Ashish Bhasin elected as president of AAAI

MUMBAI: Media veteran Ashish Bhasin has become the new president of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) for the year 2018-2019. Bhasin takes over from Nakul Chopra who will now be the ex-officio member of the new AAAI executive committee.

Publicis Media India CEO Anupriya Acharya was elected vice president of the association.

Bhasin has been a part of AAAI as the vice president and has now taken up a much larger role. He is also the chairman and CEO South Asia for Dentsu Aegis Network and a member of the Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific Executive Board.

Outgoing president Mr Nakul Chopra stated, “I have been privileged to lead AAAI for two years - my sincere thanks to all my fellow members for their support. Hearty congratulations to Ashish on his election as President. He is not only a key influencer in our industry but also a AAAI veteran. I am sure that AAAI will only grow from strength to strength under his tutelage.”

The announcement was made today at the St. Regis hotel, with Ram Sehgal being conferred with the AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award 2018. 

The AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honour to be given to an individual in India for his/her outstanding contribution to the Advertising Industry.

The award was presented to Sehgal in recognition of his outstanding leadership and contribution to the advertising industry in literally establishing Delhi as a premier centre for advertising in India.

It was this foundation that later led JWT Delhi to become the largest office in India and among the biggest in the world. Sehgal also helped in moulding Contract Advertising into one of the finest agencies and for leading AAAI and establishing one of the finest training programs in the industry ever. 

AAAI is the official, national organisation of advertising agencies, formed in 1945, to promote their industry interests. The Association promotes professionalism, through its founding principles, which uphold sound business practices between Advertisers and Advertising Agencies and the various media. AAAI consists of small, medium and large-sized agencies as its members, who together account for almost 80 per cent of the advertising business placed in the country.

Indian Television Dot Com exclusively spoke to the man of the evening, Ashish Bhasin to understand his goals for AAAI and the Indian media current state. 

Goals you have set for yourself as president of the Advertising Agencies Association of India?

Its a huge honour for me to be elected as the president of AAAI as we are in our 74th year. People who are so illustrious and stalwarts have occupied the position. My immediate past president Nakul Chopra has done a great job, So, the first goal is to live up to their standards.There is a complete change in the Media and Advertising industry and we have to change and adapt with times to make sure we continue to represent all constituents of our industry. And those constituents are constantly changing. Digital is now becoming pretty important today and we should encourage more digital agencies to be a part of AAAI. We also need to agile to the changing dynamics of the media industry and take up the industry’s issues as and when needed. 

We also need to bring in younger people in the industry and also have more women on board. The vice president of the association this year is a female leader after a very long time. Anupriya Acharya is a very competent lady and its great to have her on board. 

How do you view the current Indian advertising industry and what do you think are the challenges for the advertising industry?

There is a complete momentum of change in the marketing and services business across and not just A&M. While there is an interplay between consumers going increasingly digital but we are lucky to be one of those few counties where all medias are increasing. Print and TV are still growing steadily in India. We also have to get out of the procurement and squeezing mindset so that enough resources are available with the agencies to invest in talent which they can use for their client. It is a period of change globally.  AAAI and the Indian industry should take this up as an opportunity and that’s where our focus will be. 

What will the focus areas for AAAI this year?

We want to be the apex body that best represents the advertising agencies along with other industry associations, the government or any other organisation. 

AAAI is said to be the Big Boys Club. While we know there are fewer women in top leadership roles in the advertising industry, over the years we have never seen women as leaders or even participating much in AAAI. Why is that?

It is a perception and we have to correct it. Some even call AAAI as “The Old Guy’s Club”. In an organisation, we need to have diversity and more women in the business as managers who take active roles. I am extremely pleased that after several years, we have  a female vice president and I hope and will work towards having many more women in the association. I hope our new EC will be a judicious mix of young and experienced because you need to have experienced people to have that continuity and wisdom which is gathered over the years. But we also need fresh and young blood in the organisation. We also want to include other agencies, be it big or small, so we are not labelled as a “Club”. 

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