The organisers of the 1st Spikes Asia Advertising Festival are pleased to announce the launch of a new prestigious award, Advertiser of the Year, to be presented to advertisers who have distinguished themselves through inspiring, innovative marketing of their products, who embrace and encourage the creative work produced by their agencies or who lead the way with new communication initiatives.
The first Advertiser of the Year award will be presented to The Times of India Group on September 18, 2009 in honour of its Lead India campaign, an initiative to seek out the next generation of leaders for India.
Traditionally, the political system in India has been dominated by people who are either career politicians or born into various political ‘dynasties’. The Lead India programme endeavored to bring a new breed of political leaders into the political arena by creating a highly visible platform where new candidates could showcase their vision, ideas and skills to lead the country into the future. Further, it encouraged millions of ordinary Indians to offer their opinions to help choose India’s next generation of leaders.
The Lead India initiative, which evaluated applicants on their ability to lead India into the future while still being able to work within the constraints of the current political system, was launched on 14 August 2007. The first phase, spanning August and September 2007, consisted of inviting people to come forward and participate in the programme. This was held across eight Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Pune and Ahmedabad. During the second phase, in October, the contestants were ranked to select a winner from each of the eight cities. The national finals held from December to February 2008 resulted in the selection of the national winner.
The initiative captured the imagination of the country in a way that few campaigns had done in past. It won numerous awards around the world, including the Direct Lions Grand Prix and an Integrated Lion at Cannes 2008; Abby’s 2008 Integrated Campaign of the Year Grand Prix; and winner of ‘Best of Show’, ‘Brand awareness across platforms’ and ‘Public relations and community service’ awards at INMA 2008.
Commenting on this new award, Terry Savage, Festival Chairman, said, “Year on year we continue to see The Times of India pushing the boundaries. This is a brand that is not afraid to step beyond the line by encouraging creative thought and passion both in its readers as well as in its marketing and advertising campaigns and which, in doing so, gives a powerful resonance to its product. This is an attribute that should be valued within the industry, and it is why the Festival believes The Times of India should be honoured with such an accolade.”
Bhaskar Das, Executive President of The Times of India, said, "The winning idea is the magic bullet. A mould breaker, a convention shaker; it pulls the ordinary by the scruff of its neck and takes it into the incredible. Through The Times of India campaigns, over the years, be it “Lead India”, “Teach India” or “TOI Chennai launch”, we realised that these ideas are humbling in their simplicity and powerful in their ability to change the world around us. Thus, it is truly heartening to know that these ideas have been well appreciated by the entire Asian advertising fraternity. Thank you for the global recognition."
Published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., The Times of India now reaches more than seven million people on a daily basis and has grown to become the world’s largest English daily published in 15 Indian cities. Its website is the biggest English news website in the world. As an acknowledgement of this, the BBC has ranked The Times of India among the six best newspapers in the world. It is a brand that has always believed in challenging conventional media and providing its readers with choices.
The Advertiser of the Year trophy will be presented to Bhaskar Das, Executive President of The Times of India Group, in Singapore during the Awards Ceremony at the Victoria Concert Hall on Friday 18 September 2009.