The Advertising Agencies Association of India on Friday conferred the AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022 on advertising veteran Colvyn Harris.
Prasanth Kumar, CEO, of South Asia, GroupM, and the President of AAAI; Rana Barua, Group CEO of Havas; Tiesta Sen, Former Chief Creative Officer of Wunderman Thompson; Vikram Sakuja, Group CEO of Madison Media & OOH; Anupriya Acharya, CEO of Publicis Groupe, South Asia, and President, AAAI, among others, were present on the occasion.
Sharing his gratitude, Harris said, “The journey was long, a span of 40 years, impossible to put to words. It’s an honour to be selected and I’m extremely happy to receive this award. My thanks to AAAI and those of you who have served selflessly for decades, keeping the institution alive.”
“My long career has been eventful and has been a rollercoaster ride. There has never been a dull day. I am proud of being a part of the team that assures the brands they partner with become market leaders and are considered the best in the category. Here’s how I will sum up my professional life or my mantra in four statements – 1. Nothing will work unless you do. 2. Only the busiest have time to spend. 3. Positioning is the art of sacrifice, 4. Leave no stone unturned.”
On the occasion, leaders from the advertising industry gathered to celebrate Harris’ achievements and shared their experiences of working with him.
Acharya said, “Colvyn has had a long and successful career in the advertising industry spanning over 40 years. Under his leadership, JWT won numerous awards. He was the WPP nominee for World Economy Forum and Global Agenda Development Council for four years.”
Talking about her experience of working with Harris, Sen shared a beautiful anecdote about how he celebrated her promotion at JWT.
“I remember when I was promoted as the NCD, he did not give me the letter of promotion. Instead, he took us for lunch, and when the dessert arrived, he gave us the news. When I opened the dessert box, it did not have the dessert but my visiting card which said, NCD. Colvyn made JWT, a place where you belong even after work was over. He is all about kindness and grandeur. He is very large-hearted and a people person. That’s Colvyn,” Sen remember.
“I’ve been privileged to work with him. He behaves absolutely the same way with everyone, be it his senior, his colleagues, or his juniors,” she added.
Colvyn Harris has had a long and successful career in the Indian Advertising industry spanning over 40 years. His career was built in one company – JWT, a WPP Group Company, across varied roles, across India and JWT Sri Lanka where he was MD. He began his career at Hindustan Thompson Associates (HTA), was CEO CONTRACT, and then CEO JWT South Asia. During his tenure he built the most formidable full-service agency, most admired for its creativity, scale and reputation. He has worked on India’s most admired brands, notably Hero, GSK- Horlicks, Boost, Citibank, Ford, Airtel, Nestlé. He ended his career as Executive Director Global Growth & Client Development at JWT. He was also Managing Director (Marketing) at L. Catterton Singapore, a Global Private Equity Company, part of LVMH, where his role was to help their investee companies working with the CEOs and CMOs for achieving their growth and branding objectives globally.
Colvyn Harris took a lot of interest in Industry matters. He was a Jury member at the Cannes Lions in 2015, in the Effectiveness Category. Colvyn Harris was also President of the Advertising Agencies Association of India in 2010 and Chairman Goafest in 2009 and 2010. During his chairmanship, Goafest grew much faster and was recognized as the largest festival in India for celebration of creativity. Colvyn Harris has been a speaker at London Business School, at the Wharton India Economic Summit, Spikes Asia 2010 and Chairman of numerous forums, including a Speaker at World Economic Forum India. He was a WPP nominee to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Development Council for 4 years. Under his leadership, JWT won several Global Awards, numerous Cannes Lions, including India’s First Grand Prix while he was CEO.