The good news is that the quality of work and the quality of the presentations are getting better each year. This suggests that next year will see Indian entries fare better at international award shows, that India will have a greater involvement in Asia-pacific and global pitches, that Indian professionals will be more recognized the world over.
The bad news is that the community is turning into two communities, the haves and the have nots.
Smaller agencies have been all but wiped out. The volume of work, their baskets of clients and their revenue together makes it well nigh impossible for them to compete with the large agencies.
It’s not just the small agencies that are out in the cold; this year’s edition of the Emvies witnessed the conspicuous absence – even for the networking of a large number of ‘names’ from large agencies which had no possible winners.
This year, the ‘club’ has shrunk compared to last year. Next year, will we see even fewer companies participate – and when I say participate, I mean in the true sense of the word. Will more stay away from the award ceremony than this year?
There is cause for worry when a Lynn De Souza, NP Satyamurthy, Jasmin Sohrabji, Harish Shriyan choose to stay away from the Emvies. That’s just a handful of names; I could go on forever.
Where were delegates from media houses? Except for Joy Chakraborty, I can’t remember meeting anyone from television. By anyone, I mean anyone. No STAR TV, no Network 18, no TV Today. Except for The Times of India, I can’t remember meeting anyone from Hindustan Times, DNA, MiD-DAY, Malayala Manorama, Living Media, etc. Radio? Where were they?
As with the Abbys, the negatives will be swept under the carpet, ignored and forgotten in the misplaced glory of a ‘successful’ event. A sold out event does not automatically make the event successful – the quality of the attendees matters greatly.
The Ad Club and the Emvies committee would do well to figure out why the involvement of a significant chunk of the community is dissipating. There is no greater loss of credibility for an award than for only the winners and likely winners to be present. Those who aspire should be there to see what makes a winner win; those who fail to make the cut should be there to see where they are lacking.
There is so much that is good about both the Abbys and the Emvies that criticism of the two becomes imperative. The foundations are in place and both are growing in stature and credibility. There is need to build on the good – and, simultaneously, do a chintan baithak (not of the BJP kind) to understand and address all that is bad.
It would be a good idea for the Emvies to understand what ails the Abbys. All seemed to be perfect till a few years ago – and all, obviously, was not perfect. To ignore the signs of unhappiness and dissent is a danger that Emvies (and the media agency community) can ill afford.
The trouble is that there are no parameters set by the organisers to measure the success and failure of an Emvies.
Let me suggest a few:
The number of agencies participating should grow by x per cent.
There must be a minimum of x new members on the jury each year
That CEOs of the top 25 agencies ought to be present at the awards.
That at least 10% of the attendees should be marketers.
That at least 20% of the attendees should be from media owners.
To achieve the above will be no easy task, but to not attempt it would be dangerous to the longevity and credibility of not just the Emvies but to the community at large.