MxMIndia Comment: Sad. If Publicis Worldwide stays away from the Abby

01 Feb,2017


MxMIndia Comment

By Pradyuman Maheshwari


While every agency has the right to participate or stay away from the Abby, the Publicis Worldwide decision to not send entries for Abby 2017 is shocking. And sad.

According to a report in The Economic Times on Tuesday, the new Publicis Communications CEO Saurabh Varma attributed the reason to a desire to focus more on the big large international shows.“Both Bobby and I are aligned on that decision,” Varma told ET. The reference being to Bobby Pawar, Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Publicis Worldwide.

The decision is on expected lines given Varma’s stated belief that Leo Burnett will not participate in the Abby. In fact since Varma took charge in November 2013. Leo Burnett hasn’t participated in the Abby since the 2014 edition.

While it’s clear that Varma and Leo Burnett and Publicis Communications (the holding company of PublicisGroupe creative and PR agencies of which he was appointed CEO in December 2016) do not have problems with the Advertising Club, since Leo Burnett has been participating in the Effies conducted by the Ad Club, the decision to stay away from the Abby is worrying.

Let’s steer clear of the possible embarrassment it has caused to Nakul Chopra, longstanding CEO Publicis Worldwide who is also President of the Advertising Agencies Association of India, the apex body of advertising agencies in the country. That’s something Messrs Varma, Chopra and Pawar need to discuss internally.

Our bigger worry is that yet another key player in the Indian advertising is going to stay away from participating in the Abby awards. The Mullen Lowe Lintas Group, Ogilvy and Leo Burnett have already been sitting out. There are also some small agencies like Creativeland Asia who have had issues with the Abby. McCann Worldgroup chose to return last year, albeit with a token participation. This year, hopefully, it will return with more entries.

As mentioned earlier, it’s not that the biggies have any problems with the Ad Club. They participate in the Effie with much enthusiasm.

But the boycott of the Abby doesn’t speak too well for the industry and the Abby award. Agency bosses say that the non-participation isn’t a dampner for their creative teams.

It must be added here that the decision to stay away from award holds true for Kyoorius Advertising Awards too for Lowe and Leo. Ogilvy does participate and win big at Kyoorius.

It’s critical the Advertising Club and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and industry honchos get together and find a solution to the problem.

Over the years, the processes of the Abby Awards have been streamlined and cleansed.

We have heard murmurs that entry fees to these awards are a stretch on agency budgets. Perhaps. There are suggestions that it should be more of clients and not just agencies who should be on the jury. There are also some who say one of the reason why some don’t participate is because they haven’t done enough good work.

It’s important that the industry works jointly to save an awards event that is its own.


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