afaqs!

Five more Indians in the jury for AdFest 2009

By Abhishek Chanda , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 09, 2009
Six Indians are in the jury panel so far, including one who will preside over two categories

Just after Karl Gomes became part of the jury for the Cyber Lotus at AdFest 2009, five more Indian creative hotshots have been identified for jury duty for the award show. AdFest, which is the only regional advertising festival for the recognition and celebration of the diversity of Asian creativity, will be held from March 19 to 21 at Pattaya.

Santosh Padhi, chief creative officer and chairman/ partner, Taproot India will judge the Film Lotus and Radio Lotus categories, both presided over by Sir John Hegarty, chairman and worldwide creative director, BBH.

Shalini & #BANNER1 & # Dam, national creative director, Grey India will judge the Outdoor Lotus category, presided over by Suthisak Sucharittanonta, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO Bangkok.

Karl Gomes, national creative director, Digital, Rediffusion - Y&R, India will judge the Cyber Lotus category, presided over by Koshi Uchiyama, creative director, GT Inc./(suit) men entertainment, Tokyo.

Nishad Ramachandran, group creative director, Contract Advertising, India will judge the Direct Lotus category, presided over by Selina Ang, executive director, OgilvyOne Worldwide, Malaysia.

Sudhir Sharma, founder director and principal designer, Elephant Strategy + Design will judge the Design Lotus and Print Craft Lotus categories, both presided over by Vince Frost, creative director/CEO, Frost*Design, Sydney.

Prasoon Pandey, director, Corcoise Films, India, will judge the 360 Lotus, Innova Lotus and Lotus Roots categories, all presided over by Sir John Hegarty. Pandey himself will preside over two categories, Film Craft Lotus and New Director Lotus.

Most of the jury members, when asked about the key differentiators between creativity in Asia and in the rest of the world, identified the emotional factor that is widely infused in Asia's creative output. However, most of them failed to list the Indian work that had bright prospects for AdFest. They maintained that there would be a number of repeat entries, since some of the work shortlisted at Cannes would make its way to AdFest.

Speaking to afaqs!, Pandey comments on his expectations from India at the awards. "I haven't noticed anything stark as far as new films on Indian TV screens are concerned, at least nothing on the scale of a Happydent. However, I'm expecting some fresh and clutter-breaking work once I reach Pattaya and take my seat at the jury table."

Pandey is particularly excited about the New Director category, which has been introduced recently. He says, "This is one category where you chance upon a lot of fresh talent. Most of these directors are not contaminated with the regular advertising work, and therefore, they think fresh." Pandey has also been on the jury of the Clios in 2007 and 2008.

Ramachandran, though happy about the prospect of judging, is worried about culture specific nuances getting lost in translation. He says, "Asia has around 800 languages, which have to be boiled down to one single language, English - something that we understand instantly. Therefore, the local punch gets lost in the process. Especially in direct marketing, the more sensitive nuances of the campaign tend to fade out, as compared to TV advertising." This is his second stint as a juror. Previously, he had judged the Direct Lions at Cannes 2008.

Sharma of Elephant Strategy + Design, who has previously judged the inaugural Design Lions at Cannes 2008, is glad that he is representing India at such a juncture, where design has begun gaining recognition at international festivals. On the uniqueness of Indian design, he says, "As compared to the Americans and the Europeans, Indians tend to keep up with the times. Their creativity reflects the contemporary. Compared to that, the West tends to shift towards the retro and the classic. A good part of our culture is revealed in the use of our colour palette, textures and layouts."

He feels Indian design agencies produce a lot of good work. However, very little of this gets representation in advertising awards shows. With the advent of design specific categories, Indian work will stand a better chance of winning.

Other prominent creative people, including Prasoon Joshi, Piyush Pandey, Raghu Bhat, Emmanuel Upputuru, Debojyoti Purkayastha and Ashish Chakravarty have been part of the AdFest jury in previous years.