Almost three years ago, I had blogged about ClearTrip and besides reading on & off about them, meeting people associated with them once in a while, had really nothing to do with them & yes have rarely used their services, maybe never.

The episode has been well documented by Karthick from where I jumped to Tinu Cherian and Deepika posts, which written by experts with comments also from other related experts and hence I do not wish to debate on who is right/wrong.

As a client of numerous PR agencies over the years, I have noticed the following things:

  • The hierarchy is getting longer. Trainee – Account Executive – Account Manager – Account Director – Branch Manager/RM/COO based on how large the agency is.
  • The output most times is a pure “Cut & Paste Job” rarely evaluating whether XYZ which worked for 2 clients would work for ABC also.
  • Except Advertising, we do everything seems to be the mantra. And honestly, most of them have turned event managers.
  • Retainer negotiation is the key when everybody troops in, irrespective of whether the client has space or not.
  • Updates & Reviews are generally bottom of the pole, unless demanded & out come the templates.

I can add a couple of more, but this is where the trouble starts; most clients don’t know what they want from the agency. Unfortunately, the agency also have little clue about the client expectations.

For most it has become ‘Transactional’ in nature rather than relationship nurturing. To add to this, we now have the “Bloggers” “Influencers” “Social Media” which change dynamically against the old ‘Press’ names; so all those trawled emails, contact details are used for every communication with or without the client’s permission. With can be a one time permission, which is then treated as blanket approval & becomes without. In some instances, like the spy novels Clients use agencies as ‘Denialbility” and this at times is internal tothe client also. The Super boss demands answers & the communication person says ‘Just do it’ my job is at stake. This comes out, when somebody senior enough points it out, or complains at a forum, or sends an email to Super boss.

As the Trainee in the Agency grows & moves, carries the ‘Rolodex’ along increasing the spam reach.

On the other side, let’s address the retainer aspect, most clients pay late & in the business jungle that India is, very few Agencies stop work immediately and soon there’s an outstanding, where it is a “Teri bhi chup, meri bhi” kinda scenario, Agency does not work up to potential, client is keeping quiet because of the outstanding & the relationship meanders along like a 30 year old marriage.

According to what I have understood, Cleartrip seems to have broken this rule. Is it good? Maybe, provided other clients follow suit.

Would other clients follow suit? Not very likely. Because remember at times the Agency wallah becomes client & vice versa.

Would Agencies have the Guts to do so? I don’t know one off has happened in the past, but buried on page 7 of Trade magazine.

Will other agencies boycott ClearTrip – Roflcopter as they say on Twitter.

Will BuzzPR get other clients – Of course without a doubt.

Will other agencies learn from this – Ha ha ha… Tomorrow is another day, business as usual.

And what will those receivers of Spam do; curse, create filters and carry on.


Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends