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Idea in soup over ‘paperless’ ad
Published on 18 Mar. 2010 12:11 AM IST
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Mobile services operator Idea Cellular’s ‘use mobiles, save the planet’ campaign, starring Abhishek Bachchan, has landed in a Your mobile could double up as a wallet controversy, with the Indian Paper Manufacturers’ Association (IPMA) dragging Idea Cellular to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The IPMA alleges that the Idea commercial, which is aimed at weaning people away from paper to the electronic medium, is ‘pitching against the usage of paper and damning the industry as a whole for adversely impacting the environment’, added Economic Times. Idea Cellular, on the other hand, maintains that its ads promote conservation and that none of the situations depicted in its ‘save paper’ commercials are real and that it has great respect for the paper industry. Idea’s trademark ‘Sirji’ campaign shows Abhishek Bachchan’s image on a tree, advocating the use of mobiles and saving paper to ‘save the planet’. Idea is taking this commercial off-air, but according to Idea Cellular chief marketing officer Pradeep Shrivastava, the reason for withdrawing it is not the IPMA complaint. The IPMA, which represents organised paper manufacturers, including Ballarpur Industries, JK Paper, ITC and Emami group, has lodged a written complaint to the Idea Cellular top brass and ASCI, a copy of which is with ET. IPMA secretary general R Narayan Moorthy said: “We are not against Idea Cellular. But the campaign in question can make people believe that the paper industry is solely responsible for destruction of forests.” Idea Cellular, in response to the IPMA, has said in a letter: “It is not our intention to suggest a world without paper. Our ads promote conservation by saying save paper. Further, there is no reflection at all upon the member companies of your association, who we are sure are doing their best for the cause of conservation.” Idea Cellular has banked on social messaging in its advertising to break through the clutter in the highly competitive telecom space. Prior to the ‘use mobiles’ campaign, Idea Cellular’s advertising theme was ‘walk when you talk’. On the other hand, IPMA says Idea’s commercial should have carried a disclaimer in the first place itself stating that the commercial was not disparaging to the paper industry.

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