Saad Khan Loses Life In Unilever’s ‘Clear Men’ Show

Was it an act of negligence or was it a case of ‘squeezing the production budgets’ which resulted in this catastrophe? It has been confirmed that recently a participant in the ‘Clear Sex’ Reality Show by the name of Saad Khan lost his life in the recording of the show when the host Amina Sheikh (the model of Clear Shampoo) gave an under water challenge to him.

As part of the show the participants had to run through a field with a weight attached to their chests and one of the hurdles was a deep pond (8 feet at center) through which they had to pass through. Saad pulled a muscle whilst going through and shouted for help but the lame safety and lifeline measures failed to rescue him up and the young man, the father of four had to suffer. He was 31.

The production was being supervised by the production consultant Naved Arshad, the owner of Oxygene Channel. The production team was ‘Working Hands Productions’ from India.

Aarpix has more on the story at http://www.aarpix.com/mag/2009/08/22/breaking-news-unilever-pakistan-kills-a-young-boy-in-their-lame-stunt-tv-show.html.

The response however is what prompted me to write this post. Spokespersons of these two companies have been shamelessly calling the incident a mere accident and not accepting responsibility for such a loss. It is one thing to drive the production budgets down to a point where even the safety equipment is not of standard anymore. However it’s another more shocking aspect that these big multinationals are decrying the incident and our local media is helping them.

I do hope Unilever has formulated a proper response for this tragedy. Being the largest advertiser in Pakistan does not mean that a company can shun its responsibilities to the people.

Updated: September 4th, 2009

From: In a  discussion with one of the UniLever’s Reality Show particpants,
http://teeth.com.pk/blog/2009/09/04/discussion-eye-witness-saad-khan-unilever

What exactly happened with Saad?

Participant: Saad bhai cleared the first stage, which was running through fire; he jumped in the pond and swam…. When he reached the middle of the pond he suddenly turned and changed his style to backstroke, he looked troubled, we shouted and asked him to open his 7 KG back pack, and he struggled to open it. While struggling he yelled for help and disappeared in the water. When there was no response from him, we dived in the pond to look for him, but couldn’t find him as the water was very muddy and I came out. We started screaming and crying for help but there was no help around. After around 10 minutes his back pack came up floating on the water. The lifeguards came 10 – 12 minutes after the incident occurred and recovered Saad bhai’s body.

Q: You mean to say that there was no professional help on the spot? No paramedics, no safety precautions, nothing at all?

Participant: Unfortunately No, there was nothing present over there, we were given the surety that the pond is not very deep. And there was only first aid help in case of injury! No professional divers no life guards and no snorkelers. We only realized it after this incident that during the 10 episodes a similar incident could have happened with any of the participants as pre-cautionary & safety measures were non-existent which we also never realized……!

About Umair Mohsin
Director - Digital Marketing and Strategy For Media Idee Digital, Pakistan's first Digital Agency. Setup in 2006, we now work with Enterprise clients in EMEA region and South Asia including Sweden, UK, Dubai and Pakistan.

32 Responses to Saad Khan Loses Life In Unilever’s ‘Clear Men’ Show

  1. Kashif Siddiqui says:

    The Aarpix link was accessable few minutes back but it no more there.

    • Umair Mohsin says:

      I copied the text to NowPublic. You can access it at http://www.nowpublic.com/world/boy-dies-unilever-sponsored-show-due-negligence

    • Umair Mohsin says:

      Aarpix websites were taken off without any notice by their hosts. Apparently someone approached the hosts to ensure that the news doesn’t spread!!

      Aarpix’s promised new servers will be up soon.

  2. Ahsan Shamim says:

    which world are we living in? People involved should be penalized for this act. Bring this to marketing 360 including your discussion with spokespersons of both companies.

  3. Shams says:

    terrible incident. And for such big companies to be invovled in it is just a shame

  4. Sunita says:

    Unilever fiasco is definately a case choosing a sub standard team that did not make sufficient arrangements or have foresight to deal with such an incident. At the end of the day Unilever and Mindshare are responsible for choosing a sub standard / in experienced vendor and not allocating enough funds for safety. For physical reality shows, the safety budget alone is magnanimous making such shows unaffordable for major networks. Also Pakistani teams have little experience in survivor type game shows. All arrangements should have been checked by Mindshare and Unilever.

  5. Umair Mohsin says:

    The production team which was handling the show was Indian.

    I wished they’d gone with a local Pakistani team instead. The good companies here have had more experience than India in the ‘adventure’ genre.

  6. Umair Mohsin says:

    Naved Arshed was just the production consultant.

  7. The most shameful act of all to me is that NONE of the mainstream media in Pakistan, the so-called Geo, Dawn, Express, Aaj, Duniya, Samaa, CNBC, Business Plus, etc., have covered this news.

    The reason is that Unilever is the largest advertiser of Pakistan spending around US $20 million every year and this money goes to all these mainstream media pockets.

    Isn’t this hypocrisy or double standards? This same media wouldn’t wait a min before highlighting the smallest of the blasts they hear about any where in Pakistan even without confirmed reports but when a father of 4 dies at the hands of their own client, they are all mum!

