Dharini Mishra, Global Head of Brand, Suzlon, recounts her experience as a jury member for the Indian Digital Media Awards, 2012 and walks away with a new perspective of the medium.
As always, it was quite daunting to be on the jury of one of the leading digital media awards properties in the country. Like most marketers, the general consensus went towards excusing oneself graciously and saving us all some embarrassment.
Awards are all about agencies, right? What do serious marketers who concern themselves with solid numbers, brand health reporting and most importantly the ROI of marketing investments have to do with ‘awards’? Rather an unproductive way of spending one’s time, of which there is precious little, anyway. Thank God none of it prevailed when I got a call from exchange4media. I must admit that the caller very successfully tugged on my thin strings of conviction in the digital medium. Having been termed a self-styled evangelist of the medium and its effective championing in India, especially among corporate brands, I owed it to the fraternity to stand up and be counted. Not to mention the immense curiosity to get a behind-the-scenes master class on the length and breadth of what the medium has achieved in India so far.
The first round started with remote judging. With hours and hours of judging entries online, the tedious nature of the medium and its need for much heightened infrastructure was glaringly apparent. It is not easy to spend frustrating hours downloading videos, waiting for flash files to open up and links to various web servers function smoothly. But the work was scintillating enough to keep me glued to it. Several litres of coffee later, I was transported into a world where anything seemed possible. Going over hundreds of entries and shortlisting them, some created a special place in your heart while others fell frustratingly short of the potential they clearly had. At this point, it is imperative to mention the brilliant LinkedIn campaign done by Amex - very smart and very strategic. Also what stood out was the MTS Social Networks campaign, which showed ‘smart thinking negates the need for big budgets’.
When the jury finally met in Mumbai on a muggy Saturday, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the enthusiasm of my peers. Sacrificing their well-earned late mornings and lazy brunches, all of them were actually on time (rarely happens in Mumbai) and rearing to go. Also, what captivated me was the fact that there was a very healthy mix of agency representatives and marketers on the jury. I am yet to see so many marketers from various industries on the jury of any advertising award, and as Shashi Sinha (CEO, Lodestar UM and Jury Chair for IDMA) mentioned, this could well be a start for other awards to follow.
This has in many ways brought to the table what marketers look for in marketing/advertising campaigns and how they would evaluate success. As a result, we had the most real campaigns being recognized and awarded in the industry so far. It was fantastic to hear questions asked on what were the final deliveries, how do we ensure that campaigns were actually released in the real world and delivered real results, what was the strategy behind the campaign, did they actually meet the business objective set out or is it just a good piece of creative work… Of course, the nature of the digital medium makes such evaluations easier. The excitement peaked by the time we were on to the Digital Person of the Year and the Start-Up of the Year. What an inspired discussion that was, and what conviction! At times, we could not reach a consensus and were very happy to dig further and demand more data. No stone was left unturned to ensure that we got it right. Not just for the awardees, but also for the industry, which is poised to leapfrog into the future. I was as happy as I’d be if I had won the award myself when they announced both my favourites Flipkart.com and Allschoolstuff. com as winners. What fantastic vision and equally spot-on execution!
At the awards night itself, it was a feeling of fulfilment, a feeling of being part of something substantial. It was obvious that this is a young medium. A lot of rules of traditional media and communication do not apply to it. But maybe it is time we started a new way of looking at advertising, a way of aligning creative thinking to business deliveries, where numbers matter as much as inspiring ideas. Maybe it is the right time to bring both ends of the business - the agencies and the marketers - on the same table. Maybe it’s time for the real medium and definitely the real campaigns to reign supreme.
Richer from the experience, I am convinced that Digital is not just the medium of choice for the future, but is defining and redefining the rules of the game every day, today, even as I write this piece. I have huge respect for the brave warriors of Digital advertising who are fighting stereotypes, challenging boundaries and pushing the envelope with a clear touchstone of tremendous measurability. Thank you, IDMA, for giving me hope and a heartening experience in a world of cynicism. Much appreciated, and my best wishes always.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO CANNES
AD CLUB BOMBAY OFFERS ROGER HATCHUEL ACADEMY AWARD
The Advertising Club Bombay along with The Times Group, the official representative of Cannes in India, is offering an opportunity to undergraduate & postgraduate students this summer to earn the prestigious Roger Hatchuel Academy for an all-expenses paid trip to The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 2012, including a week of training. Applicants can bring their identity cards and photocopies of their passports to register at the Ad Club’s office at 504, Radhe Vallabh Society, French Bridge Corner, Opera House, Mumbai–400004 before Tuesday, May 15, 2012 between 10.30 am to 3 pm. A written test will be held on May 22, 2012. It will be followed by an exercise of making a theme-based ad. The eligibility criteria as defined by Cannes is that (i)the candidate has to be a student of Advertising, Communications or Marketing with a view to working in the Advertising industry (ii) between 18 and 23 years of age.
AD AGE EXTENDS ITS GLOBAL COVER CONTEST DEADLINE TO MAY 7
The Advertising Age has invited young creatives from all over the world to design a globalthemed cover for Ad Age’s June 11 issue, and will award the winner a free trip to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 2012. The new deadline for this is May 7. The Global Cover Contest celebrates the global issue Ad Age publishes each June, which focuses on the international advertising and marketing scene, innovative marketers and their strategies, and how brands connect with consumers around the world. Ad Age welcomes cover ideas from creatives aged 30 or younger. Entries must convey a global theme, be original work and, of course, be awesome. Students and professionals from all disciplines can participate. For more information, log on to www. adage.com/globalcovercontest. The winning cover design will be featured on a billboard at Cannes during the festival held from June 17 to 24.