The Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) kicked off in Mumbai on July 21. The first dya of this two-day event saw Goutam Rakshit, Managing Director, Advertising Avenues, being felicitated with the AAAI-Premnarayen Award for his contribution to the advertising industry.
AAAI President, Srinivasan K Swamy, who lit the ceremonial lamp, threw light on the origin of AAAI in the pre-independence days (September 1945 to be precise), and how the advertising body had contributed in shaping the advertising industry through its initiatives.
Going down memory lane, Swamy said, “From a total billing of Rs 3.5 crore in 1953, the advertising industry has grown to a robust Rs 12,000 crore industry today. Through the years, AAAI has addressed various relevant issues and also helped in formation of bodies like Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) as well as IBF. Most recently, AAAI took up the issue of fringed benefit tax, which subsequent to the initiative, was removed for advertising agencies.”
Among the many things that AAAI has on its agenda are launch of a book – History of Advertising – arranging four one-day seminars, a new code of best practices and promotion of talent by a campaign showing advertising as an interesting job prospect.
Rakshit, while accepting the award said, “The award is precious to me. Seventeen years ago, this award was started with the name of Prem Narayen, an illustrious figure, staunchly Indian in his outlook and who helped shape the industry into what it is today.”
Giving his views on the path ahead for Indian advertising, Rakshit said, “We’ve grown well from a cottage industry to a world-class industry today. This industry is a knowledge industry and we are in the business of creating brand ‘India’ and should endeavour to succeed in doing that.”
Andrew Robertson, President and CEO, BBDO Worldwide, who also attended the session, addressed the challenges that lie before the advertising fraternity. Giving a very relevant example, he said, “Today, attention is scarce, with mushrooming of media options. So it’s not technology, but attention that is a more serious concern all over. Attention can be captured through creativity. The recently launched Harry Potter novel has everyone’s nose buried in it. It has managed to capture total attention.”
Referring to India, Robertson said, “India has a vast pool of rich talent and I would like to see India making an impact by making its work comparable to global creativity standards. It has the potential and since the clients need it, I am sure India will prove itself.”
The second day of this two-day event (July 22) will see discussions on FMCG sector, evolving sectors, services sector and media and entertainment sector. While the session on the FMCG sector chaired by Sam Balsara of Madison Communications will have C K Ranganathan of CavinKare and Saugata Gupta of Marico as speakers, the session on the Media and Entertainment Sector chaired by Arvind Sharma of Leo Burnett will see N Ram of The Hindu and Peter Mukerjea of STAR India debate and discuss issues and challenges faced by the Media and Entertainment industry, as well as their impact on ad agencies and related streams.
John Cahill of McCann Healthcare (Singapore) and Sudipta Sen Gupta of Café Coffee Day will be the speakers at the session on the Evolving Sectors chaired by Alan Durante of Mahindra & Mahindra. The session on the Services Sector chaired by G Krishnan of TV Today will have insights from S V Prasad of Birla Sun Life and Atul Bindal of Airtel.
The response from the Agency Panel will have Sunil Alagh of SKA Advisors in the chair, while Piyush Pandey of O&M, Madhukar Kamath of Mudra Group and V Shantakumar of Saatchi & Saatchi will respond with their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
The valedictory address will be given by Prem Mehta of Lintas.