APCO Worldwide and Weber Shandwick are in the running for another big PR campaign according to news from India. The Upcoming Vibrant summit in 2011 is an event which the Gujarat state government need to go over big this go around, and according to the reports the number two and three PR firms in the world are atop a select list of “pitchers” for the job of presenting Gujarat as the investment place to be.
This state, the Western most in India, is hot to reveal its investment worth to the world, and judging from some of the negative press they have gotten, their new PR firm may have their work cut out. Gujarat, with almost 60 million people, is a market for labor and consumers about as large as any European country, but diverse ethnic background and terrorist activity there make it a “hot spot” until leaders can quell unrest or the potential for it.
The 2009 summit raked in something like $240 billion in investment promises, so obviously there are high expectations for the 2011 variant on the theme. Other contenders for the job of telling the world about the summit include; Grey Worldwide, Blue Lotus, and Vaishnavi, among others. Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the face of Gujarat, just received a “lift” from APCO, but the Times Of India seems none too convinced by their efforts.
Some 45 countries participated in the last summit, but organizers obviously intend to engage even more via what has been termed; “hard-selling the event world-wide.” According to the recent India Times report on Modi, the focus on foreign investment (FDI) would seem to be the paramount bargaining chip for the Minister and his contingent there in Gujarat. However, Modi and some of his constituents have yet to be able to distance themselves from the horrible riots which took place in 2002 under their watch. Also, sources in the troubled state reveal that Modi’s application for a Visa to the US has been denied as well. From an investor standpoint, and on of a PR firm ourselves, gaining investment dollars in this case seems a little like putting the cart before the horse. Though providing jobs and security for the people there would certainly alleviate the strain in these economic times.
Hot Dogs and Health Care
We have reported several times of late on APCO and Weber Shandwick’s enterprises. Without going on a rant about the testicles of big PR, I suppose it is justifiable to say these massive communications firms reach pretty far afield in shaping the way so many people think about things. I respect them for their abilities and intellect, but sometimes wonder at the depths to which large organizations can appear to sink. The Oscar Meyer/Mommy Blogger thing for WS, and the lobbying of APCO against Obama’s health care initiative being in the forefront of my “opinionated” view of them.
Painting on canvas to anyone’s tune is just not my idea of how to run a business I guess. PR for me, as for any business, will always deliver black and white clarity in a world of gray areas. I suppose people and entities of an unimpeachable character have less need for PR than the other varieties? One can only hope that whoever represents this state in India, might sway the leaders there away from human rights abuses. Now that would be great PR. Do that, and I will personally sing whoever’s praises to the end of time.
The fourth edition of the summit held in January 2009 fetched investment promises to the tune of $243 billion, which was huge in an economic downturn. About 45 countries participated in the summit this year. The target countries for the next edition are US, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Italy, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait. “The brief is that Gujarat has to be marketed not just as an ideal investment destination but in terms of human development happening here,” said an official