The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) felicitated Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director, Madison World, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2009 at a grand ceremony in Mumbai on November 25. Balsara has been awarded for his outstanding contribution and development of professionalism in the advertising industry in India.
Speaking on the occasion, Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT India and the recently elected President of AAAI, said, “Sam is known for his fair play, and when it comes to competing, he always upholds the highest standards of professional integrity. By bestowing this honour on Sam, AAAI salutes his contribution to the Indian advertising industry.”
The AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually and recognises the individual’s contribution areas such as Leadership of the industry as an individual; Contribution towards advancement and professionalism in the industry; Example of personal integrity, values and ethics consistent with the standards expected.
While accepting the Award, Balsara went down memory lane, reminiscing his journey, the trials and tribulations, challenges and the highs and lows. Speaking about people’s reaction to his being conferred this Award, Balsara said, “An interesting sideline of these communications has been that 50 per cent of the people said that this Award has come several years too late, while the other 50 per cent said that it was too early and that it should have been given a few years later. I don’t know who is right, but one thing I like to clarify is that this Award does not mean I am thinking of retiring any soon.”
Speaking on his experience, Balsara shared with the audience present what he had learnt from his clients like P&G and Godrej. He mentioned that from Godrej he learnt the importance of a value system, while P&G helped him understanding the importance of a codified process for almost everything, including the creation and release of advertising.
Pointing out some of the key issues that AAAI should look at, Balsara said, “We must engage with our advertiser friends to discuss future substantiality of the industry through fair compensation, so that adequate investment is attracting and nurturing talent for the future takes place, But before we do that, we must make our minds that we want to be counted as professionals of the highest calibre, possessing high intellectual capital and let us resist the temptation of becoming or being seen as opportunist businessmen. Another suggestion is to institute a client credit and process rating system that allows us to objectively assess every client’s record on its ability to adhere to payments deadlines so that all clients are not treated in the same brushstroke.”
The ceremony saw some of the eminent stalwarts from the advertising, media and marketing industry like Bharat Patel, G Krishnan, Hormusji Cama, Raj Nayak, LV Krishnan, Saugata Gupta, Chintamani Rao, Umesh Shrikhande, Suman Srivastava, and Paritosh Joshi, among many others present on the occasion.
AAAI is the official, national organisation of advertising agencies, formed to promote their industry interests so that they continue to make an essential and ever-increasing contribution to the nation. The AAAI today is a representative with a very large number of small, medium and large-sized agencies as its members, who together account for almost 80 per cent of the advertising business placed in the country. It is thus recognised at all forums – advertisers, media owners and associations, and even the Government – as the spokesperson for the advertising industry.