Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Levy and WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell don’t exactly get on and now Le Grand Maurice has aimed a painful kick in the creative goolies at his old enemy by hiring defenestrated JWT India creative Bobby Pawar as the new CCO of Publicis Worldwide in South Asia.
Pawar fell on his sword at JWT when it emerged that a rather controversial ad featuring bound and gagged female celebs in the boot of a Ford Figo car (left) should not have been entered for the Goafest creative awards.
That was the official story anyway; until it emerged that Ford execs had signed the contentious ads off even though they were designed for awards rather than an eager public.
Pawar is a legend in Indian creative circles it seems and the commonly-held view in what we Brits still call the sub-continent was that JWT/WPP had panicked somewhat (Ford execs in Detroit were not best pleased) and made him carry the can for what was fairly common business practice.
PG’s Levy is competing hard with WPP to be the biggest and best Western interloper in Asia so his move for Pawar (left) ticks most of the boxes. Did WPP do the wrong thing by not standing by Pawar and co?
It’s tricky: in a crisis you either act swiftly (as they did) or wait for the storm to blow over (Alastair Campbell reckons most stories have ten days’ shelf life, then the world moves on – not that he did any such thing with his feud with the BBC over its Iraq War coverage).
Anyway, Maurice Levy will be pouring himself a nice glass of Petrus this evening.