Business Today

What's in the peace pipe?

For years they’ve slung mud, called each other names and, when not busy doing that, had their respective award shindigs. The Indian advertising industry (fraternity wouldn’t quite be the right word) has, for some reason, had two apex bodies: The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and the Ad Club of Mumbai.

     Print Edition: January 27, 2008

AAAI ís Kamath: Come together
AAAI ís Kamath
For years they’ve slung mud, called each other names and, when not busy doing that, had their respective award shindigs. The Indian advertising industry (fraternity wouldn’t quite be the right word) has, for some reason, had two apex bodies: The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and the Ad Club of Mumbai. Every year the AAAI (or three As of I as it is known) handed out one set of awards, and the Ad Club another. This would lead to somewhat-predictable results: The creation of an AAAI camp and an Abby camp (that’s what the Ad Club awards are called), with members of one camp prone to boycotting the ceremony of the other.

Then, last fortnight came a bolt from the blue. The AAAI announced Goafest 2008, its third annual bash, which is scheduled for April. The difference this time around is that the do will be “held in association with the Ad Club of Mumbai.” So what gives? “It’s a coming together of two associations. The festival is the AAAI Goafest. That’s the mother ship, and under that, there will be three activities: The conclave, the seminars, and two Abby evenings—media awards on one day and the creative awards on the second day,” says Madhukar Kamath, President, AAAI.

According to Kamath, the Ad Club came forward with the idea of having just one awards ceremony between the two associations. “The Ad Club of Mumbai has been running an extremely successful Abby Evening for the last few years, so when they came forward and said that their constituents were pushing for one award, there was a meeting of minds because both the Ad Club of Mumbai and AAAI want what’s good for the industry, ” explains Kamath.

Teams from both associations got into a huddle, and a roundtable discussion involved heavyhitters from both sides, including Colvyn Harris, Subhash Kamath, Pratap Bose, Sashi Sina, Bipin Pandit (of the Ad Club) and Sudesh Kapoor (AAAI). “Everybody around the table was speaking the same language and it was a very collaborative and cooperative meeting at which issues were discussed and resolved,” points out Bhaskar Das, President, Ad Club of Mumbai, (and President, Bennett, Coleman & Co (also known as the Times Group).

Kamath for his part doesn’t think this is the first time that the industry seems to have agreed on something. “The advertising fraternity has agreed on a lot of things in the past, and it’s only implementation that we couldn’t get it right. I completely disagree that this is the first time the fraternity has come together!” As long as it isn’t the last time, it’s okay.

Deepti Khanna Bose

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