With radio coming of age, the solo radio advertising awards function in the country -- Mirchi Kaan Awards -- was bound to click. There were as many as 550 entries in the third Mirchi Kaan Awards for excellence in Radio Creative in 2006, against 350 in 2005.
"Every single agency worth its name participated in the Kaan Awards this year," gushes an exuberant Prashant Pandey, chief operating officer, Entertainment Network India, which owns Radio Mirchi.
While the number of categories remained the same (15), there were more winners this year (52 against 28 last year). "It was a close fight between Prasoon Joshi and Piyush Pandey, the two stalwarts from McCann Erickson and O&M who fought for the top awards," says Pandey.
While McCann Erickson bagged the Agency of the Year award and Joshi the "radio writer of the year" for the third consecutive time, the most prestigious Crystal Award for outstanding work in a category went to Rediffusion DY&R, even as O&M which participated for the first time swept the show with 14 awards.
"The fact that all agencies participated made our win all the more satisfying. Or else one goes back feeling you won because the bigwigs weren't there," confides Rahul Jauhari, group creative director, Rediffusion, who won the Kaan Crystal Award for his hugely acclaimed spot for Lingo, Mumbai's well-known language, voice and radio production house.
Besides the Kaan Crystal Award, Rediffusion DY&R won silver for Naukri.com in the unreleased category and a bronze for Tavera. "It feels truly awesome," exults K S Chakravarthy, the agency's national creative director, "Rediff is a powerhouse in radio. I am delighted the world now knows it."
The successful turnout at the awards can be traced to the spurt in radio growth.
"It's the resurgence of radio after years of being straddled by television. Radio being a writers' medium, unlike TV and print, is far more challenging," says Prasoon Joshi.
And getting the award is no cakewalk. Says Jauhari, "Agencies realise it's a clear quality check for them as the Kaan jury is very strict and choosy which is evident by the fact that several categories go unawarded."
The jury, comprising top creative minds of the country, had taken it upon itself to give a creative boost to the unawarded categories within their respective agencies, after the first Kaan Awards, according to Pandey. Hear, hear!