  8. Khan says:

    Dude Umair I really feel bad for you that you werent chosen but it doesnt mean that you should porpogate the news.
    I dont think Arpix is a reliable source that you’re flaunting their link everywhere and we should wait for the reliable source to come up with something

    • Umair Mohsin says:

      Dude! check the facts. You don’t trust Aarpix, trust Adage than. Check the link at http://adage.com/globalnews/article?article_id=138675.

      Adage reported the incident with Unilever Thailand’s spokesperson commenting:

      “This is a tragic accident,” Mr. Johns said. “We were shocked by this event, and our sympathy goes out to his family. At the moment we’re assessing the situation and hoping to get to the bottom of this.”

      This is also from the article.

      “The reality show was being produced in Bangkok, and Unilever isn’t releasing additional details until Thai authorities complete their autopsy and investigation, said spokesman Tim Johns.”

      However, I’ve also checked every fact with my own internal sources. I’m related to the industry remember. It’s 100% true. Check your own facts before making comments.

      And Yes! it’s Propagate, not porpogate. Check both your spellings and your facts before making comments here next time.

  9. Pingback: Saad Khan Killed In Unilever’s ‘Clear Men’ Show | Tea Break

  10. Harunjilani says:

    Whey everyone is silent about it?

  11. Aarpix guy says:

    @Khan

    also, it’s Aarpix, with double ‘a’, not arpix, so as Mohsin said, make sure you check the spellings next time ;)

  12. Dania Khan says:

    Please see this link on this subject:

    • Umair Mohsin says:

      Wonderful coverage Dania. Fills out a lot of our gaps.

      Good going Paklinks

  13. Siddiqi says:

    Indeed it is a very sad, sad incident. My prayers and thoughts are with the family of the deceased.

    The way this news has been gagged by Unilever and Mindshare is even more condemnable. We talk so much about freedom of the press and the free media. Any attempt by the government to silence it is met by fierce resistance by the media hawks – mostly led by media owners. However, in this case, the way they have succumbed to the pressure of these two multinational giants (one a spender the other a big buyer) speaks volumes about the resolve of the media to withstand pressure and now bow down to the lure of money.

    Only now this news has started filtering through, and let us hope it reaches its logical conclusion and the affected family properly compensated and the perpetrators brought to book.

  14. fahad says:

    Please join the Facebook Group, Say NO to reality shows’, For MUHAMMAD SAAD KHAN

    Basic Info
    Name: Say NO to Reality Shows
    Type: Common Interest – Beliefs & Causes
    Description: Reality shows around the media world have become very popular. In a quest to make thrilling, adventurous and exciting programs the producers, sponsors, directors, media managers, risk the life of un-trained & un-skilled participants.
    This is a pure act of playing with a precious human life. This facebook page marks a start of a campaign against all such entities who organize and sponsor such events for cheap publicity & monetary kick backs.

    http://www.facebook.com/share.php?appid=2530096808&src=box&tid=125880517398&u=http%3A%2F%2Fteeth.com.pk%2Fblog%2F2009%2F08%2F28%2Fsaad-khan-unilever-mindshare-accident#/group.php?gid=125880517398

  15. Dania Khan says:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/World/Pakistan/Pakistani-reality-show-contestant-dies-during-shoot/articleshow/4948124.cms

  16. Pingback: Saad Khan Loses Life In Unilever’s ‘Clear Men’ Show | Tea Break

  17. Holy Sinner says:

    Dear All,

    You can get in touch with:

    Steve.Williams@unilever.com

    Stephen Williams
    General Counsel & Chief Legal Officer

  18. Pingback: Unilever-Mindshare Clear Reality show becomes cruelty show killing saad khan a father of four. | PakSatire.Com

  19. Pingback: Uilever-Mindshare Clear Reality Show becomes Cruelty Show | Tea Break

  20. Dania Khan says:

    Youtube:

  21. Dania Khan says:

    A blog by Saad’s friend:

    Didn’t knew that Head of Corporate Affairs at Unilever is married to Imran Aslam (CEO/President of GEO network)

    http://farrukhahmed.blogspot.com/2009/08/unilever-reality-show-claims-life-of-my.html

  22. Holy Sinner says:

    Umar:

    The website is not working since afternoon:

    http://teeth.com.pk/blog/2009/08/28/saad-khan-unilever-mindshare-accident

    Any idea that it has also become a victim?

    • Umair Mohsin says:

      I’ve read people’s commenting that my blog was also down…. which is surprising. There have also been outages on various blogs throughout yesterday & today.

      There has also been a lot of activity from the PIE which has been logged by my servers. I can only speculate that they have been trying to block access to the blogs in some manner.

  23. Dania Khan says:

    Umair:

    Access to your blog has been blocked in Pakistan…have you become a victim?

  24. Dania Khan says:

    Guys read this:

    Unilever Pakistan accepts no liability for Khan’s death, Aslam said, but added that the company is in discussions to provide for Khan’s wife and four children “out of rightness.”

    http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/aug/30/pakistan-reality-contestant-death-083009/

  25. chodhry says:

    Our take on Pakistan’s traditional media on this issue.

    http://paksatire.com/2009/09/02/media-role-unilever-mindshare-saad-khan-rbs-clear-reality-show-death-accident/

  26. Dania Khan says:

    1st Vigil / protest in memory of Saad Khan

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=129586617758&ref=nf

  27. Umair Mohsin says:

    Unilever is stopping access to blogs covering Saad Khan’s Death including this one.

    http://twitpic.com/h2dwe

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