The creative fraternity from the advertising industry met to select the best radio ads of 2011 for the 9th Mirchi Kaan Awards. The jury included renowned professionals such as Ravi Deshpande, chairman and chief creative officer, Contract Advertising; Ramanuj Shastry, chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi; Prathap Suthan, chief creative officer, Iyogi; Priti Nair, founder and director, Curry-Nation; Malvika Mehra, national creative director and senior vice-president, Grey; Manohar Nayak, managing director, Lingo India;Amit Akali, senior vice-president and national creative director, Grey; Josy Paul, chairman and national creative director, BBDO India; Tista Sen, national creative director, JWT Mumbai; Rekha Nigam, managing director, Vihaan Communications and Deepa Krishnan, president, creative, Lowe Lintas.
Sonal Dabral, chairman and chief creative officer, DDB Mudra Group feels that some nominations reflect really great pieces of work. He mentions Uninor and Heinz as the spots that he personally found remarkable.
Dabral is of the opinion that in reality, there is a huge amount of captive audience for radio because of the state of vehicular traffic on the roads, specifically in a city like Mumbai. "It is high time that we gave importance to radio, because it is such a wonderful medium.. It is up to the creative agencies to come up with a solution that will help solve the problem of ignorance of radio as a medium," he adds.
This year, the theme of the Mirchi Kaan Awards is 'Listen, Learn, Shine'. It focuses solely on the quality of work in the developing industry of radio advertising. As a build up to the awards night, celebrated ad guru Tony Hertz will conduct a seminar on April 17 on the art and craft of radio advertising for aspirants from various ad agencies.
Appreciating this effort, Suthan says that the moral side of awards is to educate and enhance learning.
Mehra of Grey says that she looks forward to attend Hertz's session at the Mirchi Kaan Awards."There are very few spots that I have witnessed of late that are really breaking out of the formula or clichés," says Mehra speaking about advertising on radio.
Speaking on the nominations, Nair of Curry-Nation says that a lot of fresh voices are being heard this year. She says that in radio advertising, the connect to the product is very stretched and adds that unless it is an award show, no one takes the medium seriously.
Shastry says that radio has always been about writing. "The writing on radio has certainly improved," he says. Shastry, like Suthan, was a part of the jury in 2011 and earlier, too. "As compared to the earlier year, the clients have become brave and this has helped improve the quality of advertising on radio," he adds.
Shastry feels that the craft of radio is different in India. "As a nation, we are much louder and this reflects in our radio spots, too, which are much louder than the relatively muted ones abroad," he adds.
Nayak of Lingo India feels really strongly about radio. Lingo India, his decade old baby, has spots that are associated with awards in the Radio category for production excellence, crafting, scripting and sound design, be it the Goafest-ABBY awards, Mirchi Kaan, Rapa, Ava Awards or the international New York Fest, Asia Pacific Adfest and Effies.
Nayak says that even when the scripting is strong, the execution may not do justice to the script. "For radio advertising these days, the idea is generated in the morning, they book the studio in the afternoon, and they are out of the studio within the next two hours. This is not the way to do a radio spot," he explains.
Nayak feels that radio is all about brand conversation. "Radio speaks and it speaks in a human voice. But, when radio speaks, people listen through their ears. You have to make them see through their ears." In that context, Nayak declares that radio is no longer an audio medium but an audio-visual medium, "because you listen to audio and you visualise."
Deshpande of Contract opines, "Radio is an exciting medium if you take deep interest in it and if you are passionate about it." He too feels that there is room for improvement in every aspect of radio. "When you are advertising, you are searching for a great idea. It is important to know how a creative person can amplify this idea using radio as a medium," adds Deshpande.
Introduced in 2004, the Mirchi Kaan Awards acknowledges and honours the contribution of individuals and organisations that have led the way to create clutter breaking radio advertising. The award was instituted to encourage continued creative focus on radio advertising and is now synonymous with excellence in creativity in radio.
Speaking about the 9th Mirchi Kaan Awards, G G Jayanta, national head, marketing, Radio Mirchi, says, "Every year, the stakes get higher. In our 9th edition, the entries and the number of participating agencies have doubled. Also, the nominations have increased by around 50 per cent. The 9th edition of the Kaan Awards is known to have unprecedented response. There were a record 300 entries, a 50 per cent jump over last year. The number of agencies participating doubled to 33 agencies. And, the number of entries for the Best Use of Radio as a Medium saw a tripling of entries to a record 31. Entries were spread across 15 categories, ranging from food to cosmetics."