Brand Abby grows stronger: Ajay Chandwani

For years, the Abby has been the benchmark for creative excellence in Indian advertising. Brand Abby has gone through turbulent times, but has emerged stronger than even before today. We believe these trends will continue with more specialist companies being keen to participate. The Abby is today present across the spectrum of advertising and media and has evolved into a communication award, says <b>Ajay Chandwani. </b>

e4m by Ajay Chandwani
Published: Apr 3, 2009 6:08 PM  | 3 min read
Brand Abby grows stronger: Ajay Chandwani

For years, the Abby has been the benchmark for creative excellence in Indian advertising. In the nineties, the Abby had created stars like Mohammad Khan, Christopher Rozario, Viru Hiremath, Elsie Nanji, Freddy Birdy, Alok Nanda, and Ravi Deshpande, to name just a few. More recently, Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi, Pops, and Agnello Dias, among others, have stamped their authority on the Abby. It became the platform that young creatives sought to make their mark and further the creative reputation of their agencies.

Brand Abby has gone through turbulent times, but has emerged stronger than even before today. From the era of silent judging and suits also judging, the last three years have seen a sea change in approach to juries and judging to meet the demands of the much-travelled Indian creatives, who are judging in large numbers at Cannes, Clio, D&AD, The One Show and AdFest. Three years ago, the Advertising Club introduced judging by creatives only, jury chairpersons and open discussions and voting, auditors to monitor the progress, etc. Last year, AAAI and Advertising Club got together to create the first unified award and put the best practices of both institutions to make the Abby even stronger.

In the last three years, almost all the agencies are back to giving Abby the sheen it deserves. To make it truly represent the communication spectrum that advertising is associated with, new segments have been introduced. Direct and Digital were introduced sometime back and today, they have grown in stature to become a sought-after award in these specialised industries. Craft was introduced in Film and Print to reward the technical expertise. In Film, there are now sub-categories like direction, editing, cinematography, sound, original music score, and animation. In Print, there is copywriting, art direction, typography, illustration, and photography for commercial photographers.

This year is a record year with huge participation of agencies across the board. Even though the notice period was short, 4,494 entries came in with almost all agencies taking part. While the traditional print and out-of-home domination continues in the number of entries, the year has seen a huge impact made by the newer categories. There has been enthusiastic participation in the Craft categories. Print craft alone saw 489 entries, which is more than the entries received in Film, Radio and Integrated categories.

Digital interactive saw 175 entries from 35 companies with new sub-categories like virals and email marketing adding a new dimension to the established banner and websites sub-categories. Specialist digital companies are competing with digital units of advertising agencies. Even digital media companies have set up creative departments and have entered their work.

Design is the latest vertical introduced to cater to the growing number of design companies and design units set up by advertising agencies. A total of 175 entries have been entered by 32 companies, which is very heartening. New sub-categories like corporate ID and packaging have attracted a sizable response.

We believe these trends will continue with more specialist companies being keen to participate. The Abby is today present across the spectrum of advertising and media and has evolved into a communication award. This would not have been possible without the support of companies and juries. The juries have done an excellent job and I sincerely hope all the jurors will maintain discretion and take responsibility for keeping all discussions confidential in the future.

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