For the fifth time, leading Bengali daily Sambad Pratidin is all set for its annual honours to Bengali advertising. The country’s intellectual nerve-centre, Kolkata, will host Srijon Samman, the most prestigious recognition for creative excellence in Bengali, on August 14. The evening will witness a line-up of luminaries from different sections of advertising, media, creativity and the corporate world.
Alongside creative works done in India, the organisers have also invited entries from neighbouring Bangladesh. “Bengali, as a language of advertising, is researched greatly in Bangladesh. Last year we saw some great works from there. This inspired us to invite creative agencies from Bangladesh this time,” said Srinjoy Bose, Managing Director, Sambad Pratidin Group. Over 500 entries from a host of creative agencies including most of the frontline outfits from across the country have poured in. “All the entries are brilliant. It would be an interesting competition,” said Bose.
Srijon Samman claims speciality in the panel of juries. The judges are not only from the advertising field; the panel comprises distinguished professionals from cinema, literature, art, marketing and business as well. This year the panel includes personalities like Soumitra Ghatak, former Vice-President, Godrej & Boyce, Gulu Sen, National Executive Creative Director, Dentsu, Deepak Choudhury, Joint President, Shaw Wallace, actor-turned-filmmaker-turned journalist Aparna Sen, and painter Wasim Kapur among others.
This year Srijon Samman would confer the Advertising Hall of Fame award to Mike Khanna. “Through this award, we attempt to pay tribute to the outstanding leaders of the industry,” Bose said. The group honoured Alyque Padamsee and Ranjan Kapur with the award in the last two years.
Sambad Pratidin masterminded Srijon Samman with the objective of providing a platform to encourage creativity in Bengali advertising. “There was always a demand for acknowledging creative brilliance in Bengali advertising. We conceptualised Srijon Samman (honouring creativity) to meet this gap, and in these four years we received overwhelming response. It is evident that this award has been a boost to Bengali advertising,” claimed Bose.
Industry chieftains are of the opinion that such recognition has indeed been helpful for advertising in Bengali to come out of the English influence and there has been considerable fundamental infusion to the creatives. “Verbal and visual idioms in today’s Bengali advertising are a bit more real, a bit less stuffy; somewhat more idea-driven,” observed veteran adman Ram Ray. With a key motivator like this award, original thoughts in today’s Bengali creatives find a better expression and the language attains clarity that makes for more effective communication, felt advertising professional-turned-entrepreneur Anjan Chatterjee. “I must say Bengali advertising has experienced a lot of positive changes in every aspect over the last five to six years,” said Chatterjee, who would be on the jury of this year’s Srijon Samman.
While Ray, the brain behind the show at Response, believes that “Srijon Samman does energise creatives to aim higher,” Amitava Dutta, Vice-President, Anandabazar Patrika, preferred to play it down. “Today’s Bengali advertising is more fundamental, thoughtful and effectively communicating. But it has been a regular process. I don’t think a particular award has changed the entire scenario in four or five years,” Dutta argued.
However, as the criticism goes, awards are always focused on the creatives and not on other facets of advertising like branding, marketing and generating impact, all of which are equally instrumental in serving the aim of communication. Referring to the standpoint of Srijon Samman, Ray backed the focus on creatives. “I support it in that it judges what it aims to judge, without pretending. Srijon Samman judges advertisements on the basis of pictures, words and ideas. Strategies are ignored because the process of judging them are far too complex and much more difficult,” he said.