Nine years ago the IAA India Chapter came up with the idea to create the Olive Crown Awards. Dr Rajendra Pachauri with his Nobel Prize had addressed the IAA and had spoken about global warming, flash floods, glacial melting, and the need to provide solar lighting to those poor Indians who could not be reached effectively by the conventional power grid.
And the IAA India Chapter was getting into a mode where it began to speak about "What's good is good for business". And also the need to project the industry and its work in a better light.
And so the Olive Crowns were born. Actually they were almost still-born. Many influential, well-meaning people on our Mancom had assured me that sponsorship wouldn't be a problem. But it was. So we didn't have any money for the awards presentation event, even though entries had come in and judging had been completed.
That's when we decided that we were all one big happy industry. And the Goafest was imminent. Think about it. The right audience to launch a new Award. All infrastructure in place. And so we made bold to speak to the AAAI. And Lynn D'Souza who was Chairperson of the Goafest that year and the Executive Committee of the AAAI readily agreed to give us everything we needed to launch the awards.
Kaushik Roy was the President and the awards were launched in one of the hangars set up on the Oturda beach for the Goafest.
The Olive Crowns have come a long way since. One thing was very clear to the IAA. The reason the Olive Crowns were being held was to bring environment to the top of the strategic agenda and salute the custodians of Brand Earth.
And so the awards are run as a cause. No entry fee. No ticketed event. Just a celebration of what is necessary to this industry. What is good in this industry. And what this industry is capable of doing for the world. Yes, this is one way to show that communication is a force for good.
While the Awards have grown in their gravitas, the event has been graced by everyone from Union Ministers (Piyush Goyal, Maneka Gandhi and Praful Patel) to Bollywood icons (Amitabh Bachchan, John Abraham, Suresh Oberoi), to industry leaders (Neeta Ambani, Kartikeya Sarabhai) to mention a few names.
Just last year Sadhguru spoke at the Olive Crown Awards function and Shankar Mahadevan sang for the audience, as a labor of love. More importantly our own industry, the marketers and Agency people and media people make it a point to be there at this event.
That's what it really is. A celebration of all that is right. An investment in a future that should be bright.
(The author is the immediate past president of the IAA India Chapter and the VP, IAA Global. The 9th edition of the IAA Olive Crown Awards will be held in Mumbai on April 18.)