What and Who Makes the Cut?
- IPL spot-fixing case: Net widens, police watching 3 more players, other bookies
- IPL 2013: Imperious Brad Hodge powers Rajasthan Royals to qualifier
- Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan Singh slam BJP for disrupting Parliament, stalling bills
- IPL spot-fixing: 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief's son-in-law, say cops
- Jessica Lall case: Shayan Munshi to face perjury trial
Fashion PR and fashion journalism. Do they interact in ways that the line of editorial control is often draped over? Does Indian fashion journalism have to be mostly innocuous?
In the mid-Nineties, Anita Roddick, owner of The Body Shop and angel of eco-friendly beauty, hired a powerful legal
team in Britain to weed out critical media stories about her
company. The fear of that legal onslaught made Vanity Fair kill
journalist Jon Entine's brilliant investigative piece on The Body Shop's unethical practices. Titled The Stranger Than Truth Story of The Body Shop, it was eventually published in Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot To Print (2004) edited by David Wallis. Entine's story brought home the fact that lifestyle journalism wasn't just gloss; it could reveal the dark side of a top brand.
Few such stories appear in the Indian media. Here, lifestyle journalism switches between exaggerated hype and pliant reportage. Often, it is the stuff of press releases, "released" in lavish surroundings at wine-and-sushi press conferences; swayed by the promise of luxury gifts sent home; or on other occasions, seduced by a front-row seat at Milan Fashion Week or a trip to Los Angeles.
"PR rides on the W factor: wine, women and wannabes. Everything
seems fair in this game. Doctoring or fussing up a piece of news, creating events where none exist, writing columns for designers or the script of their interviews with journalists, fixing reviews and pacifying either side when required," says Anshu Khanna, founder of Delhi-based PR firm Goodword Communications.
Twelve to fifteen major PR firms operate in Delhi and Mumbai, the two cities soaked with "media events", and represent clients in lifestyle, décor, fashion, luxury and hospitality. To keep a restaurant, a designer, a luxury brand or an art gallery in the news, they manufacture what they call "innovative" strategies. Essentially, it is working out a marketing matrix that benefits all clients. So, a global luxury brand hosts an event with a fashion magazine; an art gallery owner with a fashion designer; a restaurateur with a painter. Booze and venue is sponsored as the sponsor invariably gets "coverage". Everyone goes back pleased and the media returns with a "story" — sold by the PR army as a "great" idea. There are people, says Khanna, so keen to be seen on Page 3 that they pay Rs 15,000 for a photo.
- Fixing probe now reaches Bollywood, son of Dara Singh held
- BCCI cashes Pune Warriors guarantee, 'disgusted' Sahara walks out of IPL
- Sreesanth spent Rs 1.95L on clothes, bought friend BlackBerry, paid in cash: Police
- Delhi firm with MoD as client is linked to Pak cyberattacks
- After Infosys, iGATE sacks Phaneesh Murthy for sexual misconduct
- 2 weeks after harassment, Haryana schoolgirls return, cops in tow