before the GoaFest 2008 had officially kicked off, the Advertising
Agencies Association of India (AAAI) had an uncalled for ?situation?
in hand. For the first time in 41 years of the Abby Awards,
the list of award winners, or some part of it, has been leaked
out to the media. AAAI issued an immediate release calling
the report ?factually incorrect? and ?a result of unconnected
bits and pieces of information that have been irresponsibly
and regrettably leaked?.
Leaked, nonetheless. Does this impact the integrity
of the Abby Awards, and the GoaFest itself? Does its raise
questions on the objectives of senior industry professionals,
who not only have agencies to look after but also industry
roles to play? What steps should AAAI and the Ad Club to avoid
a recurrence of such unsavoury events in coming years?
Industry leaders share their frank and forthright
views on the issue.
The AAAI has explained that individual judges
and jury members would only have the details of the category
that they have judged and each have signed a Non Disclosure
Agreement. Only Jagdip Bakshi, Chairman of the GoaFest Committee,
and a closed group of three people at the Ad Club know the
entire details of the awards and the final result.
Madhukar Kamath, President, AAAI, said, ?This
report undermines the Festival, and we appeal to the media
to desist from such reportage. I?ve had a discussion with
the President of the Ad Club Bombay, Bhaskar Das, and he concurs.?
Jagdip Bakshi elaborated, ?We do not recognise any tally or
point system been speculated on in this report, and hence,
there is no question of ranking. The Grand Prix award is a
recognition of an individual piece of work having achieved
a certain standard in its category and in no way competes
with any other piece of work.?
Industry leaders had this to say:
Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Universal
(Also the in-charge of Media Awards 2008): I don?t know if
the winners put are correct at all. However, more than the
Festival or the Awards, this is a shame on the individuals
who have leaked out this information ? those are the ones
you should curse. In my personal opinion, they should be thrown
out of the Festival, and their entries should be blocked.
In my mind, the details are wrong, but whoever has done it,
rightly and wrongly, should be boycotted at the Festival.
Madhukar Kamath, MD and CEO, Mudra (Also,
the President of the AAAI):
This doesn?t mar the credibility of the Awards,
but it is unfortunate if reports are put together wrongly
on the basis of a few truths. Reports can be done on speculations;
no one can stop that. However, the way this was reported,
without any crosschecking with the organisers, was not correct.
We have done a formal release on it, and we mean every word
of this release. I know for a fact that what all was published
is not true. Some bits of it can be right, sure. However,
the headline was 100 per cent wrong, as was the way the article
was put down. We do need to look at the process, and figure
out from where this could?ve happened, and if it was motivated.
If an agency has indeed done this, it is unfortunate. If we
find any evidence against any particular agency or individual,
we would go against it, and if necessary, we would prevent
the participation of that agency at the Awards in future.
Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT India:
This has nothing to do with the integrity of
the Awards ? that is cast in stone. This is a well-managed
and well-planned show, and it should be kept at that. The
report that was published was not correct. I don?t think an
agency has leaked out this information. This is just putting
different bits and pieces of information together for a report.
The jury has signed an NDA. They are privy to the information
from one vertical?s perspective only. We don?t know anything
for sure until the event is over.
Mahesh Chauhan, CEO, Rediffusion DY&R:
I don?t think anything has been leaked out.
The report was speculative, and the media has every right
to speculate. None of us knows the winners, except for Jagdip
Bakshi. We had a meeting on this, and our sense is that this
is not a correct report. If an agency has indeed leaked out
the information, though I don?t know how they could because
how would they get it in the first place, but yes, the agency
should be identified, and then steps should be taken to curb
something like this.
Suman Srivastava, CEO, Euro RSCG India:
The media report was really just spoil sport.
They ruined the suspense for everybody. I don?t know whether
this is even an accurate report and even if it is accurate,
I think that it is quite irrelevant now. There were judges
who did their work, which has then been tabulated by an independent
body. The list has to be given to many people before the Festival
actually happens, and clearly there was a weak link somewhere.
We have to first know who the weak link is. I don?t think
it is a good idea to give out any information like this ?
it?s a shame. What has been gained end of the day? Nothing.
But some excitement and fun is lost. In my mind, nonetheless,
I assume it is wrong, what the hell!
Arvind Sharma, Chairman and CEO, India Sub-Continent,
What happened was not an ideal thing from the
show?s point of view. The media often has excess information,
sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but I think jumping the
gun was not required for the Awards show. We are certainly
waiting for the show tomorrow to know the results. We have
taken this report with a pinch of salt. I have in been media,
advertising and entertainment for a couple of decades now,
and I have also told my team that only what would be seen
at the Awards on April 5, 2008 night was true, nothing else
is till then.