‘There is space for more creative awards’

20 Aug,2015



As President, Srinivasan K Swamy has breathed new life into the India chapter of the International Advertising Association making it unarguably the most active body for advertising, media and marketing professionals in the country. And just when he had achieved the impossible with an event like the silver jubilee summit that is scheduled for September 3-5 in Kochi, he has announced the IndIAA Awards. Hours after the announcement was made, Swamy spoke to Pradyuman Maheshwari of MxMIndia on IndIAA, its highlights and whether it will impact the other awards for the creative fraternity.


So IAA too has jumped on to the awards?

We have been discussing for nearly two years that we should have an award for advertising that’s not just for the sake of creativity but an award for making a difference to the marketplace. We’ll award good, creative work coming from Top 20 categories based on audience response. We’ll see all that’s happened in the last one year – July 2014 to June 2015 and get people to also nominate what they’ve missed out and we will shortlist this on certain parameters. We have a wonderful set of jury members. We’ll put it in front of them and they’ll handpick the winners. We have two awards for each category – one for an established brand and a challenger brand.


Unilever COO Haresh Manwani to chair all-new creative advertising award – IndIAA 

By A Correspondent


There are awards and awards and awards, and there’s yet another for India’s creative advertising craft. But this one is with a difference. For one, the top captains of big business are on the jury, and two: there’s no entry fee, and in fact all entries will be nominated.


Organised by the India chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) which is in its silver jubilee year, the IndIAA Awards is being billed to honour “real hardworking creative advertising.”


Chairing the jury is Harish Manwani,  Chief Operating Officer, Unilever and Non- Executive Chairman Hindustan Unilever with senior business leaders like D Shivakumar (Chairman & CEO, Pepsico India), Bhaskar Bhatt (MD, Titan), Mayank Pareek (President, Passenger Vehicles Unit, Tata Motors), Sangeeta Pendurkar (MD, Kellogg India), Sanjeeb Chaudhari (Global CMO and Regional Head – South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank) and B Sriram (MD, State Bank of India).


Said Manwani: “Creativity is critical to great advertising – advertising that ultimately helps to build successful brands. Effective advertising implies the existence of deep consumer insights, the rigour of a repeatable process between the client and agency and optimal level of  media spends.  Only then does a great creative idea get transformed into effective advertising.”


There is no entry fee for the awards, Srinivasan K Swamy, President, IAA India said. Asked whether this would compete with the major awards in the country – notably the Abby from the Advertising Club and the Kyoorius Awards, Swamy said there is space for all awards to co-exist.


Added Pradeep Guha, Chairman, IndIAA Awards: “In its inaugural edition, advertising campaigns that were released between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 will be honoured in multiple product and service categories. To qualify for an award, the campaign should have film (TV or Digital) as one of its elements. In each product or service category, no more than an overall winner and a challenger brand (a newcomer) would be awarded.”


The jury meeting is scheduled to happen on September 2 and the awards ceremony is likely to be held in early October 2015. Details on categories, criteria and nominees are available atindiaa-awards.org. Campaigns can be nominated by mailing a link of the film atawardsindia@gmail.com.


Is there space for another award?

You will be surprised. The kind of work that will be awarded is the work you and I enjoy sitting in our living rooms. Awards, otherwise, celebrate work which none of us have seen. There’s a big difference here. The awards won’t be just for creative agencies, but also for advertisers who co-created it, to the media agencies, digital agencies who’ve been part of amplifying it. Everybody will be called upon stage, the advertisers and the agencies related to them and they’ll be honored together.


In a sense you have that in the Effies which looks at effectiveness…

Effies are more process-driven in terms of the results delivered. But you don’t celebrate all the people on one platform. You don’t get the full team who co-created it to come on stage and get it.


You’ve been part of the Advertising Club, Goafest and 3As of I…  don’t you think the Abby could’ve been improved?

Talking about GoaFest and Abby, I think it has its own purpose and if people are ignoring it, it’s out of their own personal reasons. All awards have a role to play. Celebrating good work in whatever manner is always good and I won’t say Goafest, Cleo or Cannes have lost their relevance. All these awards have a purpose and the creators must celebrate their success there. This is special from our point of view where we’re talking about advertising that has made a difference in the marketplace and all of us sitting in our living room, enjoying that advertising; that will be seen for the first time in the awards shows.


Could we well see a IAA versus Goafest-3As of I- Advertising Club war?

No. As I said there is space for more awards. If we can have so many awards for feature films, why can’t we have more awards for creativity and advertising?


I am asking this because we don’t see the bonhomie between a Goafest Abby and Kyoorius after the latter has its own awards

Kyoorius is a private organisation award whereas Abby is certainly an industry association giving the  award. But you can’t ignore the fact that Kyoorius came and took some impetus away from Abby. That’s the division. When there was a division between Ad Club and 3As of I, a lot of effort was taken to bring them together on the Goafest platform. There’s very little difference between a Kyoorius and an Abbyaward. Both awards are for creativity, both have jury members, more often than not, it’s for work that more often we see in life. It’s still only the peripheral work that brings the awards.


Do you anticipate any problem between 3As of I and the IAA?

I think there’s enough space for a Kyoorius, Abby and IndIAA awards. People like to receive an award for the good work they’ve done. The more platforms celebrating it, it’s better for the creative perspective.


How have Ad Club and 3As of I reacted to it?

It’s possibly not been internalised by many. We’ve been working in the background and not made a serious announcement about it till yesterday. A few days ago, Campaign magazine broke that news. The more people realize there is another award coming up, they realize there is space for a lot more. There is a relevance for Kyoorius, Abby, Goafest… more awards is good, because more appreciation for good work is always good. As I said, there are so many film awards…


With agencies not having enough budgets for sending entries to awards, not charging an entry fee is a good idea?

Yes, all our works are nominated, they’re not entered. There’s the difference. There is also a process by which all good work can be nominated by the jury.


Nomination always means there can be an element of subjectivity. The best work may not necessarily come.

We also have a process of suo moto nominating, we also nominate ourselves. In front of the jury, all the good work is dropped into categories. We know what the 20 categories are. We know the brands of the 20 categories. We know what work has come out of those 20 categories and brands.


The fact that you have Haresh Manwani and D Shivkumar, you can be sure that a Lowe Lintas and an Ogilvy will participate.

They have no choice! I’m not even asking a Lowe Lintas or an Ogilvy to participate. We have a panel. We will review all the work and nominate work. If your work is good in our opinion, we nominate you for consideration to the jury. We’re not expecting an O&M or a Lintas Lowe to send in their work for consideration. We are going to pick the work from the public domain.


But, they have to come and accept the award.

They would be fools if they don’t! The client has to be there to accept the award. The person who co-created the work is going to be there for the award.


Yet again: do you expect fireworks thanks to the awards… amongst the industry associations?

There is space for multiple awards.


Given what’s happened in the past?

At one level, because award shows collect money, they are seen as commercial activity. We’re not just seeing it as commercial activity. We’re giving something back to the profession. We want to honour people who are doing genuine work, making a difference to the marketplace with their creativity and we want to get them on a platform where we can honor all of them… both, from the established and the emerging brand.


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