Radio Advertising has emerged out of the 'By the way, I am around' phase and what better way to illuminate this fact than through the Mirchi Kaan Awards. Radio Mirchi has invited entries for the calendar year 2005 and is confident of receiving over 350 entries this year, compared to 245 entries received last year.
Till date, the advertising community has kept the spotlight on television and print advertising and credits the good work done in these two mediums through the Abbys and the AAAI awards. Although both these have a radio section but it is believed by many that adequate prominence has not been given to the category in the award shows. Realising the need, and the importance of rewarding and recognising the work meted out by ad agencies for radio, the station had launched the first-ever 'Mirchi Kaan Awards' last year.
Prasoon Joshi, Regional Creative Director (South & South East Asia, McCann), said, "While audio visuals have a tendency to dazzle you, radio is one medium that quietly co-exists with you. I remember the days when we had Ameen Sayani's voice on radio and we would carry on doing our sums with his enthralling voice in the background. It's not a medium that begs 100 per cent of your focus, yet it has the power to move you."
He said, "Writing for radio is the biggest challenge of all. It's all about the right script, the right voice, the right ambience and the right chemistry. You can't juggle your way through exciting or breathtaking visuals, and get away with it. Over the time, radio has emerged out of the slapstick mode, and you have some brilliantly executed thoughts incorporated via this medium. While RAPA and even the AAAI have taken on various initiatives in radio, it still does not occupy the place it should. Radio is no longer a medium that deserves step-motherly treatment."
Meanwhile, ad veteran Ravi Deshpande, who's also on the panel, said, "Radio advertising is no longer about nautanki fare anymore. The creative output is evolving out of the brash, loud, spoof space and emerging into something more meaningful. And talent within radio needs to be rewarded. Advertising is not just about print and TV advertising and it's a fact that the industry has woken up to this fact. Which is why, an initiative like the Mirchi Kaan Awards makes a lot of sense. The mandate before this initiative is that 'give radio its own space.' You have other awards ceremonies where radio comes as a 'by the way' product. This particular awards ceremony is only about heroes in the radio sphere. And that makes all the difference."
With three ego sizes namely Gold, Silver and Bronze, the Mirchi Kaan Awards night is scheduled to be held in Mumbai on April 22, 2005. Crystal award is to be awarded to the 'Agency of the Year.' Mirchi would also be sponsoring two radio creative writers below the age of 30, to the Cannes Advertising Festival.
Sharath Chandra, Senior VP (Marketing), Radio Mirchi, believed that an initiative such as the Kaan Awards seeks to award outstanding talent within the radio space, in addition to looping in young creative minds. He said, "An effort such as this one seeks to facilitate young creative minds and encourages them to look beyond television and print. Often youngsters are a lot less drawn to radio, and end up churning more of television and print work (since they have not grown up with radio in their formative years.) Meanwhile, their seniors like Piyush or Prasoon have grown up with radio and they are a lot more passionate towards it. We need youngsters to look at radio in a far more significant way."
Chandra added, "We look at it as a category building exercise, and not just a branding attempt. This is about rewarding outstanding talent, within radio as a category and we seek to encourage a lot more of creative output on this front. Our jury consists of renowned and treasured faces within the advertising and media scene, and credibility is the corner stone of the entire judging process. We have even roped in Ernst & Young to overlook the proceedings."
The jury for the event comprises of Abhijeet Choudhary, D Ramakrishnan, Elsie Nanjie, Gangadharan Menon, KV Sridhar, Mohammed Khan, Piyush Pandey, Prahlad Kakkar, Prasoon Joshi, R Balakrishnan, Rajat Dholakia, Ram Madhvani, Ram Sampath, Ravi Deshpande and Rekha Nigam. The award categories comprise of foods, beverages, toiletries & household care, business products and services, automotives and accessories, services for household sector, sports, entertainment, travel, media, public service, retail outlets, fast food stores etc. There are special awards for most outstanding voice of the year, radio writer of the year, excellence in production and client of the year. Some of the winners for the last year included McCann, JWT Bangalore, Euro RSCG and Everest Mumbai.