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Abby awards countdown begins; 16 March is D-Day

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MUMBAI: The day of reckoning is at hand! The ad industry's night out! The Abby awards, the Oscars of Indian ad awards, will honour creative excellence in advertising for the previous year. The Abby awards 2003 will be held at Hotel Tulip Star in Juhu on 16 March 2003.

Well, the scheduling has been done in such a way that there is no clash with the cricket World Cup. However, there is a cricket-related association - Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is sponsoring the event for the fourth time in a row!

The Abby awards will be telecast on MAX, which is SET's premier movie and event channel.

SET executive vice president Sunil Lulla says: "Sony is proud and privileged to be associated with the Abby's for four consecutive years. The Abby awards are indeed the most premium awards, which are presented to achievers in the advertising and marketing fraternity. Sony has a long trusted relationship with the Abby where 713 brands were featured on Sony Entertainment Television in the year 2002. We are partners of the advertising and marketing community and have a strong brand extension with them."

Undoubtedly, the biggest and the most prestigious ad award show in the country will be attended by more than 3,000 professionals from the marketing, advertising, media, research and PR fraternity. The ambience, the passion and the excitement will be so high that even Bollywood stars and glamorous models make sure their presence is felt at the event.

The Advertising Club Bombay's organising committee member Ramesh Narayan says: "We are neck deep in organizational work related to the Abby awards as this year's Abbys will be bigger and better than ever before. The judging process is over and this year's jury comprises some of the finest minds in the business. After all, any award is as good as the jury! I must admit that the judges have been liberal in some categories and very strict in certain others."

And as a first, the INS (Indian Newspaper Society) Thinkprint awards will also be presented during the Abbys for the first time. Noted actor-director Aparna Sen will present the awards. The first prize is an all-expenses paid trip to Cannes for a couple. The judges include eminent personalities such as Simone Tata, Elsie Nanjee and Preeti Vyas-Gianneti.

Narayan adds: "In most of the categories, we have infused the "advertisers" element. After all, the advertisers and the clients are the ones who approve creativity and they should be brought into the mainstream judging process."

In addition to the regular Abby awards, three new awards have been constituted this year for the first time - best director, actor and actress in a TV commercial. These awards will be judged by film personalities such as Mahesh Bhatt and Govind Nihalini amongst others. Clearly, it looks as if Sony has had a major role to play in this effort.

SET's Lulla however clarifies: "Sony does not influence any category of awards instituted but we believe that this is a step in the right direction. The Abby committee, which oversees the award categories, has made the right move. This is certainly an attempt to appreciate the role and impact which programming and content has on the viewer/audience."

Narayan also adds: "We will also present four "most distinguished" recognition awards to personalities chosen from amongst ad professionals, media, models and ad film makers."

The fact that SET has been associated with this mega event for the so many years is indicative of the positive impact and mega mileage. Needless to say, SET has derived tremendous value from the association. "Through it's awareness and reach, brand recall of MAX has increased multifold with ICC Cricket World Cup 2003. This has also given a huge upswing in franchise, we believe partners in Abby in taking it to more homes and people, by making them aware of businesses and people behind great commercials," Lulla adds.

Brian Tellis owned Fountainhead Promotions will be the event managers for the event. The show will be kicked off by the musician trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. They will set the pace and tone.

In no other event will you find CEOs rubbing shoulders with rookie account executives or media trainees or creative artists. All of them will be present to view the most endearing spectacle where excellence is acknowledged and recognised.

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