CavelosSim Beach, Goa: The winners at Goafest Abby 2008 ad awards were announced against the backdrop of a starry Goa beach night. The climax of the ad event saw Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd bagging two Grand Prix — print and out-of-home categories — for Luxor Highlighters and JWT India securing the Integrated Grand Prix for the Lead India campaign for The Times of India and the Film Grand Prix for the Nike commercial.
Mudra Communications Pvt. Ltd received the Radio Grand Prix for its Cycle Pure Agarbathies ad work. In film craft direction, film production house Nirvana Films won a Grand Prix for the Neo Sports — Get used to tension—spot. Goafest Abby 2008 had six Grand Prix awards, including two under the films category. The Grand Prix is awarded for the best work in each vertical. The jury judging each vertical decides on the entry that qualifies for the Grand Prix. Agencies by themselves cannot enter work for it.
After sweeping the Abby awards, when it was held under the Ad Club, for nearly a decade, Ogilvy and Mather did not win any Grand Prix at the Goafest Abby 2008 ad awards. It did however win the most medals.
JWT’s campaign for Lead India was one of the few campaigns that got a standing ovation from the audience. The Luxor Highlighters ad drew rounds of applause with its ‘Che, Charlie, Hitler’ idea, which showed sketches of Che Guevara, Charlie Chaplin and Hitler with a highlighter. The Nike ad, which has commuters playing cricket while stuck in a traffic jam, was another favorite. The Cycle Pure Agarbathies radio spot had a novel rendition of Jai Dev in shrill cycle-bell tune.
Teams from JWT and Contract Advertising India Pvt. Ltd unleashed countless festoons and crackers that popped colorful confetti every time their teams ran onto the stage, and managed to out-shout almost everyone else. “Throughout the 90s, it was either O&M or us (winning metals),” said Ravi Deshpande, chief creative officer, Contract. “I think we’ve made a sound comeback,” he added. Contract won one gold and 10 silvers at the Abbys this year. “It’s been a great awards ceremony because everyone’s here for the work and not where it comes from,” said Bobby Pawar, national creative director at Mudra.
Nirvana Film’s work for Neo Sports Broadcast Pvt. Ltd, titled Gas, weaved the story around a family on the verge of death as cooking gas fills a room even as one of the family members fiddles with a lighter, while another is in the process of lighting a lamp that could set off an explosion. The ad ends with a tagline that asks viewers to get used to the tension for the India vs. Pakistan matches.
Prakash Varma, director, Nirvana Films, said, “The ad was based purely on natural performances. We had to build that sense of tension in a small room with seven characters across different age groups that ranged from little children, the parents, a maid and the old grandparents. If even one of those performances were off, it would have killed the entire ad.”
The Leo Burnett India camp, including its usually composed chairman Arvind Sharma, did a bhangra dance towards the end of the awards ceremony. Said Santosh Padhi, executive creative director and national head of art, Leo Burnett India, “It’s really about the power of great craft.”
On the success of the Nike commercial, Agnello Dias, chief creative officer JWT India, said, “The commercial has a Goan song in it, and its ironic because it almost looks like I produced the commercial for the Goafest.” As for the Lead India campaign, Dias said, “It’s one of the biggest campaigns that I have ever worked on. I don’t think that people realize it that Lead India comprised as many as 20-25 films, 150 press ads and whole lot of outdoor work.”