CEO, ABP Network
It’s a pleasure to see so many women in IMPACT’s Top 30 Under 30, 2020 list. It says a lot about how India has changed over the years. I have been judging this particular list since the time it was started and over the years, those who’ve been selected here, have gone on to be immensely successful in the business that they are in. It reflects the rigour that goes into the jury process. It certainly is a very difficult process and I think it was the last job we did before the COVID-19-induced lockdown was imposed. So congratulations to everyone on the list!
I can only remember at this moment what was happening when I was approaching 30. There was no 24x7 Television news; of course, there was 24x7 Television but they were running with just 4-5 hours of programming. The dotcom bubble had just burst and before I could cross 30, 9/11 happened and it changed how the world was going to be. I was seriously planning to do something that would take me to the United States to pursue my career there at that point of time. I realised all that had to be kept aside. Life compels you to move in certain directions. One of the things that I always remember and tell my daughter, who is now 20+, is that if you ever get confused, remember the poem from Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Madhushala, which says, “Raah pakad tu ek chala chal, Paa jayega Madhushala.” At the end of the day, you are going to accomplish your journey to its fullest when you follow your dream of what you think is right and not what others tell you is right. If you follow your dreams, if you follow what you want to do, you will definitely be where you want to reach. In the entire jury, we had jury members much more qualified than me in getting deep into the profiles and telling us what we should look at, because all those who filed the nominations are extremely talented. We had 167 profiles presented to us; so we divided ourselves into two teams to look at them. We designed a scorecard in which each jury member could rate entries individually. So, quite impartial scoring was done in round 1, then voting happened. When the scores were too close, we debated and discussed the work and accomplishments of nominees. To my mind, all 167 nominees are winners because at such a young age, even participating and thinking that you can reach somewhere is more important than whether you are actually able to make it to the list or not. According to me, it’s a marathon race, the job is to complete the task rather than trying to be first. But congratulations to those who made it to the Top 30 Under 30 list for 2020. To those who could not, I wish you all the luck and if you remain below 30 next year, do participate again. Else, IMPACT has a 40 under 40 list, we’ll see you there!
The entries were very strong. We had a great time going over 167 entries, a really great pool of people. It would have been great to see a little bit more diversity in entries from the non-agency side as well.
Young people are in a lot of leadership positions; that is really exciting. It’s true within our company and looks like it’s true within the entire industry. So, 23-26-year-olds are doing some amazing stuff. One other positive trend was there was a lot of mention of ‘digital first’ work, so lot of mention of TikTok, of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc., It shows that even advertisers are looking at digital and digital spends very seriously.
Co-founder, Pocket Aces
It doesn’t seem like 30 under 30. They could be in any list. It’s not about the age, it’s about the work they’ve done, which is very inspiring. Girls are getting out there and claiming their spot; that’s very encouraging. There were quite a few entries from digital agencies, media agencies, independent YouTubers, so that was also quite interesting and inspiring. The entire industry is moving forward towards digital expression. And that’s what is reflecting in this list as well. Next year, I would like to see some more from design and branding agencies. Probably that industry is not aware of this list yet, so I didn’t really see much representation.
Co-founder and Director, Elephant Design
The entries had a mix of very interesting young people - very vibrant and very new age. People have included a lot of social media-driven ideas and what they have actually achieved in terms of new age digital ideas. It’s good learning for us also to see how these people are thinking and how brands want and expect these people to push their limits and see to it that the new age media is taken care of, and reach is also taken care of, through their ideas. Because youngsters are so well versed with the communication world now, with being connected, they are lot more agile and a lot more nimble, and their ideas are much more open.
COO, Brand Solutions & Convergence, Network18 Digital
The jury process was happy, when the candidates that you backed, made it. It was a little bit sad when a few of them were vying for the last 2-3 available spots. But, I can safely say that there was much rigour to the process. And no stones were left unturned in finding consensus on who we all believed deserved to make it. So, I’m very happy with the process and good luck to the winners. One thing I want to tell everyone in advertising – don’t be shy. It’s possibly easier for creatives, and especially copy-writers, to talk about their work but I’d like to see a lot more representation from designers, servicing guys, strategists, etc., next year.
CEO, Dentsu Webchutney
The interesting insight that I got was for people who are so young, there were really senior members among the clients they work with, who were speaking really highly of them. That became, in fact, a strong parameter for judging - the fact that these people have such a great contribution that clients have so many great things to say about them. All in all, the jury process was great. We discussed and debated quite a lot amongst ourselves and it really helped - the different points of view of the other jury members - to help us take the right call on who should be on the IMPACT Top 30 Under 30, 2020 list.
Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India
It was encouraging to see work from across the industry, not just restricted to creative and media agencies. We saw some great work happening and it feels good to know that we are in safe hands, as the young talent is doing path-breaking stuff. The jury process itself was very interesting. There was so much of good work that we had to divide ourselves into two teams. It was hectic and quite difficult to make choices because it finally boiled down to minutest of the details, but it was also fun. It was good fun interacting with other jury members, and keeping our biases aside, it was a great process.
