Effies are genuine awards: Joseph George

19 Dec,2016


Joseph George, Regional President – South & Southeast Asia & Group CEO – India, MullenLowe Lintas Group:


Joseph George

Congratulations. Second consecutive year…

Thank you so much. I would like to see it as three out of four.


What do you attribute the success to?

I think what I am most pleased about is the culture in the agency and as Group CEO what makes me the happiest is that there is a culture across functions and through the line. Right from the top to the bottom in having a point of view on what is good work and almost the entire agency believes that if it’s got to be effective, it’s got to be creative and I think this agency for the longest time have been trying to break this myth that either you do creative work or effective work because we genuinely believe if it’s not going to be creative, it’s not going to be effective


What the Ad Club/Effies Captains say: 

Raj Nayak, President, The Advertising Club

The success recipe of Effies:

In a city like Mumbai to get 1200 people in an evening is not an easy task and also another thing which happens with Effies is that a lot of clients also come here. I think it’s to do with two things, one-there is something for the client because the awards are for the client and the agency which is not true in Abbys and two is also the fact that it’s in Mumbai. Clients are based here so it’s easy for them to come.


Thoughts on bettering it next year:

That is a challenge we have every year. We compete with ourselves because I don’t think there is any other award in the industry which is in stature bigger than the Abbys or bigger than Effies or even bigger than Emvies and that’s a huge challenge that we have. It’s not like patting myself in the back or patting the Ad Club in the back but these are awards that have been there for fifteen-sixteen years. So, over the years, a lot of people have ben involved with it so it has grown in stature. There is a legacy behind this but the biggest challenge we have is to compete with ourselves in the sense of every year we keep saying, how do we better the benchmark and this year Vikram Sakhuja and Mitrajit Bhattacharya took ownership of this. I am just the President of the Club but they are the ones who made this year’s Effies happen.


Vikram Sakhuja, Chair, Effies 2016

Your overall views on Effies this year:

I think it was a glorious success. I thought we got some fantastic work from a huge diaspora of agencies. We saw at least five or six pieces of work which were truly stunning and you could make out by the number of times they all came to stage. It was also great because we captured a pretty large variety of effectiveness right from great films to great use of media to amazing use of insights to maybe just understanding the strategic challenge in a proper way. It was a full package.


A view on the entries:

Last year we had about fifteen-twenty% growth. On a base of 600 we have grown another 20% to 730 entries. It’s an awards which has got credibility, it’s coveted by both Lions and agencies and its just great to know that our help built a brand and if you have the industry telling you that what better validation could it be for the industry that we are in.


Effies going forward:

Effies is not so much about bells and whistles, it’s more about the real work. So a lot depends on what the industry turns out. I think what I would be interested in doing is taking some of the learnings from Effies and we have curated a lot of learnings from some amazing 300 judges, at least 200 of whom have responded which we want to take in a road show with stuff that has worked.


Mitrajit Bhattacharya, Co-Chair, Effies 2016 

View as Co-chair:

Actually it’s a continuous process of evolution. Effies is not about anything new. Effies is doing the same thing better because we learn every year. We have our ears and eyes open, we speak to people, we speak to the participants, we speak to the agencies, we figure out what has gone wrong, we figure out what can be improved upon and we work on them. So I would say, it’s a very feedback driven process. It’s not that we do things differently but we try to improve upon the same thing and try to make things better.


Improvements for next year:

I would like to give a few more days for all of us because it’s really cut to cut. So agencies complain they don’t have enough time, the Ad Club secretary complaint they don’t have enough time, the jury. It would be nice if we had a week more or ten days more to just plan things out better. Otherwise I think it’s a continuous improvement and it’s a process which is pretty much in place.


How important is the client?

Extremely important. The only reason why we do not enter creative awards is that I refuse to enter awards which do not into account why was a piece of work done and what did it result into and if clients partner us in (which they do) in exactly articulating what is the objective and these are the metrics that I want movement on and if that’s the case then clients play a critical role and that’s why Effies are genuine awards that award both clients and agency because without each of them you can’t be clear as to what is the objective and what are the metrics you want movement on. So they are very critical unlike in creative awards they might not be that critical.


Until last year, it was a two-agency race unlike this year where we saw a host of other agencies. What does it mean for you next year?

I don’t think we really change the way we work depending on who all were in the competition the previous year. We just put our heads down and like I said I am a low profile CEO and I think so is the agency. We just put our head down, we look at brands, we try and deliver work on it and move on and if there are other agencies who do well, in fact I remember you asking me a question saying that why is it only between Ogilvy and Lowe and thankfully that’s not the case this year. McCann has done some fantastic work, Mudra has done some fantastic work, DDB has done some fantastic work which is great for the industry because it’s a very simple reason why I think it’s great. These things add to the ability of the industry to attract talent which is such a big issue right now but when you see examples of how creativity actually makes such a difference on brands and mind movements I am hoping these are the things that actually help attracting good talent in coming to the industry.


Any trend or highlight from this year that’s worth highlighting?

One of the things that seems to be quite the flavour and I don’t think it’s just this year. We have been seeing this over the past one or two years is that work that creates and causes three things-conversation, engagement and behavioural change. If you look at all the stuff that is actually winning or recognised is this. Is it changing behaviour? Is it generating conversation? Is it causing engagement? and that seems to be the flavour. It’s not rocket science but these are the three pillars around which more and more great conversation is built around.


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