Anant Rangaswami
Apr 26, 2011

Opinion: Will the Ad Club please keep the Abbys simple?

In a weird way, the Abbys does not want to declare a winner - because those who lose get upset.

Opinion: Will the Ad Club please keep the Abbys simple?

The week following Goafest is never easy, and this year has been no different.

Bobby Pawar sent me a few irate mails on our interpretation of the medal winners table. He did this in private mails, not comments on the blog, because he wanted the exchange to be, well, private.

After about 20 minutes of this not-so-pleasant exchange, I called him up. He gave me his point of view and I gave him mine. We agreed to disagree.

Why did we have to disagree at all and then agree to disagree?

Why couldn’t there have been no room for interpretations and, subsequently, disagreement?

There is no major awarding anywhere in the world which pussyfoots around like the Abbys.

In a weird way, the Abbys does not want to declare a winner – because those who lose narrowly get upset. And the Ad Club, Bombay and the AAAI don’t like people getting upset.

So the Abbys does not declare an agency of the year. Does not give you a table in any order other than alphabetical.

Let us be clear on one fact: the Abbys is NOT the Olympic Games. It does not have the lofty ideals and the altruism that the Olympic Games were founded on. The Abby Awards were created to recognize the best work and the agency producing the best work.

Then why on earth shy away from recognizing the agency that has done the best work?

The lack of clarity on who is the ‘winner’ at the Abbys has gone on for a few years now.

So that winners don’t feel cheated, it makes sense for the Ad Club to resolve this issue once and for all.

Please do not, for a moment, think that the problem will go away. I quote from the Wikipedia entry on how the Olympic Games deals with the issue: “As the IOC does not consider its sorting of nations to be an official ranking system, various methods of ranking nations are used.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Because the IOC takes no stand, it’s open to all and sundry to interpret the table in whatever manner suits them most.

But this ambiguity in the Olympics has given rise to a similar headache. I continue to quote from Wikipedia: “The gold first ranking system described above is used by most of the world media, as well as the IOC. While the gold first ranking system has been used occasionally by some American media outlets, newspapers in the United States primarily publish medal tables ordered by the total number of medals won, and Canada used the total medal count on the official website for the Vancouver Olympics.

This difference in rankings has its origins in the early days of the Olympics, when the IOC did not publish or recognise medal tables. Before 2008, the difference in ranking system received scant notice, since in recent Olympic history the country that led in total medals also led in the gold count. China and the U.S. bucked this trend at the 2008 Summer Olympics, topping the gold and total medal tallies respectively, and a similar situation occurred at the 2010 Winter Olympics when Canada and the U.S. finished with the most gold medals and total medals respectively.”

There is too much at stake in the Olympic Games as well as in the Abbys for the participants to docilely accept the lack of a table and the reticence to name an overall winner. The IOC’s ideals are ignored as much as the Ad Club’s are; news media WILL interpret the table.

For a country which loves Cannes so much, why not bite the bullet and duplicate what Cannes does?

And allow all of us to have a relaxed post-Goa, so that Bobby and I can laugh and bitch about other things?

Campaign India

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