creativity gone wrong

A classic case of effective communication gone wrong.

When The Economic Times was giving away awards for the country’s top advertisers and marketers here in Mumbai, TBWA an advertising agency was in damage control mode in Delhi.

What happened was TBWA had created signboards for HAAGEN-Dazs, an ice cream chain based in the United States, which was opening its first outlet in India in a South Delhi mall. The company had put up the signboards around the mall which read


‘Entry restricted only to holders of international passports’

What the teaser actually wanted to convey was ‘Now get a taste of abroad right here in India’. But it was misinterpreted by an Indian when he was turned away from the store apparently due to “lack of space”.

The Indian pissed of with the treatment took a photograph of the teaser and sent it to a Times Of India blogger. What followed was loads of hate messages against the company from around the globe.

“it was wrong choice of words and we regret the error” said the MD of General Mills, which markets the brand in India.

With future plans of opening 30 to 40 outlets the company sure has a tough time ahead.

So all those Creative Agencies out there make sure that you don’t get carried away with your creativity…make sure you follow one of the most important laws of communication – effective communication in short simple and understandable words.



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