Campaign India Team
Feb 26, 2009

O&M’s entry: hold the celebrations for a while

While everyone was consumed with Slumdog, I was quietly celebrating the announcement that O&M would, indeed, take part in the Abbys.For an award to be respected, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account.You need a jury that is respected, a process to judge the entries that is acceptable, and an awarding body that is above suspicion.

O&M’s entry: hold the celebrations for a while

While everyone was consumed with Slumdog, I was quietly celebrating the announcement that O&M would, indeed, take part in the Abbys.

For an award to be respected, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account.

You need a jury that is respected, a process to judge the entries that is acceptable, and an awarding body that is above suspicion.

These three, by themselves, are not enough. You also need all the important players in the consideration set to participate. That’s when the winning is sweetest; when your entry is one of many, including the best of the competition.

That’s why an O&M’s presence is so significant. Winning an Abby where no O&M entries are considered is no win at all.

The fact that O&M has agreed to participate is a great augury for the future of the Abbys. It must have taken a great deal of statesmanship from Piyush Pandey, Colvyn Harris, Madhukar Kamath (and perhaps some others) to arrive at an amicable solution, a solution that makes all stakeholders hold their heads high.

For this year, that is.

I hate to puncture the balloon, but the puncturing is needed.

Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that, with Piyush’s announcement, all is well with the world and with the Abbys. All is not; that’s why the situation came to such a pass.

Those in control of the Abbys (and of Goafest) need to accept and acknowledge that there are issues that exist and that need to be dealt with.

Now that the raging fire has been put out, the Ad Club Mumbai and the Advertising Agencies Association of India needs to work towards ensuring that we do not, in the future, come to such an impasse.

That means talking to Piyush, Prasoon and Balki (pictured) through the course of the next few months and attempting to understand their concerns.

Somehow, over the last few years, Lowe’s absence from the awards has become a fait accompli. One can choose to keep them out of the discussions.That’s like sweeping the dirt under the carpet.

If getting Piyush to take part (and, perhaps, Prasoon) was a minor challenge, getting Balki to take part is the major one.

Why are we so accepting of Lowe’s absence?

Lowe is absent because Balki has issues that need to be discussed – and addressed, if possible. Lowe is, without doubt, one of India’s premier advertising agencies, and their continued absence from India’s premier advertising award is a blot.

As I write this, there is no guarantee that O&M and McCann would take part next year; as things stand today.

We keep referring to the Goafest as India’s Cannes. That’s our ego coming to the fore. We can claim to be that when the Abbys at Goafest is completely inclusive and is respected by all the major Indian advertising agencies – as Cannes is totally inclusive and is respected by all the major advertising agencies from around the world.

There has been talk of making the Abbys larger, inviting entries from south and south-east Asia. What credibility does this have when we haven’t yet managed to get everyone from India on board?

Next year could see another drop out, and another.

If this is to be prevented, the way to prevent it is to discuss the shortcomings, warts and all, with all the major advertising agencies, beginning now.We need to be certain and confident, as early as possible, that Goafest 2010 has the support and participation of Indian adland. We need the flagbearers of the industry to encourage greater participation, improve the process and raise the credibility of the award.

Then we can talk of being the Indian answer to Cannes. Not now.

Source:
Campaign India

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