It would be natural to expect creative ad honchos like Prasoon Joshi, Piyush Pandey or R Balakrishnan (Balki) to enter any elite list of top creative people in Asia.
But, according to the latest rankings compiled by the Asian creative advertising magazine, Campaign Brief Asia, at least seven lesser-known creative Indian professionals have upstaged the ad gurus in the "Hottest 1,050 Creatives in Asia" list.
Joshi at 160, for instance, is behind Hital Pandya and Karan Amin of JWT Mumbai, who are the only creative Indian professionals in the top 50. Other ad veterans like K V Sridhar of Leo Burnett and Balki are further behind at 256 and 501, respectively.
All the same, the veterans haven't done too badly. While Joshi climbed 165 places, Sridhar or Balki were not a part of the 2005 rankings.
Predictably, senior Indian ad personalities played down the importance of creative rankings. Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and national creative director, India & South Asia, Ogilvy said, "The senior ad men are probably doing more meaningful things than just award-winning work."
Others like Balki said the rankings were a direct result of participation in creative award functions, which Lowe has been consciously staying away from. "The rankings are like a small benefit match and not the real game," said Balki, hinting that the real win for advertising was better performance of brands in the market. Joshi was not available for comment.
The rankings are based on the performance of ad agencies and ad men at major international creative advertising awards like Cannes, The One Show, D&AD and Clio.
The rankings also reaffirmed factors like the creative renaissance of certain agencies like JWT, which in the not-so-distant past was losing its creative edge. JWT's Mumbai office displaced Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, as the Indian agency of the year. JWT moved up from its number 10 ranking in 2005 to capture the top slot. Leo Burnett dropped a rank from two to three in 2006, while McCann Erickson held on to its fourth spot.
Even among Asian ranks, JWT Mumbai figured among the most notable moves, improving its ranks from 68 to 16. Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, was at 22, though Pandey claims that it's the all India operations that matter.
Other Indian agencies that made it to the Top 50 were Leo Burnett, Mumbai, at 24, McCann Erickson, Mumbai, at 25, O&M, New Delhi, at 30, Rediffusion DYR, Mumbai, at 39 and Ambience Publicis, Mumbai, at 48.