The highest honour to be given to an individual for outstanding contribution to the field of advertising was presented to Swamy at a well-attended function in Mumbai on July 29
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | August 1, 2016
The man with many hats to juggle and even more feathers in those hats, Srinivasan K Swamy, popularly known as Sundar Swamy, was, on Friday, July 29, awarded the AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the field of advertising.
The award, which was instituted in 1988 by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) to felicitate luminaries in the field, has so far been bestowed upon 23 persons. But it was for the first time that the second generation of a family was being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. The legendary RK Swamy, Sundar Swamy’s father, was given this award 19 years ago.
The event that was attended by the who’s who of the advertising world kicked off with the outgoing President of AAAI, MG Parameswaran, speaking about the significance of the award and the man of the hour, Sundar Swamy.
“When the committee sat, it was literally a unanimous decision that the award this year should go to Srinivasan K Swamy,” said Parameswaran.
The podium was then taken over by past President of AAAI and former recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Ramesh Narayan. A “dear friend” of Swamy, Narayan’s humorous speech spoke about their friendship and the Swamy he knew. As he said, “Sundar is the Kabali of Advertising.”
“We all know that he heads the Hansa Group. We also know that he heads a hospital, a school and has headed associations like AAAI, IAA, AIMA, and will soon head associations like ASCI, ABC, AFAA. However, I have known him beneath that formidable exterior as a person who is always willing to help. He is a man who is able to look beyond the position and post and feel for the human being behind it. I have been able to see an adoring parent who will halt an important meeting in order to reply to a message he got from his son. I have also known him as a friend who when asked to drop everything and spend three days in the middle of the week in Goa, smiles and says sure,” said Narayan.
Narayan’s speech was followed by the citation read by the Vice-President of AAAI Ashish Bhasin.
“The Advertising Agencies Association of India takes immense pleasure in presenting the AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 to Srinivasan K Swamy. For his love and passion for the business of advertising, for his exemplary contribution to the advertising industry through various national and international professional bodies, for his tireless energy and initiative, for championing key industry projects, for being a true believer and a champion in consumer rights, for his contribution to socially relevant projects and causes, he is truly deserving of the high commendation which this award bestows upon him,” read the citation.
The citation was presented to Swamy by Nakul Chopra, the newly elected President of AAAI.
Swamy hails his gurus
In his acceptance speech Swamy thanked his gurus, his family and friends.
“There are many gurus in this room who taught me numerous things about our profession, relationships with people, and nuances of our business. Similarly, I have learnt considerably from my colleagues, past and present, in many of our group companies; from my colleagues from the various industry associations and chambers of commerce, I have been involved in; from my many clients and friends who have encouraged me to make mistakes and learn from them; from my wife and other family members who allowed me to pursue my dreams but always showed me the right path. This award is therefore dedicated to each and every one of them, for if I stand today receiving it, you have all made this possible,” said Swamy.
Speaking about his wife who was sitting on the dias, Swamy said, “My wife Sudha is a very bright lady, an MBA and had a thriving career. But she gave up much of this to support my children, me and my parents. She is here to share my happiness with me today, as she has always done in the past.”
He ended his acceptance speech by warning that the Lifetime Achievement Award did not mean "I am retiring” and that he had a long way to go. Click here to read the full speech.
Sridhar Ramasubramanian, COO, GroupM South Asia and committee member of AAAI, gave the vote of thanks.
Industry gives a thumbs up
The industry was happy with the choice of Swamy as the recipient of this prestigious award. BestMediaInfo asked some industry veterans for their reaction.
KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro, said, “A lot of us take so much from the industry and only a few choose to give something back. Sundar is one of those persons who wanted to give back and he is serving the industry for a very long time. That selflessness not everybody has. A lot of people crib and don't do anything for the industry. There are some people who put their hands up and contribute to the industry and the society.”
Bobby Pawar, Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Publicis India, said, “I think Sundar Swamy is the most wise recipient in all these years. He has worked so hard and done so much selflessly for the industry. It is a lesson for all those who say that they don't have time to do work for the industry. He is an active agency owner and is also able to give back so much to the industry.”
Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, commented, “Sundar is the most deserving person to win this award because of the years and years of efforts he has put in not just in his company but to the entire industry. I can't think of anybody more deserving than him. I am really happy that he has won this award.”