Mixed Media: Why the decay in adland is worse than what we see in Indian politics

Staying on at the top despite a shabby awards judging process is amazing, writes Pradyuman Maheshwari. But our association bosses stay unfazed.

e4m by Pradyuman Maheshwari
Published: Apr 6, 2010 8:25 AM  | 2 min read
Mixed Media: Why the decay in adland is worse than what we see in Indian politics

If various public offices were run in the same way as GoaFest and Advertising Club, the world would be a different place to live in. Imagine educational institutions with zero accountability. Cop stations condoning lawlessness. Civic authorities glossing over health and hygiene.

Alas, in the media world, excesses like results leaking are fine, but consider what would happen if, say, CBSE or ICSE Board exam papers or results were leaked for three consecutive years.

Last week, I wrote about how I was set to subscribe to The Economic Times because the Abby results were published in it for two consecutive years and I expected an encore this year too. The article was written with tongue firmly in cheek, and I didn’t expect to see a sneak peek of the Creative Abby Awards 2010. I was sure that the GoaFest Committee, the Advertising Agencies Association of India and the Advertising Club Bombay would’ve taken care to ensure secrecy. But, as it happened, the news was scooped by ET the very next day.

No resignations from any officebearers yet. Not even the kind of tokenism you see amongst politicians. So, am I suggesting the decay in adland is worse than what we see in politics?

Perhaps. In fact, I have reason to believe it’s more.

In many ways, we deserve all of this, though it’s unfair to say that the decay exists in all of the Indian adland.

It’s unfortunate, because the people at the helm have an amazing rep and are doing their jobs at the associations selflessly. It beats me why and how then are these guys making a mess of things year after year?

Had this happened at the Cannes Lions, the action would’ve been severe. First, we would’ve had a new festival director. And a new head of awards. And the newspaper and journalists who leaked the info would’ve been banned and not given access to the event.

The GoaFest Committee is lucky that it hasn’t faced any backlash from the industry for the leak. In fact, I often wonder whether it’s worthwhile raising a stink against people who are great to have a conversation with.

The action now shifts to the sunny (and sweaty) environs of South Goa. A star-studded business conclave on Day 1. The line-up on other days is ok-ok… prompting me to give this year’s jamboree a miss.

(The views expressed above are my own. Post your comments below or email me at or tweet me at @pmahesh.)

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