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O&M grabs top honours at 14th Effie Awards, Soho Square wins Grand Effie

Advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather (O&M) took home top honours at the 14th Effie Awards — India’s leading recognition for advertising campaigns — held Friday evening while Soho Square walked away with the Grand Effie. Organised by the Advertising Club Bombay since 2001, the Effie gauges how effective an ad campaign has been in the marketplace for the year under review. 

60 ad agencies, including all the big firms that opted to stay away from the Creative Abbies last year, actively participated at the Effies this year. O&M topped the leader board with 173 points, wresting the Effie Agency of the Year award from last year’s winner Lowe, who had broken O&M’s four-year winning streak at the Effies in 2014. 

O&M bagged two golds (16 points), eight silver (48 points) and 16 bronze trophies (64 points) for work across brands such as Google (Lost Friends Meet Through Google Search), Bournvita (Tayari Jeet Ki), Star Sports and Brooke Bond Red Label (Swad Apnepan Ka or Brewing Togetherness). In addition, it had  18 finalists in the Effie Awards this year for which it notched up 36 points as well as nine points for being a contributing agency. 

“This is a reward for the work that young people at our agency are doing. I hope to see them continuing with this. We did not go with the mindset that we had to win. We simply produced good work and were rewarded for it,” said an elated Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, O&M (South Asia).

At third place was McCann Worldgroup India with 90 points for two gold (16 points), five silver (30 points) and eight bronze (32 points) plus six finalists (12 points).

Tied at fourth place were JWT and WPP agency Soho Square, the latter best known for executing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s general election campaign last year for which it also bagged the Grand Effie. Both JWT and Soho Square had 34 points each. The former for two silver (12 points), four bronze (16 points) and three finalists (six points). While Soho Square had three silver (18 points) and one bronze (four points) in addition to the Grand Effie, which gave it 12 points, helping it break into the top four. 

“For a young agency like ours, it feels great to be able to get into the top four,” said Anuraag Khandelwal, executive creative director and creative head, Soho Square. “We hope to raise the bar for ourselves and continue doing our work,” he said.

At fifth position was DDB Mudra with one silver (six points), one bronze (four points) and three finalists (six points). 

The country’s largest advertiser Hindustan Unilever was the Effie Client of the Year was the second time in a row with 64 points, followed by Mondelez India and Star India tied in second position at 32 points, followed by Marico at number three with 28 points and Idea Cellular with 22 points respectively.

Advertising effectiveness at the Effies is measured in terms of top of mind recall induced and improvement in sales of the brand advertised, which is demonstrated by the participating agency through in-depth case studies. The Creative Abbies, on the other hand, looks at quality of work entered, how it was conceptualised and executed. Also 

Unlike the Abbies, which focuses on creative agencies, the Effie Awards gives equal weightage to both agencies and their clients. The latter are encouraged to join their agencies when receiving awards, and more importantly, jurors consist of clients and executives from ad agencies. There are no creative heads on the jury. 

“Fifty per cent of the jury consists of advertisers and the balance is made up of business heads and strategic planners from ad agencies,” Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer, financial services, Aditya Birla Group, who is also the chairperson of the Effie Committee, said. “In all there were over 200 jurors for the Effies this year and we also tried to bring the awards here closer to the guidelines followed by the Effie franchise globally,” he said.

Lowe Lintas & Partners were in second place with 142 points for seven  gold (56 points), six silver (36 points) and eight bronze (32 points) metals. This was for brands such as Tanishq (Remarriage), Tata Tea (Power of 49), Havells (Respect for Women), Fair & Lovely (Postpone Marriage by Three Years) and Idea. It also had nine finalists giving it an additional 18 points on the leader board. 

S Subramanyeswar, national planning director, Lowe Lintas & Partners, said his agency “narrowly missed winning”. 

“But it is still a momentous occasion for us since our tally of gold was highest among all the winners. It does indicate that we are producing work that counts in the marketplace,” he added. 

The  Effies this year also broke a few records. It received the highest number of entries this year since the Effies were instituted in India in 2001. There were 465 entries from 60 participating agencies as against 419 from 52 agencies last year. “These numbers have to be put in context because the entry fee for the Effie is steep (in comparison to the Abbies, which charges around Rs 5000 per entry). It stands at Rs 25,900, which is higher than what it was last year, when it was Rs 23,000,” Kakar added.

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