Longhand 2.0: Getting better, and longer

29 Jan,2013

By Ananya Saha


When short and crisp are the buzzwords, when Twitter creates buzz with 140 characters, not many seem enthused to write long copy. Especially long ad copy. Even when required. Thus was born Longhand. The Longhand competition was a much cherished advertising affair last year. For the uninitiated, the competition, brainchild of Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, Associate Creative Director, Grey Worldwide, celebrates the love for long copy ads. The participants write long copy on 4-5 briefs. A few deadline extensions and many entries later, well-known names from advertising industry judge the copies. Names such as Indra Sinha, Neil French, Swapan Seth, Emmanuel Upputuru, Satbir Singh, Ashish Chakravarty, and Nima DT Namchu judged last year’s competition and Sir Martin Sorrell endorsed the initiative.


Differentiating this year’s competition from the last year, Mr Dasgupta said, “The first year only had judges from the creative field. This year, we have two judges representing the clients’ side as well, Rahul Kansal, Executive President, BCCL and Mohit Hira from JWT who is Sr VP and Regional Business Director – Airtel. The client judges have a role to play too in the resurrection of long copy ads.” Apart from the client judges, there will be known names such as Prasoon Joshi, Executive Chairman & CEO of McCann Erickson Worldgroup India; Agnello Dias who co-founded Taproot and David Shanks – a copy-based Creative Director who runs his own one-man company called Clear Brand Essence from London.


Neil French, former WPP Worldwide Creative Director and founder of World Press Awards, and Luke Sullivan who is now chair of the advertising department at the Savannah College of Art and Design, will act as the Jury Presidents. Guest Judges Ed McCabe, Tony Brignull will give conclusive comments on 10-15 shortlisted entries. For the record, at the D&AD 50th anniversary, advertising legend Tony Brignull was accredited Most Awarded Copywrite with three Black Pencils and 17 Yellow Pencils over 35 years. He currently works freelance. Mr. McCabe is the youngest copywriter to be a part of the One Club Creative Hall of Fame, featuring the likes of David Ogilvy and Leo Burnett. He also co-founded Scali, McCabe, Sloves.


Getting the big guns of advertising to be judges at Longhand must have been a tough job. “Not actually,” said Mr Dasgupta, adding, “You know, big people have big hearts.” Well, the big-hearted judges won’t be soft on the entries though. While last year winners received ‘Sorry for the Lobsters’, a book written by Neil French signed by the Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of O&M and Chairman of its Worldwide Creative Council, Tham Khai Meng, Mr Dasgupta prefers to keep 2.0 awards under wraps for now.


The 2.0 version has a new website (www.longhandawards.com), even as it gains momentum solely through the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Longhand2 and the Mr Dasgupta-led long copy ad reservoir: www.facebook.com/putheadlinehere). This year, apart from Mr Dasgupta, is his art partner Dushyant Chopra. Mr Chopra is the man behind the logo and all the communication that’s released and Kolkata-based Adhiraj Mukherji designed and developed the Longhand 2.0 website. Much like last time, all judging will be done online, with no jury-meets to discuss the shortlists.


The free-to-enter contest opened on January 15 and the deadline has already been extended to March 15 from the earlier March 1, given the huge interest it is generating in the ad industry. The international participation is also expected to rise, given the page views from UK, US, Singapore, Portugal and Netherlands, among many others, concluded Mr Dasgupta.


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