Announcing: The 2016 MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year: Ashish Bhasin

09 Dec,2016


By Pradyuman Maheshwari [Updated]

It’s the appointed day. December 9, 2016. And since we don’t ‘conduct’ the award presentation offline, we aren’t dependant on venue availability and rates negotiations. Hence, we do the awards on a weekend, not a weekday… when the mood is just right. Celebrate if you are happy with the announcement, or give us the choicest expletives (yes, you got it right, expletives means gaalis!) if you thought someone else deserved it more.

(Note: The MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year Award was until last year called the Mediaahperson of the Year Award… an earlier version of this story which has found its way to the social media had the image errorneously saying Mediaahperson when it ought to have been Mediaperson…)

So how are we different from other awards?

First, it’s not based on a survey. It’s not based on any industry poll. But it’s based on a study conducted by me through the year. This makes the decision-making tougher, as we can’t pass the blame on to research. Or the collective view of the industry. Or of a jury.

Second, it’s an A&M industry study. Agreed CEOs are important, but we are looking at CMOs and not CEOs of well-marketed organisations.

Third, we look at performance through the year, and don’t base it on the highs of the last two quarters of a year which tend to influence any voting-based process.

Fourth, we give you a clear reason why we have chosen the winner, and why we didn’t choose others who may have done some striking work.

And fifth, we are as sincere and honest about the awards as one can get. There were suggestions that we should make it an on-ground event. But then that comes with its own set of issues. We even had one large media group expressing its interest last year. But we think it would’ve influenced our decision. Perhaps next year, with some more wisdom in our blood streams.

So: the MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year 2016 is an online award. It’s an accolade that’s for the truly well-deserving. And for the True Achiever of 2016 in the Indian Media, Advertising & Marketing arena.

With the backgrounders done, here’s  how we went about our task.

I’ve always maintained a notebook that records important developments of the year. Since one started out in an era when there was no Google, it’s a drill that ensures one can do recaps etc with ease.

So for the Mediaperson of the Year, one reviews names, quarter-wise. This helps that the choice of the award doesn’t suffer from the recency factor.

We looked at various names. Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna was one entity that made it to our shortlist. But other than just investing huge monies in advertising and taking on the MNCs, there wasn’t enough for them to be out Mediaperson of the Year 2016.

We also had Arnab Goswami in the shortlist, but there were a large number of negative attributes for him, and that ruled him out of the final three.

From this year, we have also added the Big 25 media entities into our checklist. For, it takes a lot to ensure that it’s business as usual. And who are these people?  Samir and Vineet Jain,  The Guptas of Dainik Jagran, The Agarwals of Dainik Bhaskar, CVL Srinivas, Shashi Sinha, Piyush Pandey, Uday Shankar, Subhash Chandra and Punit Goenka, Sudhanshu Vats and Raj Nayak, Prasoon Joshi, R Balki… just some indicative names to give you an idea of the list. This is a dynamic list, so an R Balki will move out next year.

Other than turning MP, Subhash Chandra started playing a slightly more active role in the entertainment business as also launched the English news channel.

Another set of names we had in our shortlist were Sudhanshu Vats  and Raj Nayak (collectively and separately for Nayak). There’s a lot of growth that happened there with Vats assuming leadership roles in the industry in a bigger way. Also, for Raj Nayak, the success of Goafest and the Abby Awards ensured that he continues to play a significant role in the ecosystem besides ensuring Colors was the #1 Hindi GEC at significant times in the year.

So who’s the MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year 2016?

We were looking at someone who has made a significant impact in the year. Has achieved it against several odds.  Also, this achievement should have been through the year or if it happened only in one part of the year, then it should stand out amongst the various others.

We have great pride in announcing that the MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year Award goes to…

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO – South Asia at Dentsu Aegis Network, and Chairman Posterscope and MKTG – Asia Pacific.

Ashish Bhasin

Bhasin is on the road to achieve the ranking of the second-largest media services conglomerate in the country. After WPP, that is. His role is unique from that of the others. While WPP has a country head, Ranjan Kapur doesn’t play an executive role, like Bhasin. Other international networks such as Publicis, IPG, Havas do not have  a single head of business. There’s Madison, of course, headed by Sam Balsara, but the network doesn’t have a significant presence in creative advertising.

Other than being on a shopping spree in the form of agency acquisitions, Bhasin has had a great ride this year. It started last October with Carat bagging the Mondelez business from Madison. But the shift happened with effect from January 2016. There were acquisitions in the form of Perfect Relations and Happy Creative Services.  Taproot was on a roll with awards and some top quality creative work and even its other creative agencies were on a high.

It may be remembered that Aegis Media was a loss-making-50-staffer company. Not many thought this company would go far. Except for Ashish Bhasin.

Ex- Executive Vice President and Asia Regional Director – Integrated Marketing Lowe Worldwide, President – SSC&B Lintas and President – Initiative Media felt differently and had big dreams for Aegis Media, and came in and turned things around. He was given control of the entire Dentsu Aegis Network, a company with over 2700+ employees as well as an envious leadership team at the centre of it all, with industry leading profits, in the short span of only six years.

DAN is home to 18 independent businesses, reportedly growing organically at 300 per cent. In addition, Bhasin has taken charge as Chairman of the Goafest 2017 organising committee. H e was an integral part of several global juries including Cannes Lion 2007 and 2016, the Dubai Lynx 2008, the Festival of Media Global 2013 (in Montreux) and the Asia’s Most Promising Brands and Leaders 2013. He also holds several industry positions, and received a coveted award from Campaign South Asia recently.

A truly deserving winner of the 2016 MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year Award. Taaliyaan!

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One response to “Announcing: The 2016 MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year: Ashish Bhasin”

  1. Amith Prabhu says:

    good choice!

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