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Here’s what The Abby One Show Awards’ Jury Chairs think of this year’s entries

Since The Abby One Show Awards is scheduled to take place at Goafest which is being held between May 24-26 this year, spoke to its jury members about the criteria for judgement, what stood apart in 2023, the room for improvement, and more topics

With just a couple of hours left for Goafest to begin and for the creative excellence of the ad industry to be honoured at The Abby One Show Awards, the adland has been brimming with excitement.

Every year, it is at Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, Goa, that The Advertising Club (TAC) honours some of the most creative and praise-worthy works across categories at the fest. Moreover, 2023 will mark the second year of TAC’s partnership with The One Show Awards to make possible The ABBY One Show Awards.

Building on the industry narrative of any award being as good as its jury, Mandie van der Merwe, Nick Law, Wesley ter Haar, Prajato Guha Thakurta, Avinash Pandey, Valerie Pinto, Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, Ashwini Deshpande, Emmanuel Upputuru, Sabyasachi Mitter, Bobby Pawar, P G Aditiya, Guneet Monga, Mangesh Rane, Russell Barrett, Pallavi Chakravarti and Rajdeepak Das donned the hats of jury members for this year’s awards.

As per sources, the judging process for all seven categories had culminated by the second week of May.

Prajato Guha Thakurta

According to Prajato Guha Thakurta (aka Projo), Founder and CCO, Manja, the jury chair for Brand Activation and Promotion category, the ideas behind the entries like every year, were “spectacular”, however, most of the campaigns, to him, seemed to be over-indexed on just technology.

“As a jury panel, we decided that just awarding tech without an idea at its core isn’t fair because some of the biggest winners of the upcoming awards, you will realise that the winners are actually the ones that have no tech in them, while some also had tech integrated with their ad campaigns, the reason behind them winning big is that there was a central idea at the core which elevated the ad to being worthy of a metal,” he said.

Commenting on the critical requisites for the judging process, Projo emphasised that at the end of the day, it is not about tech, but about how simple and powerful an idea is and that’s what makes the entry immersive for brand activation and promo and to reach out to the consumer in a more direct manner.

“This year, we also feel that what has made a comeback is the good-old craft that had taken the idea to the next level,” he pointed out.

Ashwini Deshpande

As per Ashwini Deshpande, Co-founder and Director, Elephant Design + Strategy India, what is unique about The Abbys is that it has an eclectic mix of small and big agencies with work ranging from hyper-local businesses to multinational brands.

Being the jury chair for the Design category, she also shared the view that what really stood out for her this year was the fact that there was a focus on craft and detailing like typography or custom- illustrations. Moreover, she also expressed the hope that this trend should continue even in the age of AI-generated art.

In her view, the evolution of The Abbys has been “quite remarkable” in the past couple of years as having The One Show as a partner has brought “process standardisation”. 

“There is a lot more openness to change, adding new definitions or categories and even discarding what may be redundant,” she stated.

Bobby Pawar

On the other hand, Bobby Pawar, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Havas India, said that there is a steep decline in the quality of ideas and crafts in print. 

"That's sad. Quite tragic, actually. Because they are the fundamentals of any medium. And some of the things that make for great print ads, like having a killer idea based on a deep insight and communicating it in a way that moves people translates to digital as well," Pawar added. 

While speaking about the criterions while looking at the entries as a Jury Chair, Pawar stated, “My criteria are simple. Did it blow me away? Did it feel fresh? Did it invent, or reinvent, something? Does it solve a problem brilliantly? Is the craft impeccable? Does it move my heart or mind?”

Pallavi Chakravarti

As per Pallavi Chakravarti, Founder and CCO, Fundamental, there were a few standout pieces which sparked debate and evoked strong emotions, however, these entries, to her mind, were too few and far apart, at least in the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion category that she judged.

“Did they do the job of raising the bar, sure - but the hope is that they light the way for others, so that the overall quality of work may be bettered in the years to come. Diversity, Equality and Inclusion is an important category from a 2023 lens - and more and more brands seem to be embracing the agenda. My only wish is that they do this, while remaining mindful of their own reason to exist. A solid brand connect is something every jury seeks and examines - so DE&I for the sake of it is seldom, if ever, applauded,” she said.

Commenting on the criteria that formed the basis of the judgement, she stated that as jury chair, she looked for relevant insights, subjects that touched a chord, big ideas, and importantly, great execution. The intent was to recognise work that can hopefully compete at the highest level and stand up to the scrutiny of juries around the world, she opined.

She added, “I hope that the quality of entries improves year on year and the judging gets even more stringent, so that the work that is recognised on this platform is the work that the world celebrates in global shows.” 

Up from last year’s 2007 entries from creative agencies, this year saw the tally standing at 2282. Similarly, up from the previous year’s 1014 entries from media agencies, this year saw the number going up to 1019 entries. Overall, the total number of entries last year was 3021, and this year went on to record a total of 3301 entries.

The Abby One Show Awards 2023 also witnessed the return of several prominent agencies including Mullen Lowe Lintas, Wunderman Thompson and McCann Worldgroup.

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