This blog post is to tell you about a road trip I’m undertaking from 10-15 August, 2012, sponsored by Ford India. Since I’ll probably be posting more than a few tweets about it, I thought it would be a good idea to write a post to give a few more details and to lay down my ethical disclosures.
So a social media agency that works with Ford India, WATConsult, approached me a month ago and said I was a “top influencer online on food” (if you ignore my numerous wisecracks, of course) and that Ford India had created a campaign to send influencers on many topics on a 5-day road trip in a Ford Classic Titanium car with one tank of fuel to “pursue their passion” along with a film-maker who would shoot this trip and post a video of it after we were done. Of course, being the skeptical kind, my inner voice immediately asked “What’s the catch, yo?” Fortunately, there was no “you have to post tweets about the car” type requirement in the terms and conditions, or I would have refused straight away.
The location I chose to explore was Hyderabad, and Aditya Sawant (the film-maker) and I are team “Highway Belly” who will drive to Hyderabad via Kurnool to explore the food scene during Ramzan time, and try to check out as many interesting places to eat as we can. Along the way, we’ll shoot videos and take pictures and post them. I’ll also try to organise a Hyderabad food tweetup so we can have some fun. I’ll be tweeting about it using the hashtags #1tankfull and #highwaybelly so you can either track or filter those tweets out. :D )
If you have any suggestions on what to eat and where to go, please do post them as comments here, or tweet them to me @madmanweb or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Right, so now that the information part is done, here come the ethical disclosures:
1) This road trip is sponsored by Ford India, who have paid for our hotel bookings along the way and given us a meagre daily allowance of Rs. 1000 per day for F&B, with Rs. 7500 incidentals and emergency money. That’s all the money I’m getting, so I’m not getting rich on this. There might be a couple of t-shirts thrown in too, but I think that’s it.
2) Ford is also providing me with an iPad to chronicle the trip, which I will get to keep at the end of the trip, so yes, that’s effectively a freebie.
3) I will not be posting any tweets endorsing the Ford Classic car in which we are travelling unless I actually believe what I’m writing. Believe me, I get approached a fair bit by clueless social media agencies to attend events for various brands asking me to tweet about it in return for “lots of exposure” and “meeting celebrities”. I just refuse all of them. My integrity is the most important thing to me and takes years to build, and it’s not up for sale. I have refused to do restaurant reviews for publications where I knew the owner, for instance. If people start doubting whether my writing is paid for, my opinion’s value drops to nothing.
4) I will not spam your Twitter timeline with tweets about the trip. Like you, I too hate it when somebody takes over my timeline, so expect only about 5-6 tweets per day on average. I’ll ask suggestions from people on where to eat and where to go, but you won’t see any “OMG DIS IS OSSUM BRO!” tweets.
And lastly, here is a teaser video that Adi has made for our trip: