Publicis South Asia's Nakul Chopra on why "No" to Abby Awards

Nakul Chopra, CEO, Publicis South Asia, had surprised a few when he announced that his agency would not participate in the Abby Awards. Chopra speaks on why the AAAI-Ad Club combination has to prove itself.

e4m by Noor Fathima Warsia
Updated: Feb 9, 2011 7:10 AM
Publicis South Asia's Nakul Chopra on why "No" to Abby Awards

One would expect that the formation of an Awards Governing Council would solve the various issues that have been facing the Abby Awards, specifically in the last year. However, despite the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and Ad Club Bombay joining hands to solve issues at hand, Publicis South Asia has decided to stay away from the awards. This is true only for advertising agencies Publicis Ambience and Publicis Capital, digital division Publicis Modem and design agency Red Lion. Interestingly, other Publicis Groupe agencies that include Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi are participating in the awards.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Nakul Chopra, CEO, Publicis South Asia, who is an active member of the AAAI and Ad Club Bombay, explained that this was not the first time the AAAI and Ad Club Bombay were working together on the awards. He said, “I would like to believe that the AGC and other initiatives of the two bodies will ensure that the issues are not repeated. Yet, let us not forget that even in past years the awards have been jointly organised and run by Ad Club and AAAI - even without a joint AGC, both had respective committees that worked together.”

Elaborating further, he stated that the moot point was there must be complete and transparent clarity on the rules; the processes that would ensure the rules are followed; and the process/punitive measures that will come into play if they are not followed. “This has not been the case last year - and from our perspective we would like to see how the AAAI, Ad Club and the newly formed AGC intend to ensure this in the future. Our decision does not in any manner impinge on their ability to do this,” added Chopra.

Would the decision have an impact on the agency, and especially on the younger talent that yearn recognition on platforms such as these? Chopra replied, “Naturally, our people want to compete in awards - but equally as competitors they want to ensure a level playing field for all - they want to compete in awards that they can trust as fair and transparent. The decision to abstain in 2011 is a collective decision which has the full support of all our people - we do not hence foresee any negative impact.”

Chopra clarified that it was not the negative publicity around the awards last year that drove the agency’s decision. He explained, “Our decision to abstain has not been motivated by what the press has reported - rather upon the issues and facts as are known to us. Our decision for the future too will be on the same basis.”

In the meanwhile, Abby Awards preparations are on full swing. And the Awards Governing Council, chaired by Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar UM, has already met to think through steps on how to ensure a great Abby Awards 2011.

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