Topic of discussion in this issue:

Surrogate advertising: should it be banned???

In the advertising world ‘surrogate advertising' is a politically correct term used to define fraudulent pieces of communication. For example, all those playing cards, soda water bottles, apple juices, mineral water and other product ads we see, are actually clever promotions for liquor and cigarette brands by the same name.

Recently government had issued show-cause notices to four broadcasters—Star, Sony, Zee and Aaj Tak—seeking an explanation as to why action should not be taken against them for violation of Rule 7 of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1999, for carrying surrogate ads of liquor. The so called surrogate ads under scrutiny are: McDowell's Mera Number One, Gilbey's Green Label ads, Bagpiper soda water, Kingfisher mineral water, 8PM apple juice, ITC-GTD's (greeting cards division) Expression Greeting Cards, Red & White Bravery Awards and Wills sportswear.

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Solution to previous issue: Should you outsource your marketing?


Most companies already outsource a portion of their marketing function—advertising. What about direct-mail management, lead management and customer analytics? Increasingly, expertise in these and other marketing areas lies outside your own walls. And that is why more and more companies are turning to marketing partners.

While company marketing departments have plenty of talented right-brain, creative types, they may lack the left-brain analytics needed to better understand their customers in today's information-rich environment. Besides, outsourcing marketing can lead to better quality and lower costs.

The benefits to business include cost savings and improved quality. Additionally, many firms lack "left-brain" analytical skills in-house, even though those skills are becoming more important than ever in an age of one-to-one marketing, and find that outside expertise is often needed. Sony, a legendary marketer, outsourced its program to market products through its online "Sony Style" store, recognizing that they needed expertise in areas such as customer database construction.

Companies stand to benefit considerably by outsourcing, for example, analytical functions to qualified suppliers if those skills are lacking in-house. But some aspects of marketing are less amenable to outsourcing—those that directly drive marketing strategy.

The skills required of the marketing manager are rapidly changing. Today, managers are like ringmasters in a circus; they must understand how to access the skills they need, since in practice they are relying on a variety of in-house and outside suppliers to get the job done.


Outsourcing as vital a function as marketing could also be hazardous at times. There is a lot of risk involved in outsourcing the marketing function to another firm as this may mean providing vital information to another firm which can be misused at times. Also, there is a huge risk factor involved in completely putting marketing function under someone else's supervision as marketing has now become so important that it encompasses all other managerial functions.

Most of the times a firm or a manager proves his mettle through his insights into marketing strategies to provide a competitive edge to its products. Also, when one out sources his marketing facility, the loyalty factor of the people doing the job comes under scanner.

So, it is very important that when a firm chooses to outsource its marketing function, that it chooses the right place to outsource it as the success of the firm and its objectives would depend on this vital decision.