(From left) Ashish Bhasin, honorary secretary, AAAI; Arvind Sharma, president, AAAI; Anil Kapoor, chairman emeritus, Draftfcb-Ulka Group; Nakul Chopra, honorary treasurer, AAAI
The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) bestowed on Anil Kapoor, chairman emeritus, Draftfcb-Ulka Group, the AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award 2013, at an event in Mumbai on 27 September.
The citation read:
“The Advertising Agencies Association of India has pleasure in conferring the 2013 AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award on Anil Kapoor.
- For his pioneering and outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the advertising industry in India
- For his vision and passion in transforming a traditional advertising agency into one of India’s most successful and diversified communication groups
- For his marketing acumen in building iconic Indian brands against redoubtable global brands
- For his international perspective and understanding of the industry’s causes and issues, and raising the relevance of advertising agencies
He is indeed deserving of the high connotation, which this award bestows upon him.”
The AAAI defines the Lifetime Achievement Award, instituted in 1998, as the highest honour given to an individual in India for his outstanding contribution to the advertising industry.
Upon receiving the award, Kapoor, an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, recounted his advertising career starting with his first job at MCM (Mass Communication and Marketing). Unable to find a break in advertising after the agency shut down, he joined Boots India (now Abbott) and served for 14 years, last as marketing director ‘while awaiting the right break in advertising’.
Kapoor recalled that he abandoned all caution and did not pay heed to advice, while joining an ailing Ulka Advertising.
He said, “The only time I had a momentary shudder was my first day in office, when it dawned on me that Ulka’s office was in Nirmal at Nariman Point – the same building where MCM had shut shop one fateful morning and I was rendered jobless. But when you are young, you are brave. I didn’t let it bother me at all. Now 25 years have gone by, and I am still as excited and enthusiastic as on the day of my joining.”
Kapoor surmised his acceptance speech with three tenets he followed in his career:
“One: Follow your passion. Everything else will follow passion. I believed in the power of advertising, and I strongly believed that advertising agencies were solution providers and not suppliers of creative.
“Second. Stand up for your convictions. My commitment to my clients was total. I treated their businesses as my own. Far too often, brand managers ask for a change, just because a new year has dawned. We would not allow this, and persisted with campaigns and ideas as long as they were relevant and there was no need to change the strategy.
“Third. Invest in the right people. I believe that one should always have people larger than oneself. Only then will you have an organisation of giants. I chose my team very carefully. Arvind Wable, Ambi Parameswaran, Nagesh Alai, Nitin Bhagwat and Shashi Sinha: together these guys made me look good. In fact, they made me look so good, that today, AAAI decided to honour me, with this award.”
Kapoor is a past president of the AAAI, served as chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (2007-’08), and has been on the management board of the National Readership Survey and the Television Audience Measurement Research.
In May 2002, he was also inducted into Foote, Cone & Belding’s worldwide board. With the formation of Draftfcb in 2006, Kapoor was appointed as Draftfcb president with responsibility for Asia-Pacific and Africa.