Jaldi 5 with Anupriya Acharya: Need for more enthusiasm around awards

24 Mar,2014

With just two winners and one commendation at the Festival of Media Asia Pacific that concluded last week in Singapore, there have been question marks raised on the quality of work done in the country. While Mediacom bagged a prize for Gillette and PHD for Brooke Bond Tea, Madison Media Infinity received a ‘highly recommended’ tag for Parachute Advansed Hair Oil.


We spoke with Anupriya Acharya, CEO, ZenithOptimedia Group India who was on the jury of the FOMA APAC on what went wrong.


01. Just two winners and commendation from India. And this is where we are competing with just APAC entries. Does this speak for the kind of work Indian media agencies are producing?

Yes, it was indeed a bit disappointing but then the shortlisted entries this year were down to 13 from the whopping 31 last year! While this was my first jury experience at Asia level, I have closely followed this space of regional and global awards. I gauge that the competition is increasing tremendously with each passing year, with more countries and more brands and agencies participating. In fact even at the Asia level, the work is quite globally competitive – 12 shortlists in Festival of Media Global recently from India is a case in point.


02. Anything noteworthy that you would like to highlight?

The few things which truly caught my attention was that the quality of AVs has improved tremendously but Australia still stands head and shoulder above the rest in that aspect. Something we must learn from. The other thing is that a large number of the entries, especially the Indian entries, is dominated by FMCG brands – where traditionally the strategic planning and hence just the sheer competence of articulating the entry, as well as availability of added data-points to demonstrate the results is, in general, better.


03. So what should the media agency agencies be doing?

I think we, as an industry, should encourage and spread enthusiasm around awards for some of the other categories too. I find some very good work happening there.


04. The Best use of Mobile is possibly the first big ‘Mobile’ award India is winning amongst advertising industry awards. Are we now producing better work? Do you think we could get more awards in Mobile at Cannes?

Yes, as an industry, the work on mobile is becoming better. More and more marketers are rising to the acceptance of it being an integral part of their communication and even sales plan. More importantly, in the Indian context, a lot of work is linked to feature phones rather than smartphones. These solutions require some massive data and tech support, given the sheer volumes and numbers of the country. This aspect gets lost to the the jury coming from the developed markets and they feel that some of these solutions are so archaic. Hence it is imperative that some key points are brought forth: the penetration of feature phones and its context in India, the fact that it is the largest medium, crossed TV too, that most consumers that can be reached by this cannot still be reached by any other media and the sheer complexity of execution given the volumes.


05. Any specific global trends that you would like to highlight?

I am still finding the digital, social, entries a bit weak and part reason of this could be that maybe a lot more work in these areas gets directed to the specialist digital awards rather than platforms like FOMA. We will have to do some work in that area. I do believe that as more and more digital specialist shops get into more mainstream solutions for advertisers and more generalists agencies get into specialist offerings given acquisitions and always on training, this divide will become lesser.


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