MxM Comment: Sad to see an Abby minus Ogilvy… Time to ‘lagao’ pressure to get ’em back!

07 Mar,2013


By Pradyuman Maheshwari


Doom in the world outside almost always rings music to the newsperson’s ears. So, while it was heartening to have scooped the news on Ogilvy choosing to skip the Creative Abby at Goafest 2013, we were saddened by it. Deeply.


This is not the first time that an agency is boycotting the Creative Abby. Lowe/Lintas has been doing it for years. R Balki has his reasons, which some believe are valid. Every year, there are stories of agencies not sending in any entry – many essentially because they don’t believe they’ve done awardwinning work in the year and some because it’s a drain on resources.


This is also not the first time that Ogilvy is threatening a skip. It took all of Colvyn Harris’s persuasive power to convince a Piyush Pandey in 2009. I still remember giving the headline ‘Please Piyush, Please’ to an Impact magazine cover carrying Colvyn’s interview around that time.


The JWT (then-also-Goafest) boss was lucky that Team Ogilvy agreed to participate, but Ad Club prez Shashi Sinha, AAAI chief Arvind Sharma and Goafest committee chair Nakul Chopra haven’t been successful in winning them over.


The reason that Abhijit Avasthi gave my colleague wasn’t convincing. There’s obviously a lot more that he’s not telling and is perhaps being polite on record. This is what he told us: “We won’t be entering in the awards as we have felt that they were not energizing our people as they used to earlier. So we decided to take a break and may be see later what happens.”


A Goafest grand prix or gold not energizing employees enough! Wtf!!!!! The cheers from the team every time a winner is announced, the run to the stage and the final group picture with everyone yay-ing (and not to mention the various interviews given after the wins) are testimony to the sentiment in the Ogilvy camp after every Goafest. Look at the picture alongside… this is at the Creative Abby last year. No energy?


It’s evident that there’s more to this boycott. I am told one of the issues is that Team Ogilvy believes there’s not much done to ward away scam ads. I agree that there are many ads which are made-for-awards. But, there’s little that the Ad Club can do, especially when an entry is found eligible as per rules. If a well-known agency and hotshot creative guru have no scruples and aren’t embarrassed about sending a scam ad, the best deterrant is exposure. Let them get exposed! And I am sure they will – over time – stop sending scam work.


The Advertising Club is not the personal property of any individual or group. It’s a body of elected members from within the fraternity. Madhukar Sabnavis, Vice Chairman and Country Head, Discovery and Planning, O&M India and recently appointed Member of the Worldwide Board of O&M is Treasurer of the Ad Club and member of the 13-member managing committee. Let me repeat this: The #3 honcho of Ogilvy India is one of the five big officebearers of the Advertising Club.


Couldn’t he have done something to avoid this from happening? Whatever happened to the meeting of Creative Directors?


Goddammit, an Ogilvy not participating in the Creative Abby is like a China or USA not competing in the Summer Olympics! Or an IPL without Chennai Super Kings. Or idli served without chutney or sambar.


Okay, comparing an adfest to the Olympics or even an IPL is stretching it, but you get the sentiment?!


When I spoke with Shashi Sinha yesterday and asked him to react to the fact that it’s a huge, huge setback, he said setback is too strong a word. He did admit though that it will affect the Abby. Sinha is a pragmatic man. He has successfully managed to clean the Creative Abby judging process and the awards have been happening without a hitch (or a leak) over the last few years.


Most people my colleague spoke with were shocked to hear the news. And all those who I interacted with unequivocally said that the Abby this year will lose its sheen. “The credibility of the awards takes a major blow, as will the attendance at Goafest,” commented Anant Rangaswami on Facebook.

So will we now have a Balki participate in the Creative Abby? I don’t think Lowe will this year, because his peeve is with the process followed.

There’s a belief that it’s the participating that’s critical, not the winning. That’s good to say and hear for losers, but, remember, it’s all about winning.

It’s critical that the advertising fraternity gets together to work on a solution. And it’s important for the Advertising Club to effect these in doublequick time.

From what I am told, Ogilvy’s absence this year is a done deal. No comebacks. Sad, as we’ll now also have cynics making remarks that one of the reasons why Ogilvy isn’t participating is because it doesn’t hope to win much this year.

I still think another attempt should be made. Push them hard! Do it via the clients, do it via Miles Young or Sir Martin Sorrell. Lagao all the pressure!

It’s not a Fevicol ‘jod’ yet… and am sure the impossible can be achieved.

In the interests of God, awards and advertising 🙂


As for the energy, let’s send the Red Bull kids!


MxMIndia believes that the advertising fraternity must get together and ensure unity. Forums like Goafest and the Abby must not be allowed to fade in importance and/or value.


See link:

Advertising Club mancom:




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One response to “MxM Comment: Sad to see an Abby minus Ogilvy… Time to ‘lagao’ pressure to get ’em back!”

  1. R Mane says:

    Y the fuss about non-participation from Ogilvy? Aren’t we tired seeing them take to the stage to bag their awards for every other category – year after year? Leave aside the biggies, I guess independent agencies should take the leap and try and get this loss to work in their favour!