Dr Vijay Mallya, the dynamic Chairman of the UB Group and Kingfisher Airlines, Rajya Sabha member and the soon-to-be Chairman and CEO of the Deccan-Kingfisher merged entity, was unanimously adjudged the ‘impact Person of the Year 2007’ at a glittering ceremony held in Mumbai on December 20, attended by the who’s who of the media, advertising and marketing industry.
Sebi Chairman M Damodaran was the chief guest. Among those who attended the gala event were Sameer Nair, A P Parigi, Sam Balsara, Sandip Tarkas, Mahesh Chauhan, Shubash Kamath, Apoorva Purohit, and Kurien Mattew, among many others.
Mallya was not in the country during the award ceremony, and owing to unavoidable commitments, could not attend the ceremony. In a recorded video message, Mallya said, “I am both humbled and honoured that hard work and creativity has been recognised at a forum such as this. I am really sorry that I am not with you.”
Voter responses indicated, as reflected in the audio-visual presentation of the 25 nominees this year, Mallya had been chosen by several respondents for his drive and commitment towards the positioning and performance of Kingfisher Airlines. In short, the marketing mix of the airline, which bore the brand name of a beer brand, was celebrated by the senior profesionals from advertising, media and marketing.
In an interaction with the impact team on his birthday (aired as an AV capsule at the event), on board his yacht ‘The Indian Empress’, Mallya had said, “It was not as if I had decided that Kingfisher would be the name of the airline business. People voted unanimously that the name of the airline should be Kingfisher.”
He further said, “It has always been challenging to create advertisements and communication for alcohol. We have always followed the best of creativity methods to build our brand. However, I believe that we never had the intention of overshadowing our marketing plans with the invention of our new business through Kingfisher Airlines. I have always strived to create personality for our brands through the strong tool of marketing and communication.”
Mallya elaborated that the extensive support from senior professionals across domains of media, advertising and marketing was encouraging, and that marketing had always been his priority. He recalled the instance of being given Rs 2 lakh for a campaign when he had asked for Rs 10 lakh to build the Kingfisher campaign. The rest of the story is well-chronicled history.
Expressing his views on this innovative platform for awarding industry players from media, advertising and marketing, Sebi’s Damodaran said, “It is quite a task to have 25 stalwarts as nominees and having a strong jury. I am very happy to see that the voting has been done through some of the senior peers of the industry itself. However, I personally feel that it would be nice to see new more faces as well as more women among the nominees.”
He also noted that several of those nominated had come through the ‘English medium’ of the media space and added that it would be nice to have a few smaller players from the regional areas as well.
Speaking at the event, Anurag Batra, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media.com, said, “In keeping with the philosophy of the property – which is a poll of, by and for industry practitioners across media, advertising and marketing – the list of nominees was suggested and short-listed by industry practitioners themselves.”
He further said, “We can expect great things from the ‘impact Person of the Year’. In the first edition in 2005, the industry had raised a toast to Peter Mukerjea as the 'impact Person of the Year'. The industry chose CNN-IBN's Rajdeep Sardesai for the title in 2006. And this year, it is Dr Mallya.”
Celebrating excellence on its way, the ‘impact Person of the Year’ has evolved in its third edition. This year, 25 industry stalwarts reached the nomination list after incisive research by research partner ACNielsen. These included the likes of Anil Ambani, Vineet Jain, Subhash Chandra, Kalanidhi Maran, Shobhana Bhartia, Harit Nagpal, Rajdeep Sardesai, Peter Mukerjea, Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi, R Balki, Sanjeev Bhikchandani, Vijay Mallya, Pradeep Guha, Prannoy Roy, Kishore Biyani, Harish Thawani, Colvyn Harris, Sam Balsara, Haresh Chawla, Raghav Behl, Ronnie Screwvala, Jagdish Khattar, Santosh Desai and Tarun Tejpal.
The sponsors for the event were Red FM as the presenting sponsor and DSN (Digital Signage Networks) as co-sponsor. The associate sponsors were Bindass, Vikatan Group and Times OOH. Other sponsors for the event included Encompass, Business Standard, ACNielsen, FMCC, 24 Frames Digital and i2eye interactive.