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,

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……!


32 thoughts on “Saad Khan Loses Life In Unilever’s ‘Clear Men’ Show

    1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.


    1. 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.

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