Mumbai: The 40th Abby Awards, to be held at the Turf Club lawns in Mumbai, will be announced late on 3 March evening. While the awards, organized by The Advertising Club Bombay, have received a strong response this year with over 3,000 entries from 40 advertising agencies across India and neighbouring Pakistan, it is believed that some 10 leading advertising agencies, like Leo Burnett, Lowe, McCann Erickson, JWT, Ambience Publicis, Mudra, Saatchi & Saatchi, Contract, Rediffusion DY&R and Orchard, have decided to stay away from the event. Their grouse is that Abby continues to favour some agencies.
The Abby Awards, in fact, have been labelled as the “O&M awards” by its detractors and they allege that Abby has a predilection towards Ogilvy and Mather. The official reasons cited by those not participating in the event, however, ranged from high entry fees to company policy.
Some agency executives also pointed out that the rivalry between the two most respected advertising bodies in the country, The Advertising Club Bombay and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), is also responsible for the cleft in the industry. The spat between the two has inadvertently led several agencies to choose one award over the other. Not to mention the fact that O&M has continued to sweep the awards over the last few years.
“While the underlying discord between the two industry bodies has a lot to do with it, many agencies use it as an excuse to avoid loosing face at the awards. Year after year, O&M has been sweeping the awards. One can hardly deny them that, considering that they have put out some great work,” said an industry insider, on the condition of anonymity.
While the award ceremony will stand to loose some of its sheen in the backdrop of these controversies, it is likely to put up a show with close to 40 advertising agencies including biggies such as O&M, Grey Worldwide, Percept-H, FCB Ulka and Everest Brand Solutions participating. Some of the agencies that have chosen not to participate may also be nominated on account of entries sent in by production houses behind their work.
According to some people at The Advertising Club Bombay, the entries are up by 20% this time compared with the previous year thanks to multiple entries from some advertising agencies.