Master Jury of ABBYs on the judging process

The master jury comprised 15 prominent names from the industry who got together to deliberate and decide on who gets to walk away with the Abbys

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Apr 5, 2018 1:46 PM  | 8 min read

The organising committee of the Abby Awards this year announced a 'Master Jury' for the Creative Abbys for the first time. The master jury comprised 15 prominent names from the industry who got together to deliberate and decide on who gets to walk away with the Abbys. The idea was to have the best of the industry judge the awards and to add more credibility to the process. This is what they said:

Prasoon Joshi, CEO of McCann World Group India and Chairman (Asia Pacific)

The most significant part of this year’s judging was a single jury going through all the work together, which brings in consistency and makes the process seamless. We had meaningful discussions around overall quality of work this year, which always gives an opportunity to introspect. The organizers, especially Ajay Kakar, painstakingly made sure that the judging this year was a memorable experience.

Nitesh Tiwari, Director

I was keenly looking forward to be a part of the Master Jury but unfortunately couldn’t make it due to last minute personal crisis. Introduction of Master Jury format reflects the passion of the Abby Awards Governing Council to handpick the best work of the year by the most respected names in the industry.

Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative Officer and Managing Director South Asia, Publicis Worldwide

It is the best judging experience I have had so far at the Abbys, considering all categories were being judged by a uniform standard. The credentials of the jury members were impeccable; no one had to shout to make himself heard, there was mutual respect. Most importantly, everyone had won enough laurels themselves so there was no need or attempt to try and gather awards for his team or agency. I must commend the organizers who are responsible for the Abbys Awards, be it Partha Sinha, Ajay Kakar or Vikram Sakhuja for breaking away from the set norms and taking such a bold step as far as judging is concerned.

Arun Iyer, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas

It was a good two days of intense and transparent discussions on what work should be winning, what is the signal that is going out to the industry and it was wonderful how we had so many different perspectives coming together. The stature of the jury was fantastic. However a lot of agencies who do the bulk of work had kept away from the Abbys, so the big popular work that we know of and have heard of couldn’t come to the table because of the agencies opting out. So I would have liked more of that work too.

Agnello Dias, Chairman & Co-Founder TapRoot India

This year the Abby Awards judging process was a refreshing change from the years gone by. One single jury discussing, evaluating the best work in the country made us see things in a completely different perspective than just category-centric as it was in the past. If this change stays and grows, it wouldn't be long before the show gets back to its great past.

Santosh Padhi, CCO and Co-Founder, Taproot Dentsu
Good to see some of the best versatile creative minds of our industry coming together to pick some of the best work submitted this year.

Amer Jaleel, CCO and Chairman, Mullen Lintas

It was actually quite unique. Quite a few of us there were not participating in the awards. So at some level that was quite chilled as an experience because it became all about the work. It was almost like being in another country and jurying their awards. The debate and discussions around the ideas never had any colour of partiality or even a suspicion of it. At the same time we were all there to take part in bringing back the Abbys to their former glory. So all in all, there was purity in the mission without anybody having an agenda.


Sidharth Rao, CEO and Co-founder, Dentsu Webchutney (Digital and mobile and digital craft)

In a way, this year’s jury process started much before the actual jury process itself. There was a proactive, conscious effort from the Abby Awards Governing Council to be sincerely transparent and that marker was set early on with the open house in February. We’ve seen a lot of the feedback and suggestions from there incorporated during the jury selection and the process itself. Something that particularly pleases me this time around is the significantly wider jury delegation from Digital, especially from some of the younger, newer agencies – what I feel is a true representation of our industry in 2018.

Madan Bahal, Managing Director, Adfactors PR (Public Relations)

The judging process was a great experience for all the jury members, which for the first time comprised only PR Agency CEOs. It was interesting to see an increasing level of integration across the body of work we judged. Another interesting aspect was that the submissions for PR Abbys came from a diverse set of players including PR firms, Advertising Agencies, Digital agencies as well as clients, directly.

Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World (Media)

I am delighted to have been invited to chair the Media Abby Award jury for 2018. It was an enjoyable experience. Thank you Ajay for asking me.

Raj Nair, CEO and CCO, Madison BMB (Direct)

My experience of heading the jury was very distinctive, indeed. It was truly a jury of heavyweights who brought a wealth of experience in the category to the judging process. Creativity was awarded when it was backed by solid strategy, great execution and visible results. All discussions were meaningful, while being ruthless, when necessary. In all, a great time was had by all and largely, I would say this on behalf of the jury: everyone felt that the best work won, in a transparent and impartial process.

Viral Pandya, Co-founder, CCO, Out of the Box (Design and still craft)
To me, it has indeed been a very sincere and responsible job. Must say, I have
been fortunate enough to be among the stalwarts of Design who were present in the room. (And, gosh, there were 14 of them!) Needless to say, that my jury team has been amazing. And, of course, they need no introduction in terms of their credibility. They are the role models in the industry. The truth is, I feel inspired by their work, every now and then. I feel that the work this year, at Goafest, that’s going to win, is fresh, endearing, empowering, bold, and emotional. And sparkling, in terms of execution. I am also happy that we have carefully chosen the right metals, post a lot of discussions, debates and healthy conversations. (And we came out alive on the last day!)

Rohit Gupta, President, Network Sales and International Business, Sony Pictures Networks, India (Broadcaster)
It was a brilliant experience for me. The kind of participation we got in terms of entries made the whole experience really good. The approach to judging this year was very professional because first the entries went through a screening process and then the jury sat and deliberated. So, there were several open-ended discussions and it was fairly independent. While the quality of entries that we received were good, I still believe we are not getting enough entries in the broadcast category. So, once it establishes itself, the next time you will see far more entries coming from across broadcasters. This will encourage other broadcasters to come in next year. On the personal front, judging the entries along with all my colleagues from the industry was a great experience and it was a great team effort.

Pradeep Dwivedi, CEO, Sakal Media Group
The Abby’s this year has been path-breaking right from onset with the announcement of Master Jury. For the Publisher’s awards, the experience was very interesting as we had almost the same number of entries as last year, while the categories had reduced. This led to an engaging screening by an eminent jury balanced across geography, language and industry leadership. The merits of entries and the creative quotient of the campaign became supreme criterion almost naturally. For me, one of the things that stood out was the quality of work and the clear recognition that many other publishers are also doing great work on the ground, but somehow don’t pitch it at Abbys. A few of the like-minded jurors have agreed to take up this cause and help build an even more widespread entrant base for next year via roadshows, and celebrate the Print industry in India which is growing and thriving, clearly bucking the global trend. I would also applaud the process rigour established by the AdClub’s dynamic President, Vikram Sakhuja as well as Awards Governing Council Chairperson, Ajay Kakar and the wonderful logistical facilitation by AdClub/AAAI teams led by Bipin Pandit.

Tarun Katial, CEO, BIG FM

The ABBYs continue to maintain credibility with a fair judging system that warrants the recognition of the best creative work showcased across categories. Over the years, the ABBYs have succeeded and will continue to succeed in highlighting innovation and excellence in communication and advertising.

I had a fantastic experience as the jury chair for the branded content & entertainment category this year. It was a great opportunity for me and other industry experts on the panel to look at all the incredible campaigns. May the best win.

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