About four years ago the India Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) was looking at creating a property that could be an annual event. It had no such event till then.
One of the members was mandated the job of preparing a concept note on this.
He came up with a concept on the following lines:
-IAA needs to have something exclusive. It cannot be "another" award.
-IAA needs to do things that show the world that doing "good" is good for business.
Thereby emerged the idea of an award to communicate excellence in sustainability.
Remember IAA had just completed its very successful Lighting a Billion Lives awareness campaign to raise money for TERI (the NGO run by Dr.Rajendra Pachauri), so this was a logical extension of the sustainability plank.
-The award was introduced because it was felt that society had reached the tipping point in its approach to the environment.
-A younger consumer was questioning the green credentials of manufacturers.
-"Green" could be a key differentiator in an increasingly "me-too" market.
-There was a need to bring the green message on top of the strategic and creative agenda.
-It would go a long way in improving the overall image of the communications industry as not just custodians of their brands but also custodians of Brand Earth.
All this was put up by the member in a concept note that was unanimously approved by the Mancom of the IAA.
The same member also came up with the name Olive Crown.
This was based on the fact that the olive wreath has always been a symbol of excellence and performance, documented from the days of the first Olympiad. However the member thought (to himself) that the word "wreath" had different connotations in the Indian lexicon so he changed that to "Crown" which always has very regal connotations and is seen as the ultimate reward for guts and glory.
This story has never been told before.
(The author, Ramesh Narayan, is a member of the IAA Managing Committee and co-chairman, Olive Crown Awards 2013. The last date for sending entries for the third edition is 11 February. More on IAA at www.iaaindiachapter.org)