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Madras Ad Club honours Srinivasan Swamy with Distinguished Service Award

Advertising Club Madras, in its Diamond Jubilee year, presented its prestigious Distinguished Service Award to Srinivasan K Swamy, Chairman & Managing Director, RK Swamy BBDO. The legendary RK Swamy was honoured with the first award in 1994 and Srinivasan Swamy is the sixth recipient of this award in the last 22 years.

The award is for his exceptional leadership and service to the Indian advertising industry.The award was presented by N Murali, Co-Chairman, The Hindu, who was the Chief Guest of the evening. The event, held on the evening of March 3, 2016, was attended by the veterans of the advertising industry.

RV Rajan, Past President of Advertising Club and Founder President of Rural Marketing Agencies Association of India; Ramesh Narayan, Past President of AAAI; N Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant; and DK Srinivasan, Honorary Secretary of Hindu Mission Hospital, felicitated Swamy on the occasion.

Advertising Club President KR Skandaraaj welcomed the gathering, while P Siva Prasad, Vice President, proposed a vote of thanks. Jagannath Ramaswamy, Past President of the Club, played host to the meeting.

N Murali warmly congratulated Swamy or ‘Sundar’ on his outstanding achievement. Drawing a parallel between his father, RK Swamy, and him, N Murali said that both worked for the industry in different economic environments. RK Swamy worked at a time when advertising was seen as a necessary evil but a wasteful expenditure. He spoke of the huge contributions of both RK Swamy and Srinivasan Swamy to industry associations, specially the AAAI. “By sheer dint of his abilities and fighting spirit, he (RK Swamy) breached that bastion when he took on the leadership role at AAAI. He was the first person from this part of the country to do that. The only second person to have done that is Sundar (Srinivasan) Swamy,” N Murali further said.

With huge disruptions happening in the advertising industry, Murali commented that “RK Swamy BBDO today is probably the only agency of its size that is full service under its own umbrella, and credit for that should go to Sundar and his team”.

Ramesh Narayan, Past President of AAAI, tracing his association, mentioned that the Goafest was the brainchild of Srinivasan Swamy. He also movingly spoke of the ‘human’ side of Srinivasan Swamy and as a steadfast friend. He added, “Swamy may have been unwelcome to Mumbai in the late 90s, but he today is most popular there!”

N Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant thanked Sundar for the contribution that he and his colleagues had made to help Cognizant grow. He complimented Sundar as person who always wanted to help others. Quoting from RK Swamy’s biography, he said, “We carry a responsibility to the industry. No amount of time or money is an excess in serving the industry. It is the hand that feeds us”, and added that Sundar indeed lived by these principles.

DK Srinivasan Honorary Secretary of Hindu Mission Hospital, of which Srinivasan Swamy is the President, shared the innumerable instances when both RK Swamy in the early days and Srinivasan Swamy later had rendered incomparable services in fund raising, in organising events and in constantly advising and helping the ‘not for profit’ hospital or the Valluvar Gurukulam Schools, of which he is the Chairman.

RV Rajan talked about how the award got to be instituted in 1994 to honour RK Swamy principally. He also recalled his association with RK Swamy and later with Srinivasan Swamy. He delved into how the two generational representatives have left an indelible imprint on the Indian advertising industry.

The citation presented talked of various contributions made by Swamy to the various institutions he touched and the indelible mark he left behind while he was in their helm.

Srinivasan Swamy’s 5 key contributions

In his acceptance speech Srinivasan Swamy said that to him, the Award from the Advertising Club Madras was the most coveted one among his other awards received till now. As his contribution, he picked five aspects among many others to speak on.

The first was leading and building a relationship between IBF and AAAI as an ‘institution to institution’ relationship and on an ‘equal’ footing. He warmly recalled his role as Chairman of the joint industry body of IBF-AAAI for seven years and the camaraderie that was present between the executives from both sides.

The second contribution he listed was that of starting Goafest, and from day-one, how this was embraced by the constituents as a holistic festival comprising seminars, awards and fun place to be.

The third contribution that Swamy listed as meaningful was that of inviting media agencies to be part of AAAI under a Media forum which eventually lead to their being part of AAAI membership.

The fourth aspect highlighted by him was the fact that he helped set up Confederation of Asian Advertising Agency Associations (CAAAA); and the fifth point was on transforming IAA from a low profile organisation in India to that of being recognised as the most active industry body not just in India, but globally as well.

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