N. Shatrujeet

<FONT COLOR="#FF0033"><B>Triple A Awards 2003-04:</B></FONT> Big Three domination

Of the 117 awards that were given away this year, the three agencies, between themselves, claimed 55 trophies

The manner in which Leo Burnett India, Lowe and McCann Erickson India dominated the just concluded Triple A Awards 2003-04 can be assessed by looking at the final awards tally. Of the 117 awards that were given away this year, the three agencies, between themselves, claimed 55 trophies (Burnett won 23, Lowe won 17, while McCann won 15). Of the 19 golds that were awarded, Burnett, Lowe and McCann accounted for 14 (eight went to Burnett, while Lowe and McCann won three each). And not only did the trio win the bulk of the Showcase of the Year awards (six of the nine that were awarded, including three of the fours golds), they also claimed all four Best of the Best awards in the Press (Burnett), TV (Lowe), Radio and Outdoor (both McCann) categories. Incidentally, the only other agencies that had double-digit entries in the total awards tally were Ambience Publicis (12 awards) and Contract Advertising (10 awards).

agencyfaqs! spoke to the senior executives in creative at the three agencies for reactions to their respective wins:

Prasoon Joshi, regional creative director, South & South East Asia, McCann Erickson

On McCann's performance: "We have been performing consistently at award shows for a while now, and this is quite satisfying. I think the best thing is that while previously we were strong in television, we've now started getting it right in print, outdoor and radio as well. Also, while we've won a lot of awards for Coke in the past, this year, we won for a diverse range of brands such as Coke, Dabur Chyawanprash, Sweetex and NDTV. The spread has clearly increased, which is a good thing, especially considering we have been striving for this."

On the level of competition this year: "Good work has come out of different agencies this year, and different agencies have won. This is good for the industry as people, especially youngsters, are exposed to different flavours and styles of advertising. Though there is a personal interest in winning as many awards as possible, if one steps back and looks at it objectively, it's good that different styles of advertising are winning. Youngsters can learn from and be motivated by these different styles, which is better than there being just one voice or style to learn from."

On winning the Best of the Best in the Radio category, as well as winning the Showcase of the Year for Radio: "The inclusion of radio, as a category, was much needed, and I'm happy that even Cannes has taken note of the creative potential in this growing medium. The inclusion of radio will encourage youngsters to write for radio a lot more."

R Balakrishnan (Balki), executive creative director, Lowe

On the agency's return into the award circuit after two years: "Following an incident that happened in the past, we took a stance of not participating in awards for a while. It wasn't a conscious stance initially, but then we realized that by taking that stance, we could do the kind of advertising that we really believed in doing ? without having to put up with the pressure of winning awards. The reason we got back into awards is because we know we produce genuine work that is capable of winning, so why not go for it. And we thought the Triple A Awards were as good as any."

On Lowe's performance: "Winning awards feels exactly the same as it did back then. While winning is good, I'd have been happy if something that would not have worked in a typical jury had won here. I mean a Saint-Gobain would win anywhere, but the campaign for UB Export (which won a bronze in the Campaign of the Year category) was one of the most path-breaking pieces of work this year and deserved a platinum award. No beer brand has taken on a soft drink before, so the idea is big. Unfortunately, the ad will be lost because of the nuances in language, which is sad. That's exactly what happened to Coke's ?Thanda matlab?' campaign at Cannes. I also think there is a formatted idea of what constitutes great advertising. The definition of what is ?creative' is set in our heads, so some truly great ideas will be given a miss because they don't fit that definition. I still find it surprising that we in the jury are not tuned to judging great, new ideas. And till we do that, our clients won't take us and the awards we win seriously."

On the possible solution to the problem: "I think we have to figure out a new way of judging creative, and not just judging it the Cannes way. I think we have to pause and consider how an ad was done, and why it was done that way. I don't think we should evaluate 300 ads in one single sitting ? that way, we'll never have the time to think over an ad. I think the envelope needs to be pushed a bit more. No, I don't blame anyone for this? even I don't know how to do it, and it may be an impossible task."

Agnello Dias, executive creative director, Leo Burnett India

On Burnett's decision to participate in the Triple A Awards after three years: "We had not been participating in these awards for the past three years because when things were rather tight two-three years ago, the agency took a call on cost-cutting ? and this included sending entries to award shows. We also decided to focus on just one local award show (the Abbys) for the simple reason that it's hard to evaluate our people when the work wins at one award show and doesn't even figure in another. However, now with the agency doing better, with the AAAI having revamped the judging process and with Pops (KV Sridhar, national creative director, Leo Burnett India) being a key member of the judging committee, we saw that the Triple A Awards were as legitimate as the Abbys. Not only did the new format satisfy us, it obviously satisfied most other agencies too; which is why most of them decided to participate this year. And the fact that a lot of big agencies participated evened out the playing field and made participation more challenging and rewarding."

On Burnett's performance: "It feels particularly good because I personally didn't think we'd do so well. I can't say for the rest of the agency, but I thought we did much better than I expected."

On his winning the Copywriter of the Year award: "Again I admit I was pleasantly surprised. It's just that I had a quantum of work this year, so I entered for the Copywriter award for a lark."

© 2004 agencyfaqs!

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