The Ad Club may reduce entry barriers for ABBYs to boost participation

Entry barriers such as participation fee and especially the cost to create videos that summarise the entry hold agencies back from taking part.

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 8:59 AM

The Abby’s 2018 has seen a 35 per cent decline in participation over 2017. This decline has been overwhelmingly attributed to the low growth of the industry in 2017. The cost to create videos summarising the entry is almost 4-5 times that of sending the entry. This cost-factor prohibits agencies from taking part. In 2018 The Abbys has received 3303 entries while in 2017 it saw 4884 entries. 

Vikram Sakhuja, President - The Advertising Club, said that the Abbys committee will consider decreasing entry barriers by removing the need to submit videos before entries are shortlisted. “From next year we may ask media agencies to share videos only for those entries that make it to the shortlist,” he said. He felt that this might free up budgets allowing agencies to participate to a higher degree. 
Industry leaders exchange4media spoke to welcomed the suggested mooted by Sakhuja. Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director of Madison World and Madison Communications, welcomed the suggestion noting that not only is submitting an AV a time-consuming affair, it is also an expensive affair. On the topic of participation in awards, he further added that he was disappointed by the strength of participation from media agencies in 2018.
"Each entry ends up costing us roughly Rs 50,000. The entry fee alone is Rs 10,000 and making a 2-minute video costs Rs 40,000. We want to celebrate work but agencies are not in the kind of position to invest that kind of money in many award functions. It is a good idea to screen the entry and then give enough time to the agency to make the audio-visual for the shortlisted entry," said Nandini Dias, CEO, Lodestar UM speaking about the entry barriers that make it unviable to take part. 

She further added that this will allow the jury to read the work. She felt that a media strategy is better assimilated by reading because a video cannot always do justice to the work done. In addition, "Unlike media agencies, media agencies are not the best people to make great videos," Dias said.

The other factor that has prevented agencies from participating is the issue of consistency and trust in the judging process. Ajay Kakar, Vice President of The Advertising Club and Chairman - Awards Governing Council, said that the Master Jury model has been embraced by the industry including those who represent agencies that have not been participating in the awards. “We hope to have the crème de la crème of the industry return to The Abbys,” he said.

Kakar believes that when industry veterans themselves evangelise the awards, participation is bound to improve. He said that members of the jury have seen the improved judging process that ensures consistency across categories and verticals and have co-created The Abbys 2018. “This Master Jury will reconvene for the 2019 awards too,” Kakar added.

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