As it turns out, this year's Abby Awards did have its share of controversy after all - albeit a small one that was mercifully sorted out without much ado, it must be added. In fact, considering things have been satisfactorily resolved by all concerned, one could even ask whether the issue warrants further mention. At one level, it doesn't. Certainly not from the hot-out-of-the-oven, 'scoop' perspective that triggers a rush of adrenalin in hardnosed newshounds. But in a couple contexts, it definitely merits discussion. One, we shall dwell upon straightaway, in this story. The other we shall reserve for lengthy debate in just a while.
But first, for those who came in late, the issue in a nutshell. As per a media report in Bombay Times dated April 9, a gold Abby awarded to Leo Burnett India for an interactive website design for horror flick Darna Mana Hai (in the New Interactive Media category) sparked off the issue, with online promotions company Hungama.com claiming to have created the award-winning website. Hungama, it appears, brought this to the notice of the Bombay Ad Club, informing the Club that it (Hungama) had received the mandate for the site from Varma Corporation (filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma's company). The issue was referred to Bal Palekar, chairperson of this year's awards judging committee, and the Bombay Times story quoted MG Parameswaran, president of the Advertising Club of Bombay, as saying that letters from Hungama, Leo Burnett and Varma Corporation were sought. "After looking at various aspects, the Ad Club took a decision to award the Abby to Hungama, and this has been clarified to all concerned," Parameswaran was quoted in the article.
All's well that ends well, one could say. So without lingering on the mini-controversy, let's get onto that aspect of the issue that we said merited discussion. It pertains to the withdrawn Abby gold and the implications of the withdrawal on the creative agency hierarchy. A quick scan of the pre-withdrawal Abby ranking table shows that while O&M India (with 33 points) and McCann-Erickson India (with 8 points) were the No 1 and No 2 agencies, respectively, Burnett India and rmg david tied for the third spot with 6 points each. Burnett, by virtue of two gold Abbys, had a psychological edge over rmg, of course. Rediffusion | DYR followed Burnett and rmg with 5 points.
Now let's look at the revised (read post-withdrawal) Abby ranking table. O&M and McCann stay unaffected at the top. Burnett, however, has had to forfeit 2 points for the withdrawn award (every gold Abby is worth 2 points). As a result, the agency is down to 4 points, enabling rmg david to become the unchallenged No 3. In the process, Rediffusion has also marched ahead of Burnett. The upshot is the while Burnett previously held the joint third spot with rmg, it now has to be content sharing the fifth position with Enterprise Nexus and Ambience Publicis.
However, it is Hungama.com that appears to have benefited the most, leaping up the Abby ranking in one swift stroke. Pre-withdrawal, the company had just one silver Abby against its name, and was occupying the bottom-cluster of the Abby table. Now with a gold Abby for the Darna Mana Hai website, Hungama has 3 points to show. In fact, Hungama is just one of three organization that have won 3 points at Abby 2004 - the other two being Saatchi & Saatchi India and JWT India. © 2004 agencyfaqs!First Published : April 12, 2004