The last major Asian ad awards of the year, the 2010 Indian Effies, were held in Mumbai yesterday. It was a great night for Ogilvy India, which won four Gold, seven Silver and three Bronze Effies and therefore retained its Agency of the Year title from 2009.
More broadly, it's been a highly successful year for agencies both on the subcontinent and across the Asia-Pacific region, with consumer demand rebounding decisively from the credit crunch-induced slowdown felt around the world in 2008 and 2009. And competition for awards is also booming. Speaking to Campaign India, Effies jury chairman Shashi Sinha (also ceo of Lodestar, a major local agency) said that "12 or 14" agencies can now expect to get awards, while in previous years there were just "three or four" winners.
Ogilvy's Golds came for 'Pure Cricket' for Adidas India Marketing, two campaigns for Vodafone Essar and 'Pulsar MTV Stunt Mania' for Pulsar, a motorbike manufacturer. This campaign saw the agency helping to set up a reality show for amateur stunt bikers on MTV India, which was then heavily promoted online and across social media. Auditions for the show were held in six cities, and a little stardust was lent to the brand and the concept by Alan Amin, a top Bollywood stuntman.
A YouTube search testifies to the viral success of the campaign: re-uploads of the MTV show, Pulsar stunt TVCs and fan-shot video of the auditions have all gained tens of thousands of views so far. The buzz was also built by Amin's own instructional videos - how-to guides for motorbike stunts.
Difficult to imagine a branded promo like this running in the more tightly-regulated European markets...
So the vitality of the Asian ad industry isn't in question. But there are concerns over how creative ideas will be nurtured by the typical client - and these concerns extend all the way to the night's big winners.
"Lots of agencies have done some good work and deservedly won," Piyush Pandey of Ogilvy & Mather South Asia, said. "I have only one worry that there are great ideas which are very small now. Hopefully they will become big, and clients will also believe they can be taken to a much larger scale."
Sentiments surely shared by many creatives across the world.
In fact, it's this very need - to support great ideas with a sustainable business framework - that has informed the decision to launch the Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, announced earlier today. We're now accepting entries for Asian campaigns that demonstrate great strategic thinking - the authors of the winning case study get a $5,000 prize.
And the size of the agency or client need not be a barrier to success: for one thing, the award is free to enter. Miles Young, worldwide ceo of Ogilvy & Mather, will chair the judges' panel, and the deadline for entries falls on March 18th 2011. You can visit the prize's website here.
As ever, Warc is keeping track of upcoming awards in its Awards Calendar, and next year's dates are coming in all the time. You can view the calendar here.