The third edition of the only ‘Green’ awards, instituted by the International Advertising Association’s India Chapter, has opened up to entries not just from India but from countries in Asia. The last date for sending entries has been extended, ceding to requests from entrants. Gokul Krishnamoorthy caught up with Draftfcb-Ulka’s MG Parameswaran, chairman, Olive Crown Awards 2013, and Mancom member IAA India Chapter.
How has the evolution of sustainability and its acceptance been in India? Where do the Olive Crown Awards fit in?
A lot of companies today are building sustainability as part of their core mission. Issues like reduction in carbon footprint, reducing energy consumption and recycling are gaining prominence. These awards are not for sustainability initiatives but for marketing communication for sustainability initiatives. When more and more companies advertise saying that they use recycled goods or conserve energy or are doing something to protect the environment, that will drive social awareness to these issues. It could even become a differentiator in terms of what consumers are looking for. Besides the Olive Crown Awards, there is no such award for communicating sustainability.
How has this year’s Olive Crown Awards been promoted? And what has the response been like?
We’ve done a thorough round of mailers to agencies and IAA members. Leaders of the top 100 corporates in the country have been written to. Some of them have even written back to us saying they have spoken to their marketing teams. People are aware of the awards. The original deadline was 31 January, and we started getting calls from agencies asking for a few more days. In the second year, we were sending reminders; now, agencies are calling us asking for more time. The last date has now been revised to 11 February.
We expect a big jump in number of entries, but it’s too early to hazard a guess. The Awards can sensitise clients to sustainability; that can lead to doing something good next year.
Who needs to take the lead, when it comes to communicating sustainability? Is the onus on clients?
I feel clients have to embrace it more. Whenever we have seen campaigns being done, they are largely driven by clients - be it on energy saving or going green. The agency may do something that can expand the sustainability claims that clients may have thought of; but the core input has to come from the client.
What will be the constitution of the jury? Will it have client representation as well?
We will be formulating the jury. Like last year, it will lean heavily on senior creative directors. We haven’t thought about bringing in clients on the jury – we may want to.
Is sustainability becoming relevant for consumer choice?
If we look at the younger generation, and among the more literate lot, sensitivity to such issues is pretty high. Let me explain with a tangential example. A few days ago, I was at a contest judging best summer projects by MBA students, organised by Business Standard. The best project award went to a student from IIT Roorkee. It was on recycling in rural India. He has taken up a village and studied how much waste is generated in that village. He had built a business model, through which he showed that the village can have a recycling system that is self-sustaining...
(Read the full interview, and an update on other initiatives by the IAA India Chapter, in the issue of Campaign India magazine dated 8 February).