The Pakistan Advertisers Society (PAS) Awards 2016, held on April 30 at The Karachi Expo Centre marked a night of firsts in more ways than one.
Instituted in 2011 to recognise excellence in advertising, over the course of six years the PAS Awards have continued to break new ground and have extended their scope beyond the marketing and advertising industry. Consequently, the event attracted an audience of almost a thousand people this year. This was not limited to well-known personalities from the marketing and advertising industry, and included celebrities such as Amna Ilyas, Atiqa Odho, Gia Ali, Munna Mushtaq, Sheheryar Munawar, Sohai Ali Abro, Yousuf Bashir Qureshi and Zhalay Sarhadi as well as international corporate executives and government representatives.
Aly Mustansir, Chairman, PAS, started off the event with a tribute to the late Aslam Azhar, the former Chairman and Managing Director of PTV and a recipient of the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, which was introduced last year, was presented to Tariq Ikram for his contribution to developing the marketing communications industry locally, as well as promoting it internationally. In his absence, Ali Tariq, his son, received the award on his behalf from Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Pervaiz Rasheed.
After acknowledging contributions from the past, the focus shifted to recognising the marketing initiatives of 2014-15. The night belonged to Adcom Leo Burnett. It was the first time that any agency bagged a cumulative total of nine awards at the PAS Awards, breaking the agency’s own record of six in 2013. The Selfies ban jaye grandfies campaign for Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime was declared the winner in four categories (Campaign of the Year, Best Nationally-Originated Campaign, Telecommunication Hardware & Consumer Electronics, and Telecommunication Service Providers).
Adcom Leo Burnett also scored a double whammy with the Garnier Skin Naturals and Easy Paisa campaigns, which came in as the best Digital Campaigns of the Year. For Imran Syed, CEO, Adcom Leo Burnett, this achievement was particularly noteworthy because, “a double win in the hotly contested category of ‘Best in Digital’ clearly positions Adcom Leo Burnett and Adcom ZenithOptimedia at the forefront of integrated communications, the most aggressively growing space in the industry. The nine awards showcase the agency’s leadership and excellence in combining the power of strategy, creative, digital and media. Kudos to the team.”
Adcom Leo Burnett’s other wins included Engro Onaaj Chakki ata (Culinary), Engro Tarang Baaz (Food and Dairy), Omore Funsticks (Ice Creams and Desserts) and Borjan (Textile, Fashion and Accessories).
Three new categories were introduced at the PAS Awards this year. The first was Seasons Special (judged on the creative idea and execution). Qamar Abbas, Executive Director, PAS, says that “because of the growing trend of occasion-based advertising in the last few years (Valentine’s Day, Ramazan, Eid, Hajj etc.), we felt that there was a need for a category dedicated to seasonal advertising.”
Ogilvy & Mather won in this category for Shan Recipe Mixes’ Khushiyan chakh lo. According to Asim Naqvi, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather, “this was our first collaboration with Shan. We wanted a Ramazan campaign that would break the clutter. Moving away from the norm of showing women in the kitchen, the narrative is about two brothers living away from their family. It was a unique concept and the emotional appeal is what resonated with audience – and the jury – and helped us win.” The agency’s other win, along with Orient Edge, was for Kolson Snackers (Confectionery and Snacks).
The second new category was the Top Brand of the Year. According to Abbas, the idea was to determine which brand was the most successful in achieving the marketing objectives that had been set at the start of the year. Abbas clarifies, “the deciding factors were measurable results achieved and not just the aesthetics of the campaigns.” Soho Square, Starcom Pakistan, Kinetic Pakistan and Digitz walked away with the award for Coca-Cola. Soho Square, Starcom Pakistan and Kinetic Pakistan shared a second award for Coca-Cola Music 2015 (Beverages – Cold).
The third new category was Best in PR. Abbas said that given the PAS Awards already have separate categories for every other marketing component, PR was an important missing link. JWT, BBDO and Mindshare bagged this award for Lighting up lives (Pepsi). JWT’s other award was for HBL’s Enabling dreams (Passion for Pakistan).
MullenLowe Rauf emerged as the other big winner with three awards. The first was the Media Innovation Award for Fair & Lovely ka jalwa, an integrated marketing initiative in the form of a song featured in Jawani Phir Nahi Aani and produced in collaboration with GroupM, PHD Omnicom Media Group, Six Sigma Productions and ARY Films. The other two were for Lifebuoy’s Time before iftar campaign that won in the Best in Print and Cosmetics and Personal Care categories.
Other winners were Core Media for 7UP Mana lo food ka love and Mountain Dew for Neon is here (Best in Outdoor), BBDO Pakistan and TML Activations for 7Up Melting vending machine (Best in BTL), Arey Wah for Homage Inverter Jiyo normal zindagi (Best in TV) Bond Advertising for Al-Habib Arey bohat asaan hai (Banking & Financial Services), Farigh Four for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital Sab kuch wapis aa sakta hay (Hospitals, Healthcare and Hygiene), IAL Saatchi & Saatchi for Mobilink Call drop (Telecommunication Service Providers) and Ten Sports for Wake up Pakistan (Media).
The show was hosted by the entertaining duo of Ahmad Ali Butt and Vasay Chaudhry; they were later joined by Rubya Chaudhry – and were a vast improvement from last year. A rare appearance by the All-Girls musical band of Nescafé Basement fame, a musical medley performed by Ali Azmat, a joint act by The Sounds of Kolachi and dance troupe The Big Idea, based on the concept of reinvention and rebirth, and Shaheer Khan’s mind-reading stint titled ‘The Other Side’ kept the audience entertained.
In addition to hosting a good show, there were other noteworthy positives at this year’s edition of the PAS Awards. A significant increase in the number of participating entries was recorded, which touched 300, up by almost 15% from last year. Moreover, several niche brands and small agencies entered for the awards, thanks to the increasing credibility and popularity of the Awards within the industry as well as the fact that there was no increase in the entry fee (Rs 25,000) from 2015.
Although the PAS Awards are considered to be the most prestigious event to recognise and honour excellence in marketing, media and advertising within Pakistan, Abbas’ vision is to make the PAS Awards a regional event. He believes that “there is no dearth of talent and creativity in our marketing and advertising industry, as proven by the multiple international honours that our campaigns have received. Competing on a regional level will motivate the industry to improve the quality of its work, which in turn will help it grow and maximise its potential.”