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Commentary: Adieu 2015

It was just like any other – sometimes, good, sometimes trying, and some memorable moments in between. BARC ratings system was delivered, Piyush Pandey wrote his delightful book, Indian creativity kept churning out beautiful stories, and BestMediaInfo has chosen a Media Person of the Year

Commentary: Adieu 2015

 It was just like any other – sometimes, good, sometimes trying, and some memorable moments in between. BARC ratings system was delivered, Piyush Pandey wrote his delightful book, Indian creativity kept churning out beautiful stories, and BestMediaInfo has chosen a Media Person of the Year   

Kalyan Kar


Delhi | December 31, 2015

KKWe end another year today. It was just like any other – sometimes, good, sometimes trying, and some memorable moments in between. Yesterday, we brought to you Milestones 2015 which listed some of the news highpoints through the year. Today, we bring you a capsule of some of our best features and views stores and also a compilation of 35 campaigns out of the hundreds we reviewed through the year. They have left an indelible mark.

As part of the advertising, marketing and media industries – albeit as observers and chroniclers – we kept a close eye on the industry. Without a doubt the biggest development of 2015 was the rolling out of BARC ratings for the television industry. It was a huge milestone whichever way you look at it. TAM ratings got buried finally, giving way to a robust, more complete and a virtually almost tamper-proof ratings system.

Of BARC and our Media Person of the Year

There was a man behind BARC seeing the light of day sometime in April. There are many Media Person of the Year honours handed out by various media organisations. In the considered opinion of the team, there was only one deserved person for this honour. Partho Dasgupta, a low-profile, savvy manager, and the CEO of BARC India, is undoubtedly the Media Person of the Year. The television industry will always be grateful to Dasgupta and remember him for what he pulled off in such short time. He has delivered a ratings system that is as good as the best anywhere in this world. Congrats Partho! (I just broke’s editorial style sheet by referring to him by his first name!)

Partho Dasgupta Partho Dasgupta

Come to think of it, it was not a simple task that Partho embarked upon. TAM was an established monopoly for years, and more importantly, it was a company owned by the redoubtable Sir Martin Sorrell. Partho weathered many storms to deliver the BARC ratings. Till date, not a single broadcaster has found or dared to criticise the weekly ratings.

Yes, we in the media do have issues with some of BARC’s policies on reporting the weekly data. For one, has crossed swords with BARC India on the issue of common ranking of Pay and FTA channels. It does not make sense to us. We decided to filter the Pay and FTA channels. BARC was critical saying that we are indulging in “splicing”! Come on. We know what is splicing. More importantly, how can BMI or any other media splice when we don’t have your data? We are simply trying to make your rankings more logical. Are you listening, Partho?

On Creativity and Campaigns

As I have said before, this is the core, the heart of this industry that we chronicle through the year. Awards are won, agencies are benchmarked on their work; clients are won or lost on the basis of creative work. In November came the official Cannes Report 2015. India did not find itself covered in glory. Countries that slid noticeably further down the rankings include Argentina and India, it said. This year, India’s ranking fell sharply to 18th in comparison to 12th in 2014. For the record, India was ranked 7th in 2013. Among Indian agencies, McCann Worldgroup has been ranked 9th in the Press category while Medulla Communications, Mumbai, has been ranked 3rd in Pharma.

India’s total medals tally this year is the lowest in the last five years at 13 Lions and two Lions Health wins, compared to 27 wins in 2014. With no Golds, the Glass Grand Prix is the only face-saver. India took home its solitary Grand Prix this year in Glass Lions won by BBDO India for its work titled ‘Touch the Pickle’ for P&G India’s Whisper Sanitary Napkins.

But without a doubt, Indian creativity is very much alive and kicking. Not everything becomes a winner in all years. That’s part of the game. Team reviewed hundreds of ad campaigns through the year. We spent hours this week making a compilation of the most memorable ones. It was a tough task as we realised that 2015 saw some wonderful creativity at play – some touching and deeply emotional, others funny, all telling beautiful stories for the respective brands. HP’s ‘Naya soch’, Myntra’s lesbian storyline, Google’s Hold your mom’s hand, Tanishq’s emotional bond between mother & daughter, Cadbury’s Ramesh & Suresh gigs, the cute episodic campaign of, one can go on and on.

And then there was the biggest honour of them all when The Gunn Report selected McCann’s Happydent commercial as one of the 20 best commercials of this century so far! Indian creativity is definitely rocking, the Cannes Report notwithstanding. Acche din aane vale hain.

Piyush Pandey’s book

PandeymoniumI owe Piyush an apology. I have read his book ‘Pandemonium’, I attended his book launch, he even gave me a signed copy of his book. Yet I failed to do a book review. But let me take this opportunity on the last day of the year to say something about his book. It is a delightful read, lucid, down to earth. There is no management or advertising jargon, no “fundas”. It is straight from the heart and a culmination of the vast experience of India’s biggest contemporary creative genius. It is about gut feel on what works best for a brand, it is about how stories are best told in a campaign, how market research is often not the best thing in creating a campaign – as Piyush says, it is more about understanding the pulse at the ground level, the people level. No amount of statistics or surveys can bring that to the table. His revelations on agency-client relationships are a gem and an education: the client is a friend, understand him and fight the battle along with him to win the game. And for Piyush, Google is not important – his huge family where every member is a winner in his or her own field acts as his sounding board and his Google! We are all fortunate that Piyush decided to write this gem.

Some good gentleman

thanksFor any editor and journalist, there is always a set of people you can fall back on without worrying that something would be cleverly planted. I would like to especially thank some who have always taken my calls at odd hours. I have relied on them as sounding boards on many occasions to verify facts. They never ever sought anything in return, journalistically. Thank you, Shashi Sinha, Sundar Swamy, Ashish Bhasin, Rohit Ohri, Partho Dasgupta, Raj Nayak, Santosh Padhi, Rana Barua, Vivek Srivastava, Naresh Gupta, to name a few.

Lastly, my team

What many not know, is a very small team, but every member is fiercely committed. It is this tight team that has delivered whatever you have been reading every morning right through the year. And we are firmly the No. 2 media website for the past two years. The team has never grudged the pressure of workload. They strived valiantly. Some are still with us while a few have left to try other waters. Thank you Niraj, Shanta, Aanchal, Tejal, Anand, Mayur, Jagadeesh, Shipra. I have even given a nickname to Aanchal – “balle balle girl”! She just doesn’t give up whatever the odds – “I am chasing, Sir” is what she confronts me with! As for Niraj, let me just put it this way – he is the real engine of the team. He makes my work so easy most of the times.

Lastly, a word about a little girl, Saanjh Gupta. She is just 17, a high school student in Singapore. She came as an Intern for a week as she needed to include it on her CV to be eligible for admission to some of the top US, UK universities. I was amazed by her acumen, knowledge, application, and ability to research information in a field unknown to her. She delivered a lovely case study on the Liril ad. I gave her two full working days to finish the assignment. After four hours on the first day itself, I found her copy in my mailbox – adequately researched and very well written. The filmmaker of the original Liril waterfall ad chanced upon the case study and wrote back. Wish she was older and I could hire her.

Have a wonderful 2016!

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