AAAI hits 60; Rakshit bestowed Prem Narayan Award

MUMBAI: ‘Once in 60 years comes a moment like this’ was what set the evening rolling at the Advertising Agencies Associations of India (AAAI) Diamond Jubilee celebrations which saw full attendance from India's advertising stalwarts and luminaries.

It began with the AAAI president Srinivasan Swamy, the special invitee/star speaker BBDO Worldwide CEO Andrew Robertson, Diamond Jubilee seminar series chairman Neville Gomes and Mudra Communications CEO and MD Madhukar Kamat lighting the lamp as a symbolic gesture of AAAI's existence for the last six decades.


Swamy took the audience through the journey of AAAI from its inception when the Indian advertising industry was worth just Rs 1.46 billion to 2005 where it currently stands at Rs120 billion. Some of the key initiatives that AAAI has in mind this year are as follows:

1) A book on the history of advertising as an andeavour to bridge the information gap for future generations

2) Four one day seminars on creative, media and research; the first being kickstarted tomorrow.

3) An advertising symposium in November

4) The launch of the AAAI- Indo-African creative awards

5) An advertising centre which brings together all the industry bodies at one location.



The occasion also marked the conferring of the 17th AAAI-Premnarayen award on Gautam Rakshit, managing director Advertising Avenues. Rakshit has been a past president of the AAAI and also has the distinction of having been at the helm of key industry bodies like ABC, NRSC and ASCI. He is currently a trustee of STACA and was the first Indian to chair the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA). He also played a stellar role in steering Ad Asia (Jaipur) 2003.

Rakshit, who started off as a management graduate at Cadbury’s joint Clarion Advertising as an account director in 1980. He formed his own home grown agency called Advertising Avenues in 1982 to develop smaller brands, and Rakshit has managed till date to keep to that vision. He was a key catalyst in changing the mindsets between the advertiser, advertising professional and the media. “This is truly an honour, as it is coming from my own peers and my industry and this is one award that I will cherish for long,” rakshit said while accepting the award.




The highlight for the evening was Omnicom’s largest agency’s CEO Robertson speaking about the digital economy which he referred to as the attention economy. “One can move from world to world at a touch of a bubble; its no more called multi-tasking but serial monotasking,” Robertson said.

Throwing light on the fact that it was easier today that ever before to move between options for consumers, and hence the advertising industry today is posed with a major challenge. Robertson’s solution to beat the fast paced and bursting growth of digitalization was to provide compelling creative content. “It’s not the medium and the technology, but the quality of content; in fact the message is the medium.” Validating his point, Robertson cited examples of Rowling’s Harry Potter which was sold out in the first couple of hours after it hit the stands. Coming to the Indian advertising scenario, he pointed out that India had a rich talent base but India has yet to make a mark on the international scene. Citing the Cannes 2005 example, while Thailand won 26 lions, Brazil – 62, Africa – 25, India landed itself only 5.

He concluded saying, “I hope to come back for the AAAI – 75th anniversary and see India way above her feet.”

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