Stage set for Radio Mirchi Kaan Awards

MUMBAI: Lend your ears, the first ever award ceremony from Radio Mirchi seems to be saying. Based on the western Pencil One Show awards, the awards function is tentatively scheduled to be held on 13 March 2004 in Mumbai.

The Times Group radio station has invited entries for the calendar year 2003. With the entries still trickling in, the organization has extended the last date to 27 February.

While the radio station has received about 160 entries till date, they are expecting about 250-300 entries.

A total of 13 eminent personalities from the advertising industry have been roped in to adjudge the awards. The jury list includes McCann-Erickson national creative director and executive vice-president Prasoon Joshi, Lowe national creative director R Balakrishnan, Black Magic's Abhijeet Choudhary, creative consultant Deepak Kakkar, Ambience Publicis vice-chairperson and chief creative officer Elsie Nanji, Oxygen partner Gangadharan Menon, Leo Burnett national creative director K Shridhar, Enterprise Nexus Communications chairman Mohammed Khan, music director Rajat Dholakia, Equinox's Ram Madhvani, Saatch & Saatchi national creative director Ramesh Ramanathan, Lemon, founder, Euro RSCG chief creative officer Ravi Deshpande, and Vihaan Communications managing director Rekha Nigam.

That apart, the organizers have got international auditor Ernst & Young as its official notary and tabulators.

In its inaugural year, the radio station has instituted awards in 14 categories, ranging from foods, beverages, toiletries and household care, business products and services to Public Service and Charity Fund-Raising. Speaking about the categories Radio Mirchi national marketing head Gautam Gulati offered, "Besides 14 categories, we also have instituted Crystal award that will be given to the exceptional work of the year."

Radio Mirchi will also institute special awards for the most outstanding radio writer, voice-over artist, production house and client of the year 2003. Entires from un-released ads are also invited.

Each of the 14 categories will have Gold, Silver and Bronze award winner. Special trophies have already being designed for the awards. Based on the Grammy model, the awards will have a gold, silver or a bronze colour mike fixed on a wooden base. The two lucky winners will get a chance to go to the Cannes Awards in July 2004.

But the awards have had their share of teething problems. For starters, the main qualm people had about the awards, instituted to laud the performance of the clients advertising across the radio channels, was its transparency. "We instituted the awards to encourage the creativity and category building. To ensure that fairness of the award all the ads are tabulated by Ernst & Young and later on transferred on to a CD for the jury to look at. Our personal bias isn't given a chance to seep in."

What about the entry fee, Rs 750 for a single entry and Rs 1500 for each campaign entry? "We decided to ask for the entry fee just to convey the seriousness of the awards. Even AAAI, Abby and RAPA have an entry fee. Any way we will give away the money for charity once the function is done," says Gulati.

As for the actual event , the underlying theme will be voices. With dignitaries from Bollywood being the special invitees, the organizers are toying with an idea about Bollywood acts for the event. While the company will be spending about Rs 350-400 million for the two hour event to be held at either Grand Hyatt or NCPA, it isn't keen on taking up any sponsors for the event.

It is however making its presence felt in the media circles via print ads issued across the Times network and radio spots on their channel. While the ads are innovative enough, even the entry form has a wry humour element to it. Interesting.

The awards will be aired differed live on the channel and the radio station is in talks with the CNBC and NDTV for a special programme.

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