Ashwini Gangal

Longhand 2.0 announces results

Indian writers won six out of seven metals.

The results of Longhand 2.0, the long copy competition launched by Grey's Bodhisatwa Dasgupta earlier this year, are out. One gold and six bronze awards have been given away. The competition took place between January 15 and March 1, 2013.

Longhand 2.0 announces results
Longhand 2.0 announces results
Lyle Shemer, participant from JWT New York, won the sole gold. Interestingly, all six bronzes were won by writers from Indian agencies. The winners include Himanshu Saxena, copywriter, Draftfcb Ulka; Roy Abraham, creative director and copywriter, Thought Blurb; Anil Kakar, founder and chief creative officer, Gasoline; Vignesh Raja, copywriter, DDB Mudra Bengaluru; Mukund Sharma, executive creative director, Bates CHI & Partners Bengaluru; and Vijay Assudani, copywriter, Orchard Advertising, Mumbai.

Though the total number of entries received this year (around 430) was less than last time's figure (around 500), Grey's Dasgupta tells afaqs! that the quality of the ads was significantly better this time. However, he also spotted a few negative trends.

"One theme that emerged across copies this year was that most of the ads looked alike. Most writers followed the same 'big headline plus two column copy' format, a done-to-death template. Also, many of the participants massacred their copy with the art," he says, adding that an ideal long copy ad is one with a healthy art-copy balance.

The participants were required to pick any one of four creative briefs. Gasoline's Kakar picked one hinged on the issue of crime against women. "The most challenging part about this," he says when asked about his experience, "was to overcome the myth that people don't read long copy. Blogs, newspapers and magazines, all still exist and big brands have been built on the back of long copy in the past. While I understand that people are time-strapped these days, long ads if written well can sustain interest till the last word." According to him, a good piece of long copy is one that is based on a sound thought, is relevant to the reader, doesn't waver off topic and captivates reader attention all through.

For Thought Blurb's Abraham, it's not a question of 'long copy versus short copy' but rather an ongoing effort to zero in on the best possible advertising solution. "Society is a victim of formula," he says, when asked about the current skew towards short copy in most agencies. According to him, sometimes the best solution to a client's problem is short copy but very often it is, in fact, long copy. Recognition of this difference is a fair way to incentivise the latter, he believes.

This year's nine-member jury included both Indian as well as international greats such as Prasoon Joshi, chairman and chief creative officer, McCann Worldgroup India and president, South Asia; Agnello Dias, co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot India; Neil French, former worldwide creative director, WPP (jury president); Ed McCabe, ad veteran (guest judge); Tony Brignull, D&AD veteran and independent ad-marketing professional (guest judge); Luke Sullivan, author and chair, Advertising Department at Savannah College of Art and Design (jury president); David Shanks, creative director who runs his own one-man company called Clear Brand Essence; Mohit Hira, formerly CMO, NIIT and now senior vice-president and regional business leader, Airtel account, JWT; and Rahul Kansal, executive president, The Times Group.

All the winning entries can be viewed at

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