The Chennai Ad Club's Advertising Awards, Spark 2006, has seen an encouraging number of entries despite several 'regulars' at the fest opting to stay away. The awards night on March 9 will see several agencies from Chennai, Cochin, Bangalore and Hyderabad vying for metal. Over 60 agencies are in the fray with nearly 600 entries.
Chairman of the jury this year is Josy Paul of David, and the panel of judges includes people from Chennai and Bangalore.
Said N Ramamoorthi, GM, O&M, Chennai, and Convenor for Spark 2006, "The brief to the jury was simple: 'Pick what you think is the best work. There is no pressure to come up with a certain targeted number of nominations or a certain number of awards. If there are categories where nothing is worthy of nominations or awards, so be it'. We are South India's most keenly contested awards, and the work we award must reflect that standard. The judging process is over and we are currently putting things together for the event."
Spark 2006 has retained its traditional format. A lone new category has been introduced, that of 'Published Self-promotion'. This allows agencies to send in promotional work they've done for themselves. The introduction was based on the finding that last year, there were quite a few such entries from agencies, and it did not seem right to judge them alongside other work.
Another feature this year will be in the form of an exhibition of all the work entered for the awards, on display during the event. In a number of categories, especially non-mass media, visitors would get to see interesting work that they might not have seen before, the organizers of the event said.
The event itself has been elaborately planned, and the attempt has been at 'slick' production. The theme of 'Pain deserves gain' has already hit the print media, with more expected as the event date draws closer.
While the number of entries last year was close to 700, the number of agencies this year hasn't changed much. As many as 16 agencies are entering the awards for the first time, and these are from Bangalore, Chennai and Cochin.
"In the last two to three years, we've definitely seen retail entries pick up. So have Radio/TV channel promotions. Surprisingly, we are yet to see an increase in the IT/BPO space, and that's some thing we'd like to encourage and look forward to – some of that work is aimed at international clients/customers and should definitely give the other entries a run for their money," elaborated Ramamoorthi.
This year, JWT (Chennai and Bangalore), and creative shops Rubecon and WOC, are among the agencies that have stayed away from the awards. O&M and Lowe continue to abstain from participation.
The Convenor of Spark 2006 added, "At an overall level, not confined to just this year, some of the larger agencies have not participated due to national policies. That's a bit unfortunate, but they are national decisions at the end of the day. We aim to make some serious efforts in getting them back on board in the future."
But there seems to be no dearth of confidence or enthusiasm from the agencies that have chosen to participate, including the new kids on the block. Spark continues to remain the flagship awards property for advertising in South India.
Meanwhile, the Bangalore Ad Club's awards night is scheduled for March 24.