O&M's chief, Piyush Panday could not ask for more. He has taken his agency from strength to strength, and at the Advertising Club Bombay's Abby Awards 2004, held on March 20, O&M bagged an impressive 22 awards, including six gold Abbys and all the "biggies".
The agency won 'campaign of the year' for its work on Hutch (Orange), 'best continuing campaign' for its work on Fevicol and Hutch. O&M's Mahesh V picked up the 'copywriter of the year' award and its Rajiv Rao shared the 'art director of the year' award with Santosh Padhi of Leo Burnett India.
The cool night at the poolside of the Tulip Star hotel in Mumbai was rent with regular cheers as award after award was announced. The O&M contingent came dressed for the occasion - in black. Like black cats without their automatics, they roared in with the applause as if some unseen conductor had raised the baton.
At another end of the poolside, Josy Paul, the unassuming president of rmg david, O&M's fledgling three-and-a-half year old sister agency, came prepared too. In his usual headgear, he and a few of his buddies from the agency, came ready with small silver-foil-wrapped mementoes, which they would return for every award they won.
Although the agency had won nothing last year, it picked up six silver Abbys this year, putting it in the number three position, along with a heavyweight like Leo Burnett India. In fact, rmg david often competed with O&M and several times stole the limelight from its elder, and better established, sibling - right under its nose. That must have tickled Josy, all right.
McCann, which is responsible for the popular Aamir Khan advertisements for Coca-Cola, picked up two gold Abbys for its work on Coca-Cola and Sweetex, pushing its overall awards tally to six.
The night lived up to expectation. O&M was right up there in its blaze of glory and the rest a good distance away. Clients such as Hutchinson and Coca-Cola were the expected winners that stole the limelight. Enterprise won an award for its work for The Times Of India and the usual fireworks lit up the night as the O&M team carried away its trophies.
The Ad Club Bombay honoured filmmaker Zafar Hai, calligrapher RK Joshi and music composer Vanraj Bhatia for their distinctive contributions to the industry - and richly deserved they were, too.
This year, the awards kicked off the 'brand India' category, in which O&M picked up a gold and silver award in the 'campaign' category and three agencies, Grey Worldwide, Concept Communication and UBR Inc won silver awards for single press advertisements.
The INS Think Print Awards were also given away. Ambience Publicis' Heetal Dattani and Ranjet Sasidharan bagged the gold - it won them a trip to this year's Cannes Advertising Festival - while Amol Ghotkar and Lovdella Rebello of O&M picked up Rs1lakh and the silver prize. Their colleagues from the agency, Priyanka Bhattacharya and Dileep Cherian, took the bronze with the accompanying cash prize of Rs50,000.
The night was, in the end, a reeling out of awards. Their winners were predictable and the entertainment of presentation virtually non-existent. But the stars of the evening - the O&M team - made the most of it.