Bharat V Patel, Chairman, Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd, was re-elected Chairman of the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) for the third consecutive year. He has been an active member of the Executive Council since 1991 and held the position of the Chairman of the Managing Committee since 1994, before being elected Chairman of the Executive Council in 2002.
Kurush Grant, Divisional Chief Executive, India Tobacco Division, ITC Ltd; Bijou Kurien, Chief Operating Officer – Watches, Titan Industries Ltd; and Virat Mehta, Vice-President, Nestle India Ltd, were elected Vice-Chairmen of East, South and North, respectively.
Romit Chaterji, Vice-President – Corporate Affairs, Tata Services Ltd, was elected Honorary Treasurer, while Dalip Sehgal, Executive Director, Hindustan Lever Ltd, was elected as Chairman of the Media Committee.
The other members of the newly elected Executive Council are Hamid Ahmed (Hamdard), Amitabh (LIC), J C Chopra (Consultant and Member Emeritus), Debanjan Datta (Crompton Greaves), Paulomi Dhawan (Raymond), Rajiv Dube (Tata Motors), Vinay Hegde (Colgate-Palmolive), Naveen Kshatriya (Castrol), Jagmohan Malhotra (Enterprise For New Directions), B O Mehta (Pidilite), Rajiv Pal (Birla VXL), R Ramakrishnan (Bajaj Electricals), K S Ramesh (CavinKare), Dalip Sehgal (HLL) and Brahm Vasudeva (Hawkins).
The ISA is the only body, which represents the interests of advertisers in the country, and its membership accounts for around two-thirds of national advertising expenditures. During the past year, the ISA has been instrumental in convincing the government to allow the setting off of service taxes on advertising, sales promotions and market research expenditures against CENVAT, thereby eliminating the cascading and double taxation effect on such expenditures.
It was also a proactive participant in a joint representation by advertisers, advertising agencies and media representatives to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in having the ASCI code being accepted as the determining code with respect to violation of the Cable TV Act, in preference to a separate code being set up by the government for this purpose. The ISA is one of the founder-promoters of the ASCI.
During the course of the last year, the Media Committee of ISA, through discussions with the All India Radio, was able to get them to defer a proposal to drastically increase their tariffs.
In his AGM address, Bharat Patel highlighted two major concerns that advertisers were facing in India, as well as worldwide. Firstly, the rapidly declining cost effectiveness of TV advertising due to a simultaneous proliferation of programmes/channels leading to declining viewership, combined with the increase in rates.
He talked about the various experiments being undertaken worldwide by some big advertisers to use alternative audio-visual vehicles like the Internet and encouraged Indian advertisers to look at such options critically.
The second big concern was to do with the questions being raised about whether the current yardsticks that measured media audiences were actually measuring what they should be measuring – that of ‘engaging’ the consumer and inducing ‘action’.
He pointed out that the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), of which the ISA is a member, had recently launched an initiative by issuing a blue print for consumer-centric holistic measurement of media audiences. He expected to see some major changes in measurement logic and systems to get established in the foreseeable future.