Credibility of Abby has been restored: Pratap Bose

13 Apr,2015

Is there anything to ask, Advertising Club’s Pratap Bose asked us, minutes after announcing the 2015 edition of the Abby Awards. The awards have been controversy-free so far, and save the non-participation of some of the bigger advertising agencies, they could be termed a huge success. In this Q&A, Mr Bose speaks to Pradyuman Maheshwari on how the awards have been this year, and whether the Ad Club will ever be able to bring Ogilvy and Lintas back to participate.


Your broad view of how the Abby Awards have been this year…

I think on the personal front I am happy because we continued with what we did last year. My objective was to deliver a fair and controversy-free process at Goa, which will ultimately bring back the confidence of most advertisers in the future. Now, whether they come next year, or the year after, I won’t hazard a guess. But I think the credibility of the event, the awards and the awards metals we gave out, have been restored.


Would you say it was scam-free also?

That’s a debate I can have for three days with you. What is the definition of a scam? We are not the Interpol at the Ad Club. It’s work that has ticked all the boxes in terms of the process. That’s been done and adhered to. It is very difficult to say it is a scam ad. Has it been created just for the awards? If that is the case, it’s been sanctioned, it’s been delivered, the client’s approved it and it’s gone out in the market, on even one release. Can you then call it a scam? I think you should be able to answer that question.


JWT is the No 1 agency in terms of the number of metals (it has won). But then, Since you’ve not had an Ogilvy or Lowe participating in the Abby. Do you think JWT can rightfully say they are the No 1 creative agency in the country?

We don’t take the position on whether they are No 1 or not. I think they have won the most number of metals in terms of the actual number of awards. In that sense they have been the most successful agency. It would be unfair of me to comment  on whether they are the most creative agency or not. Our job is to deliver an awards event that celebrates creativity. That’s always been the mantra at Goafest. We haven’t gone back to the old days where we declared an ‘Agency of the Year’.


What do think will get an Ogilvy and Lowe to come back?

I think it’s largely the leadership at the top which takes those calls. It’s not going to be easy. For example, Balki has clearly said I’m not going to enter the creative awards though the Grand Prix winner this year – Linen Lintas – is part of the same group. I don’t know whether he is going to smirk or have a smile on his face (because of this). But I think it’s difficult for anyone else to say whether they would participate or not because at the end of day, it is the boss who needs to decide.


You’ve been leading the Ad Club and the Abby for two years. Must be sad to see these guys not participating. Is it a kind of unfinished agenda?

Of course, if you had every agency in the country participating without exception, that’s always the best cake you could get. But life is not always about pretty roses.


How do you take it to the next level?

That’s something we need to get back to the drawing board for, because Goafest is a templated event over three days. It has graduated from two days, to three.


Will Abby continue to be part of Goafest?

Yes, that is the intention as we go forward.


One of the reported reasons for an Ogilvy to not participate in the Abby is it’s not in Mumbai…

Well, no one holds any one at ransom. An agency can’t decide where the awards ceremony is going to be held.


You think combining an Abby with an Effie will help bring back Lowe and Ogilvy, both of whom participate in the Effie?

Both the events are completely different. This is a creative show.


One message to the people who did not participate…

Goafest is a celebration of work. I would say there is nothing you gain by not participating. And you only stand to gain when you do. We are not ranking agencies over here; that’s the media’s job. But I think it’s for the younger people that work in the agency, to give them a sense of pride, a sense of achievement in their hard work. That’s one of the biggest reasons I would recommend every agency to participate.


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