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MSD terminates association with Schbang following the Poonam Pandey controversy

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As per media reports, MSD, the Indian arm of the US pharmaceutical giant Merck, has terminated its partnership with Schbang, a digital marketing agency responsible for the Poonam Pandey death controversy. MSD, which produces the Gardasil vaccine safeguarding against HPV strains linked to cervical cancer, severed its relationship with the agency shortly after the news of the controversial publicity campaign emerged.

MSD terminates association with Schbang following the Poonam Pandey controversy

MSD terminates association with Schbang after Poonam Pandey Controversy

Corporate Fallout

In recent developments reported by the media, MSD, the Indian arm of the US pharmaceutical company Merck, has severed ties with Schbang, a digital marketing agency involved in the Poonam Pandey death hoax controversy. Schbang, known for orchestrating the controversial publicity stunt, faced consequences as MSD, the manufacturer of the Gardasil vaccine targeting HPV strains linked to cervical cancer, decided to terminate their association shortly after the incident came to light.

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MSD’s Response

The controversy escalated further as social media posts accused MSD of being involved in the publicity stunt. However, MSD clarified its stance to ET, emphasizing that the campaign was not associated with the company in any manner. Consequently, MSD decided to terminate its service contract with Schbang due to a conflict of interest.

Venture Capitalist’s Observation

Venture capitalist Mahesh Murthy brought attention to the connection between Schbang, Poonam Pandey, and MSD’s HPV vaccine in a LinkedIn post on February 6. Murthy highlighted the widespread reach of the awareness campaign on platforms like YouTube and its endorsement by various influencers.

MSD terminates association with Schbang following the Poonam Pandey controversy
Poonam Pandey

Initiative and Backlash

The controversy stemmed from an initiative by Hauterrfly, a portal collaborating with Poonam Pandey to raise awareness about cervical cancer. The campaign took an unexpected turn when Pandey simulated her own death, sparking shock and outrage among fans and social media users. Pandey later revealed the stunt in a video, emphasizing the importance of cervical cancer prevention through screenings and HPV vaccination.

Public Reaction

While a few voices supported Pandey’s initiative, most condemned her actions as insensitive and unethical. The incident stirred significant debate about the boundaries of social media activism and responsible advocacy.

Overall, the controversy surrounding Poonam Pandey’s publicity stunt has not only affected her reputation but has also led to repercussions for Schbang and raised questions about corporate associations with such controversial campaigns.

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Conclusion


In conclusion, the fallout from the Poonam Pandey controversy has highlighted the intricate dynamics between corporate entities, digital marketing agencies, and social media activism. MSD’s swift termination of its association with Schbang underscores the importance of corporate responsibility and the repercussions of being associated with controversial campaigns. While initiatives to raise awareness about critical issues like cervical cancer are commendable, the methods employed must be ethical and sensitive to avoid backlash and damage to reputations. This incident serves as a reminder of the fine line between advocacy and sensationalism in the digital age, prompting a reevaluation of strategies for leveraging social media platforms for societal good.

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