The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) raised a toast to Sam Balsara (pictured), chairman and managing director, Madison World, as it conferred upon him the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2009, last evening.
Colleagues at Madison, family and friends, members from the media fraternity – many of them veterans in the business - gave a standing ovation as Balsara, Madison’s founder and one of the most influential personalities in advertising, was awarded the highest honour for outstanding contribution to the Indian ad industry.
The award was presented to him by Colvyn Harris, president, AAAI. Harris said, "Sam is known for his fair play and when it comes to competing, he always upholds the highest standards of professional integrity. He has all the qualities of long distant marathon runner," Harris said.
Balsara thanked the executive committee of the AAAI and his family, for their recognition and support, recollected the highs and lows that punctuated his career, admitted to mistakes made as an entrepreneur and assured that there was a lot to look forward in his working career.
"It’s been an exciting journey of over 39 years with adequate doses of trials and tribulations, challenges and measured spoons of success. I’m a slow, steady kind of guy and if I look back, this has certainly contributed to my limited success," he said in his acceptance speech. "I’ve always wanted to be a craftsman in advertising, rather than a manager of men and money."
He made a strong plea to colleagues in the advertising industry to ponder over the future of their business. "We must engage with our advertiser friends to discuss future sustainability of our industry through fair compensation, so that we're able to invest adequately in attracting and nurturing talent for the future. We are in a creative profession and our industry needs fodder and affection," he said.
He further added, "The AAAI must institute a client credit and process rating system that allows us to objectively assess each client’s record on its ability to adhere to payment deadlines. This will ensure that all clients are not painted with the same brush stroke. At the end of the day, our industry can only grow when the volume and value of the business of our clients goes up," he said.