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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Thanda Matlab......

Kiruba reported about the Coke – Sharad Haksar tussle yesterday. I was surprised to receive an email from the man himself. The mail looks like a well-drafted press release. I found the same in Tiffinbox as well. Coke itself was in the centre of a controversy recently as they had poked fun @ Goli soda (a local drink in Chennai / TN).

IMO, Sharad Haksar has kept track of who all have mentioned about him in the recent past and hence thought of presenting his view to the Blogosphere through blogs, which have mentioned him in the past.

My 2 cents – Coke has over-reacted by going public about this. By doing so, Coke has given national / international publicity to a hoarding which was hitherto adorning one of the main roads of Chennai. I wasn’t even aware of this till yesterday. What Coke could have done is to sort out this issue by speaking to Sharad Haksar. These kind of tussles are hardly settled in court. Will let you guys know when I get wind of any out-of-court settlement.

I present below the unedited version of the email that I received from Sharad:-

Coca-Cola has slapped a legal notice on ace photographer, Sharad Haksar, claiming that his 'Thirsty' hoarding on Nungambakkam High Road in Chennai has done 'incalculable damage to the goodwill and reputation' of their brand. Coke has threatened to file a defamation suit claiming damages of Rs. 2 Million if Sharad Haksar doesn't remove the hoarding 'unconditionally and immediately' and also provide an 'unconditional apology in writing'.

Reacting to this legal threat Sharad responds, "I am very surprised by the reaction of Coca-Cola. The hoarding does not demean, derogate or defame any person. It is just a creative piece of work. There is neither falsity nor intention to defame. I don't see how this can hurt any one. In fact, to ensure, no one takes offence, I had clearly put a disclaimer on the hoarding. Infact senior Coke officials who have visited my office had seen the picture even before it was put on the hoarding . They didn't raise any objection. Now they have issued me a legal notice. I am indeed zapped. I have been in the advertising industry for nearly 15 years now. I have built the reputation of many big brands through my images. I even did a shoot for Coke three months back. I would never do anything to hurt any brand. Leave alone Coke.. I would have expected Coke to take it sportingly.. Instead they've chosen to issue a legal notice. I have no intentions of issuing any apology. Because I have not committed anything wrong. If Coke pursues this legal course, my lawyers shall take appropriate counter action."

Incidentally, Sharad Haksar is the most awarded Indian photographer in recent times. In April 2005, he was declared the Adobe Galgo 'Photographer of the Year'. In May 2005, he was selected by Popular Photography as one of the Top 10 Photographers of the world. And in July 2005 he won a silver lion for India at the prestigious advertising awards show at Cannes.

To view the image please visit his website

or the images can be downloaded at www.sharadhaksar.com/thirsty


  • It's unnecessary for Coke to havee wewnt to court alrite, but I don't really think that would lead negative publicity to them. Anyway, my pence.

    By Blogger Govar, at 2:42 PM  

  • vetti pasanga :)

    Jobless people :)

    By Blogger ioiio, at 2:54 PM  

  • Maybe the lawyers at Coke are bored and poor Sharad is bearing the brunt of their sudden zest for work!

    By Blogger Dinesh, at 4:16 PM  

  • Err what was wrong with that image? Since when did COke become so boring?

    anyway thanks for the link, i was enjoying looking at his adds. beautiful work! ;)

    By Blogger visithra, at 4:17 PM  

  • As I said earlier, prominent people are getting attention from prominent people.. mobilise your support for SHARAD...

    By Blogger Ram.C, at 4:21 PM  

  • I feel, Coke is using this as an Advertising stunt.

    By Blogger PVS, at 7:17 AM  

  • Kaps, the link to his website is broken.

    To be honest personally I cant see anything degrading to Coke in that ad, but it most certainly isn't an advertisement promoting it either.

    By Blogger Aye Kay, at 7:45 AM  

  • What ever coke says, thats one cool photograph.

    And I dont think he was infringing any copyright or trademark laws given the fact that satire is legally protected.

    If you ask me, coke would probably get quite a bit of publicity out of this bill board for free.

    By Blogger nmk, at 11:30 AM  

  • As most of you said, the ad doesn't poke fun at Coke.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 2:39 PM  

  • wow man.. i was wondering what in the world MATLAB has got to do with coke. I first thought you were bashing MATLAB...

    its hindi.. damn!!

    By Blogger tt_giant, at 9:07 PM  

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