The Indian Automotive Media

Was at the launch of the Mercedes M- and S-Class. Times surely have changed in the Indian and global markets. A few years back, I remember when Merc entered the Indian market, the first press con had a 'selected media list'. This time the list had significantly expanded and the company was more open to answering questions.

Talking of questions, I am sure that even the Mercedes India top brass wasn't ready for an ambiguity like "What is your marketing strategy for the S Class?" This came from a PYT in low waist jeans from a 24-hr news monstrosity. While she was quite clueless about the industry, her confidence and self-belief was commendable as she never even twitched before repeating the question once again. What answer did she expect? "We plan to peddle the S-Class through pyramid marketing schemes?"

Its not that she was a unique case. With press cons nowadays heavily crowded by the numerous 24 hr news channels (at last count there were 65 of them - I did the counting and after 20 got tired and just made up the number but hey there are many), it is a PR firm's nightmare to keep a track on who came, asked what and reported which version.

The media nowadays does not believe in doing their homework and questions like "What was your turnover last year?" to "What is the power output of the engine?" are quite common. Made me scared a few times but hey I seem to be in the minority here.

Talking about the media, it must really be a mixed bag for company execs. On the plus side they don't have to answer insightful, dirt-digging, embarrassing questions. On the negative side, they often get bloomers.

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