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Leo Burnett's turn to keep away from Triple A Awards

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 30, 2002
Leo Burnett has decided against participating in the Triple A Awards 2001, choosing, instead, to enter its work only at the Abbys. The reason cited is, 'to ensure focus and clarity in its creative thrust'.


In a surprise move, Leo Burnett India has decided against participating in the Triple A Awards 2001, choosing, instead, to enter its work only at this year's Abby Awards. Speaking to agencyfaqs!, Agnello Dias, executive creative director, Leo Burnett India, said that the agency's decision "is currently underway" to the Triple A Awards committee.

The agency has apparently taken this decision 'in order to ensure focus and clarity in its creative thrust'. And although the agency insists that it is 'a strong believer in the AAAI (Advertising Agencies Association of India) as an association, and recognizes the objective behind its award show, the fact remains that too many award shows with varying categorizations tend to dilute the entire exercise.'

Expanding on what the agency means by 'to ensure focus and clarity in its creative thrust', Dias says, "It means that at the end of the year, we need to have a clear idea as to where we, as an agency, need to improve, and how we're going to get there. Now this becomes very difficult if it's hard to tell how well or badly we've performed in the first place." And the decision to enter its work only at the Abbys - and not even the other Ad Club Awards - stands. "In India, for this year, that seems to be the case," says Dias.

It may be recalled that last year too, during the run up to the Triple A Awards, there were rumours of Leo Burnett 'boycotting' the awards due to "mass rigging". Of course, Leo Burnett did very much participate in the Triple A Awards 2000, and won a bronze for itself. Interestingly, Leo Burnett subsequently won two golds (among other awards) at the last Abby Awards. Which raises the question of whether this 'discrepancy' has any bearing on the agency's current decision.

Dias rubbishes the suggestion, of course. "Going by such impeccable logic, we should have stopped entering all awards 10 years back," he snorts. "We haven't won a D&AD at all, and won just one bronze at Cannes, which means we're going to have to strike them off our list as well, sure!" But does the agency feel that consistency in judging is lacking in Indian awards ceremonies? "One does regularly come across inconsistency in judging. But to club it as 'agency feels' is a little too drastic," says Dias.

Now that Leo Burnett has decided on the Abbys, it does suggest that the agency feels the Abbys is the best platform for judging creativity. "Well, the Abby certainly seems to pick the most credible judges we have in the country as of now," Dias defends. "There also seems to be a healthy regard for pushing-the-envelope kind of work, rather than 'given the constraints' kind of advertising."

Coming close on the heels of O&M's decision to keep away from the awards, Leo Burnett's decision is, undoubtedly, a blow to the Triple A committee. And the issues that the O&M and Leo Burnett examples throw up are: one, whether the Triple A Awards are actually seen by Indian ad agencies as the 'industry's awards'; and two, whether there is any point in having multiple advertising awards, especially in a tough economic scenario.© 2002 agencyfaqs!

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