Longhand 3.0 goes live, calls for entries

In its third year, the contest on long copy ads will be judged by the likes of Neil French, Mohammed Khan, Chris dRozario, Josy Paul, Alok Nanda, Rory Sutherland, Prathap Suthan and Deepak Joshi

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Longhand 3.0 goes live, calls for entries

Longhand 3.0 goes live, calls for entries

In its third year, the contest on long copy ads will be judged by the likes of Neil French, Mohammed Khan, Chris dRozario, Josy Paul, Alok Nanda, Rory Sutherland, Prathap Suthan and Deepak Joshi

Sohini Sen | Mumbai | May 8, 2014


In social terms, two is company and three is a crowd. But in advertising, three is certainly a bigger, better number than two. The fact that the third year of Longhand – Longhand 3.0 – is under way and has opened its doors for entries should bring a smile to those who are still biased towards long copy.

Longhand is a creative contest which promotes, encourages, recognises and awards long copy in advertising. Started by Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, Creative Direcor at Grey Worldwide, the contest is inviting entries till the end of the month, i.e., May 31. Unlike any other award show, Longhand doesn't have an entry fee or a maximum number of entries you can send in. What is even better, perhaps, is the fact that the ad doesn't have to be released. The winner of the three briefs this year will get paid for the ad and it will be published by the sponsors National Geographic, Concern India and Zee Media.

Bodhisatwa Dasgupta Bodhisatwa Dasgupta

“This year's Longhand is probably its biggest yet. And that has everything to do with the people we have on board this year, right from the sensational judges to the fantastic clients that have agreed to partner with us. The fact that National Geographic, Concern India and Zee Media have willingly agreed to publish the winning ads as real time work just pushes the power of good copy further,” said Dasgupta.

This year's awards will be judged by some of the best names in contemporary longhand copywriting. While previous years have seen the likes of Satbir Singh, Swapan Seth and Nima DT Namchu judging the competition, this year's jury comprises Deepak Joshi (Ogilvy), Prathap Suthan (Bang in the Middle), Neil French, Josy Paul (BBDO), Alok Nanda (Alok Nanda & Company) and Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy).

The Jury Presidents are Chris dRozario and Mohammed Khan.

“The great tragedy of contemporary advertising is that long copy is conspicuous by its absence. Man invented language for better communication, but it is shocking to see that the people in the communication business seem to ignore this basic fact. It is the ability of speech and words that makes us humans superior to any other living creature on the planet,” remarked Jury President Mohammed Khan.

Khan further elaborated, “The whole business of advertising is about engaging the consumer. And the most effective way to do that is through long copy. It's not about writing smart headlines. Long copy is the oxygen and life-blood of the advertising business. All this talk of nobody having the time to read is hogwash. Nobody has time to read something if it's not worth reading! If it is worth reading people will read even 1,000 words. People read books, don't they?”

What are the expectations for this year's version 3.0, then? Said Dasgupta, “I'm not sure how many entries will come in. The first year, we had more than 800, while the second year brought in about 700-odd. But the quality in the second year was far superior than in the first. So I'm not really bothered about how many ads come in, as long as all of them are spectacular. And they will be. There are fantastic writers all around us, writers who love their craft. Just that because there's no avenue for them to showcase their work, we haven't heard of them. This year should change that.”

The briefs this year are from the three partners – National Geographic (for its Facebook page), Concern India (Elderly Care) and Zee Media (Everyday Heroes). More information about the contest and the briefs can be found on the website or its Facebook page

But whatever happened to long copy ads to force the industry to create an award just to revive it?

Khan explained, “The big culprit, I believe, has been the Cannes Awards. About 15 years back, they started giving awards to work which has one picture and three words of copy! Almost every creative person around the world jumped onto this bandwagon and advertising has never been the same since. Partly, this is because through the 60s, 70s and 80s, the business was dominated by copywriters – William Bernbach, David Ogilvy and David Abbott, etc. – but now it is dominated by account planners and they have sucked the life out of creativity and advertising itself. Therefore, what Bodhi (Bodhisatwa Dasgupta) is doing is very important and must be encouraged. Everyone who loves this business must try to bring long copy back to centrestage.”

So folks, if you love long copy, here is the chance to be rated by the best of the best. Start writing, there is no word limit to your creative copy. As the call for entry announcement says: “Everybody can participate, regardless of agency, colour or creed. You don't have to be nice to your NCD just to get some entries through the limited awards fund. All you need to do is upload, upload, upload (oh, unlimited uploads too).”

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