Ever since I have been a part of the India media and advertising industry, the one set of awards that intrigued me the most was the Emvie Awards. The honest reason, and I am aware of how silly it sounds now, was that I just did not understand it. Abby Awards made sense, great advertising; I even got Effie Awards, advertising that delivered, but the Emvie Awards were a slight bit confusing. Even as that was a problem by itself, what added to it was that at exchange4media, Emvie Awards were very important. They still are and at that time – 2003 - I had to be sure I understood why the Emvie was a big deal, and I had to do that before my bosses figured out that I did not have a clue on it.
The silver lining that came from my plight this was that I had to connect with many in the industry to understand what these awards stood for. And in the process, some of the most interesting ways of looking at the business came forth – thoughts that make immense sense even today.
One of these, and this is the one I always find myself thinking about when I am editing an Emvie Award report, was told to me by Andre Nair, the charismatic head of GroupM at the time. Nair had said Emvie came from M V, which stood for Media Value. He had also remarked that India was perhaps the only country that had this platform of recognising and awarding agencies that scored in media services. Spearheading the awards at the time was Apurva Purohit, and I recall writing reports every year after that on how the Emvie Award grew in its participation year-on-year.
Not only the participation but the growth in the size and stature of Emvie Award has been evident too. I noticed that TAM Media Research, too, sponsored one more award – on Best TV Innovation - this year unlike last year, when between TAM and RAM, two awards were sponsored.
This year, Sunil Lulla left no stone unturned for the awards. While I paid the price of being in Delhi, I was told that anyone and everyone who mattered in the Indian media and advertising industry attended the awards. Mindshare once again swept the platform, but this year with close competition from Maxus. The two other agencies whose performance I thought really stood out were Madison Media and Lodestar UM, even if neither of the two made it to the top three. Madison and Lodestar UM did not have too many entries making it to the shortlist, but kudos to both that most of the work they entered won, and won Gold Emvie Awards.
Indian agencies are amongst the few that instituted internal awards to motivate their teams. The likes of Emvie Award and even the Media Abby further bolster the initiative of the industry to get youngsters engaged in breakthrough work in the media service domain that can bring out the true value of using any media to deliver a client’s message. There is a lot that Indian agencies have been learning from international counterparts, but for many years now, Indian talent has been working in international markets. Practices and communication ideas from Indian agencies are making their way to international markets. Emvie Award, even though a modest one, has played its role in ensuring this reversal of learning exchange between India and international markets.
Over the years, I have come to respect the Emvie Awards and I guess I also understand why industry leaders like Apurva Purohit and Sunil Lulla invest time in this platform. But that is not to say Emvies still don’t intrigue me – the reason now is the kind of work that comes from media agencies in India, where simple ideas have made big differences to the clients.