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AGC's safe and inclusive planning for the Abby Awards

Early in February this year Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and The Advertising Club Bombay (ACB) announced that Goafest 2011 will be hosted at the Zuri White Sands, a five-star resort in Varca, South Goa from 5th to 9th April.

The most important of all the announcement also included the Abby Awards still being part of the mega event. This year, the Abby Awards will be spread over two days -- the Media Awards on the 8th of april and the Creative Awards on the 9th of April. The creative and media Abbys will be managed by the Awards Governing Council (AGC), chaired by Shashi Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, LodestarUM.

The AGC is a nine-member committee comprising Sundar Swamy from RK Swamy BBDO; Arvind Sharma, Chairman and Chief executive officer, Leo Burnett; Sunil Lulla, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Times Global Broadcasting; Ajay Chandwani, Director, Percept; Ajay Kakkar, Chief Marketing Officer, Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group; Suman Srivastava, CEO, Euro RSCG India; Nagesh Alai, President, AAAI, and Bhaskar Das, President, ACB.

The Awards have been embroiled in a lot controversies in the past few years. From self-voting to problems dealing with some of the entries, in a bid to avoid the mistakes of last year, the committiee has had several meetings and has revised the judging process to make it more transparent. The AGC also had a joint meeting of Creative Directors for suggestions on making the judging process accurate.

Adgully tried gauge the reactions on the awards and the AGC's efforts in planning accuracy this time around.

Sinha, says, "We are not looking at major changes but we are bringing in some minor changes in terms of protocol. We have had several meeting and we also had a joint meeting with creative directors and have chalked out better auditing systems. We are trying our best to make it cotroversy free because end of the day we want the best entry to win. We are here for fair play."

Kakkar adds, "I do believe that the Abby awards are an industry forum to recognize and reward inspiring creative work. Over the years, the Abbys have scaled newer highs, and along with the Goafest are oft seen as the Cannes of India. The Ad Club and AAA of I are committed to jointly taking it to even greater heights, carrying all the key stakeholders with us. I do believe that this year will be a water-shed year in the history of the awards, with the passionate support of the creative and advertising fraternities."

Talking about his personal views on the awards, K V Sridhar (Pops), National Creative Director, Leo Burnett India, says, "Awards are always good if they are respected. In my view Abbys are losing respect because of too many controversies around rules and processes.Now its time for the industry to put its heads together and sort them out."

He further adds as his expectations from the AGC- "To make the rules clear to every one to end ambiguity, to make the process transparent and to create an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and professionalism. Most importantly to have an open and honest debate on quality of ideas and its worthiness to win an award."

Though the committee has done what it could and fixed the safety valves it will be interesting to see a successful run of the energetic Abbys this year too. God speed! | By Prabha Hegde [prabha(at)adgully.com]

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