COO, Zenith (Publicis)
Out of the candidates we shortlisted, there were a lot of adventurous steps taken by youngsters in terms of the areas in which they are working. So, that was really a welcome trend. The jury process was very transparent, very meticulously done, because all the jury members were going through the whole list of entries provided by IMPACT, which included the major aspects of their profiles in terms of the awards, the accolades, the work they handle, the testimonials, and even self-representation of candidates.
N Jayakrishnan (JK),
Head - Brand Communications, Mathrubhumi
It was a really tough and thorough jury process. It was difficult, especially, to bring the last 10 out of the 30 into the list. There were healthy conversations around it, and heated arguments as well, but we all got around to consensus on the ones that deserve to be on the list. We were amazed to see some of these guys start working at 16 or 17 - to have delivered that much in 3 to 7 to 8 years of their career. Clearly, these are people who have impact on multi-touch-points, and not just one conventional field. It was also nice to see entries from different sectors - clients, digital agencies, media agencies, creative agencies and even start-ups.
Co-Chairman and CEO, 82.5 Communications
It was really tough because the entries were outstanding, but the entire jury process was fun, fair and meticulous. We had tense moments, and fun moments. A lot of permutations and combinations in terms of what do we think about people came up.
IMPACT’s Top 30 Under 30 is really special for me because this is a lot who come in with aspirations and potential, and in this journey between, say 20 to 30, is when they are actually defining what they are going to do in their careers. Many of them have pushed the boundaries, taken charge, shouldered responsibility, and at the same time not lost the ability to do something different and think differently, so that was exciting for me.
COO, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd
The whole process was extremely objective and transparent. There was a lot of healthy debate. There were conflicts all the time. The fact that there was a jury chair really helped. Everybody together did a great job though it was really tough and tiring; but I think we’ve got a great Top 30 Under 30. What stood out definitely is the body of work that these young guns have. It was almost putting all of us to shame that at such a young age, they had actually accomplished so much. It opened my eyes to what all people have been doing, some of them have even been working since the age of 16, so that’s quite admirable.
SVP & Head, Corp Marketing, Comm & Sustainability, Viacom18
The jury process was extremely professional, transparent and open. A lot of discussions happened on each and every candidate. We were given about 90 minutes to scan through the first list, but I think we took about 2-2.5 hours to do the first list, which means that everyone was invested in the process across the board. We went through each and every profile, the kind of work that they have done, so it was a very rigorous process. In terms of the entries, I
could clearly see two things… that the work they have done has really made sure that the clients’ business is moving upwards as well as it is purpose-driven, and a lot of skew is towards Digital.
Head of Marketing, Discovery India
Through a jury-led process, creating a listing of Top 30 talented individuals of the Indian advertising and communication industry, who are under the age of 30 at the time of judging. The objective is to celebrate outstanding achievers of the Indian media and advertising industry, who have already made a mark with their work, and impressed seniors and clients they deal with. For the first time this year, entries were open to young talent beyond the agency ecosystem, encompassing achievers in TV, Print, Radio, Advertising, Marketing, PR, Design, Content and Digital.
THE INITIAL LIST
The exchange4media Group invited nominations throughout the industry and garnered 190+ entries, after a basic round of filtration. Entries that did not belong to the media and advertising industry as well as incomplete entries were eliminated by the edit team, and the jury was presented with a list of 167 shortlisted names, along with their profile information, accolades won, testimonials and other details.
PARAMETERS FOR JUDGING
- Overall Entry Quality • Body of Work • Creativity
- Industry Recognition [Awards, testimonials, etc]
THE JURY PROCESS
The jury process was divided into two rounds. The first round entailed elimination - the jury individually scoring and bringing down the number of entries by the process of going through each and every entry and rating it, based on the parameters decided. This was followed by a second round of discussion on the shortlisted entries, thus arriving at the final Top 30 Under 30 list, 2020.
THE JURY THIS YEAR
- Avinash Pandey, (JURY CHAIR) CEO, ABP Network
- Kapil Arora, Co-Chairman and CEO, 82.5 Communications
- Ashwini Deshpande, Co-founder and Director, Elephant Design
- Jai Lala, COO, Zenith (Publicis)
- Sonia Huria, SVP & Head, Corp Marketing, Comm & Sustainability, Viacom18
- Azim Lalani, COO, Brand Solutions & Convergence, Network18 Digital
- Aditi Shrivastava, Co-founder, Pocket Aces
- Gautam Reghunath, CEO, Dentsu Webchutney
- Vednarayan Sirdeshpande, Head of Marketing, Discovery India
- N Jayakrishnan (JK), Head - Brand Communications, Mathrubhumi
- Kranti Gada, COO, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd
- Hemant Shringy, Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India
- Gulshan Verma, SVP & Head, Client & Agency, Hotstar