team: 'You are supporting — whoever you pick, basically — but a political choice that has human consequences' and they would say 'Yes, we are and we think that there is a trade-off that is worth making and we're prepared to make that argument, that case'."
He added, "So my point is just, the company, you all individually have to make choices based on what you believe the situation to be and you have every individual right, God-given right and the country's given right, to go exercise it. As a company, what I am saying is we make choices with a different set of filters that we have to evaluate. And in this particular case for the assignment we're working on and for that agency and what they are trying to do in totality is our judgment so far, not without ongoing monitoring, so far that we have, we are making the right choice in the very short term, to not violate our contract and stick by them and do what we're doing and see where we go."
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