I am not anti-social but I am not a social butterfly either. I am game to attend events and one of the events I do look forward to the Effies organised by the PAS. I personally know the team, and my company has been a gift partner for five years or so. It is also great to meet agency and marketing friends and feel the pulse of the ad industry. These were definitely my sentiments as I headed over to the Expo Centre on Saturday evening. The previous edition had been held at the far-off Airmen’s Club and it was a lovely experience, and thanks to Covid there had been no event in 2020 and 2021. Reaching the venue, I was surprised to see an orderly queue as members of the fraternity waited to get in, showing their invitations; no VIP treatment allowed. The ambience was good and the brand sampling booths – read the free food and drinks –enticing. As expected I met quite a few friends. Chatting shop and sampling the brand creations brought to us by the pleasant staff was enjoyable.
Entering the hall, it seemed that over 2,000 people were present. The lights were dim and the mood charged. Guided by the courteous staff, I made my way to my table and bumped into an old colleague. The show was about to start. The first set of awards was announced and it was a great sight to see the senior people of rivals GroupM and Starcom on stage together to present the awards. As one of the hosts said, the night was about celebrating and cheering for the industry as a whole. Afsheen Rizavi asked the audience members to take an oath – that we would clap and cheer for our competitors and rivals, and come together as Pakistan’s ad fraternity.
The glitz, glamour and gifts were all there. But the question remains do the Effies provide value to our industry? Does the industry get better with each award ceremony; or is it stagnating and we end up celebrating mediocrity? The jury, it seems, is out on this. But speaking of the jury, every year the number of jurors gets larger. Having an inclusive jury with more and more professionals from the region is a step in the right direction – diversity is beneficial to everyone. The more agencies participate in award ceremonies like Effies, the more they will know how to prepare case studies and present their work. Having an international award in Pakistan is also crucial to put our industry on the regional if not the global map. Pakistani marketers have shown their mettle in the GCC, MENA and APAC arena for many years, and soon more local campaigns will be present at regional awards.
Looking at this year’s winners, it is a good sign that only a few golds were awarded. It would have been pretty easy for the jury to award a gold to any campaign so that appearances are kept up. We often hear how mediocre our local ads are, but that night, I got to know about quite a few campaigns that seemed innovative and ground-breaking. These included CSR and campaigns like the one by KhairKhwah, Eidipaisa among others. An interesting campaign that won a Bronze was Gluco’s Kaisi Ho Maa which aimed to shift the paradigm in language that is today’s currency.
The growth in the categories is also a good sign – Youth Marketing, Influencers, small budget campaigns – allowing more advertisers to participate. Perhaps like the special award for Passion for Pakistan was created some years ago, maybe a category for SMEs and start-ups should be added – especially because small businesses are competing for awards with FMCGs and their massive budgets. Another gap is that there is no category for educational institutions, although it appears there was such a category in 2022.
The question remains how can the industry benefit from the Effies? Do the awards encourage brands and agencies to create better work or is it that the work improves irrespective of whether they win an award or not? Given that the Effies are based on effectiveness, the chances are good that the awards do help.
Case studies about the winner’s case studies are present on the Effie Pakistan website and anyone who needs ideas or wants to learn more about the campaigns can easily view them. Globally the value of the Cannes Advertising Festival is being questioned. Pakistan is far from that stage. We have only just begun and with the Effies, we all are winners.
Tyrone Tellis is Senior Manager Corporate Sales and PR, Bogo. firstname.lastname@example.org