The awards that matter

Faith in advertising industry awards will be restored fully if these awards were given out too…

Naresh GuptaUpdated: Thursday, May 05, 2022, 09:09 AM IST
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The award season is here, and the best of best will soon be honoured on the sunny beaches of Goa. By now, all the campaigns that have won awards are but waiting to be announced. Congratulations to the winners in advance!

There is a whole bunch that has not been awarded, though, and this is the list of awards that must be given out. I feel that the faith in ad awards will be restored fully if these were the awards given out. So do humour me.

The first award is ‘I Need All The Money Award’ and it goes to the Kamala Pasand Paan Masala… oops… sorry… sugary sweet elaichi team. After all, it takes gumption for the biggest star of India to denounce the brand, the endorsement and continue to advertise, even shoot new films after the denouncement. The fans of the superstar may have a point of view, but the brand is winning the battle of pouches.

The second award too belongs to the sweetened elaichi category. This ‘I Will Take You For A Ride Award’ goes to Vimal Elaichi for getting not one but three superstars to sell humble saffron elaichi, except the product has almost zilch elaichi, and comes with a fine print that says ‘not safe for consumption by children’. Akshay Kumar, the current ambassador for fitness and all things healthy, is telling all of us that eating an artificial sweetener-loaded, added flavour elaichi is good for us. Akshay, though, is clever; he has some strange story about walking away from the brand and donating the money bit. It’s a bit like the brand itself: We have saffron, but we don’t have saffron.

The third award, the ‘We Are An Honest Brand Award’, goes to Signature Paan Masala. They are brave for not hiding behind saffron or elaichi and make Hrithik Roshan consume paan masala right out of a can. There is so much that the superstars are doing to make us eat elaichi, it will look like we are an elaichi-deficient country.

The fourth award is ‘We Keep Our Eyes Closed Award’ to the regulatory body of advertising. From elaichi to drinking water to glassware, they keep their eyes firmly off the screens. Sometimes, all a brand needs is eyes being closed by regulators and consumers, but not by the award jury.

The fifth award is ‘We Know You Are Stupid Award’ to Meesho. From hiring the most expensive cricketers to running square social media format ads to tell us that the prices are ridiculously low, it takes a special kind of bravery. Or maybe stupidity.

The sixth and final award ‘We Will Bore You With The Worst Ads Award’ should go to the Indian Premier League. It is amazing how from enlisting large brands like Jio to fledgling brands that sell you gambling, they are hell bent on boring the hell out of us. The average IPL match has 90-100 ad breaks, each break deserves award-winning patience from the audience.

I am sure there is a lot more we can add to this list. Maybe this can become a monthly activity. Advertising deserves awards, and more of this kind.

(The author is Co-founder and CSO, Bang in the Middle)

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