O&M's men in black reign supreme at the Abbys yet again

MUMBAI: Here come the men in black!! That could have well been the song of the evening as the ad frat saw the Ogilvy & Mather team (dressed in black) collect award after award for most categories and in the end predictably coming out as the Agency of the Year at the Abby Awards 2004 held on 20 March at the Tulip Star hotel in Mumbai.

The invincible agency bagged a total of six golds and 16 silvers toting up 33 points and in the bargain leaving the second runner up McCann Erickson - with a tally of only eight points with two golds and four silvers - far behind. Talk about domination!

O&M's excitement was palpable as it also bagged the prized Campaign of the Year for Hutch and the Best Continuing Campaign - gold and silver for Fevicol and Orange respectively. The Creative Advertiser of the Year was bagged by none other than Hutch and deservedly so.

Leo Burnett with two golds and two silvers and RMG David with six silvers jointly stood third in the awards race with a tally of six points each. Rediffusion DY&R bagged five silvers whereas Enterprise Nexus boasted of two golds. Ambience Publicis stood its ground with four silvers.

While talking to indiantelevision.com, an elated O&M group president and national creative director Piyush Pandey said, "It was an expected win for us. There was a lot of competition but in a way we were competing against ourselves all the time."

Pandey’s ‘boys’ were no less pleased. O&M’s senior creative director Pushpinder Singh and Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar were two content men as were their colleagues Rajiv Rao and Mahesh V. Mahesh bagged the Copywirter of the Year award for the memorable Hutch campaign while Rao was jointly adjudged the Best Art Director of the Year with Leo Burnett’s Santosh Padhi.

After the innumerable jogs to the stage and back for Close Up, Cadbury’s Chunky, Tata Safari Exi, Ad Asia et al, Singh and Mahabaleshwarkar were one tired pair. Singh said, “Obviously I’m very happy that we have done well and have come out at top but it’s sad that overall the kind of ads that are being made today are not that good. A bit disappointing is the fact that this time many popular campaigns have got the top awards but they are not necessarily good ones.”

On the other hand, Mahabaleshwarkar said, “There is a lot of volume in ads this time. So in terms of competition it was tough but it was a predictable win for us. We have done a lot of good work and it has paid.” Singh and Mahabaleshwarkar are the duo behind the famed ‘Kya Aap Close Up Karte Hain’ ad which won the silver in the Best Television Single Ad in the Toiletries and Household Care category and also the silver in the Best Radio ad.

O&M’s ‘kathakali’ TVC for Eno also won the gold in the Best Television Single Ad in the Toiletries and Household Care category. The man behind the ‘kathakali’ ad Porus Kahreghat said, “I am very happy that this ad got the gold. There was a lot of competition and some good work in this category.” Eno’s competitors in this category were Godrej Shaving Cream, Close Up, Ranipal all white and Odonil (the latter three from O&M’s kitty). While one would have expected Close Up to grab the gold, it’s not that disappointing because after all, the silver and the gold came to the same agency! Kahreghat’s excitement was contagious but nonetheless he had reason to be happy as his TVC in the Public Service category for IAPA Adoption fetched him three silvers. And well deserved they were.

Moving away from the indomitable agency to talk about the others now… McCann won the gold in the Beverages and Tobacco category for the Coca Cola ‘Paanch matlab chota Coke’ TVC with the unmatched Aamir Khan and for Sweetex in the Outdoor category. McCann’s Public Service ad for Our Lady of Fatima Church fetched the agency a couple of silvers.

Leo Burnett’s press ad in the Services for the Household Sector for Senso Restaurant fetched a gold Abby for the agency whereas the other came in the New Interactive Media category for Darna Mana Hai. Enterprise Nexus won two golds in the Media category for The Times of India press ad as well as the TVC.

Back to the leader now... The Ogilvy team dominated the INS Think Print Awards too. While the gold-winning entry was bagged by Heetal Dattani and Ranjeet Sasidharan of Ambience Publicis (the twosome won an all expenses paid trip to Cannes Advertising Festival this year), the silver along with a cash prize of one lakh rupees was awarded to O&M’s Amol Ghotkar and Lovella Rebello. The bronze in this category was also bagged by O&M’s Dileep Cherian and Priyanka Bhattacharya who got richer by Rs 50,000 that day.

This year the Abbys also saw a new category - that of Brand India for which O&M yet again made its presence felt by grabbing a gold and a silver in the campaign category. In the press category Grey Worldwide jointly won the silver with Concept Communication.

The awards which were organized by the Ad Club of Bombay were hosted by Rakshandha Khan and Kunal Vijeyakar. The performances for the evening were by a Kerela based dance group – Samudra, singer Sunidhi Chanuhan and the ‘Allah ke bande’ singer Kailash Kher. The chief guest for the evening was none other than Sanjay Dutt who looked sizably impressed by the quality of ads as he gave away a few awards.

Three Distinctive Recognition Awards this year were given to filmmaker Zafar Hai, calligraphist RK Joshi and music and ad jingle composer Vanraj Bhatia for their contribution to the industry.

Overall, looks like the 55 judges for this year’s awards had quite a tough task on their hands. But with too many joint silvers and a couple of joint gold awards too… the novelty of the receiving the awards was somehow reduced. It remains to be seen what the agency wallas churn out this year so as not to have too many shared wins next time round!

Click here for the complete list of the Abby 2004 winners

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