The Joy & Sorrows Of Emvies

Last night was a splendid affair. What we all witnessed was an exciting finish to what we could all call an awesome EMVIES 2017! Though, people may have different perspectives on the EMVIES, to me personally, I find it one of the best award functions in India for the advertising & media fraternity for multiple reasons. Like any award function, one could debate the true impact some of the innovations may have had on the brands that won, or the manner in which the decisions are made, but the intent of this article is not to debate that. What I would like to talk about is the impact it has on people within the agency and the grind we go through during this journey. I would say there are 5 ways in which people benefit from the Emvies, and winning an award or recognition is not necessarily one of them. Here is a take on these 5 points explained with a bit of neuroscience, a topic which I have been passionately researching on over the last 3 years,


  • The ability to tell a story – We are in the business of telling stories. Some of us do it in 30 Sec, some through a facebook post and some through a plan and most of us through a presentation. Even when it comes to awards, you win it for the story you tell. The art of storytelling is not an easy one but can be mastered with practice. When people participate in emvies they practice the art of story telling, by learning to connect the dots in the best way possible. At emvies you have 7 or 10 mins to tell your story and over the years I have come to believe that the entries which win are the ones that have a story that is simple, well-connected, and which manages to emotionally resonate with the jury in some way or the other. The need to emotionally connect is a very important one. Let me explain why. The prefrontal cortex of the human brain is responsible from the rationale and reasoning and limbic system especially the amygdala is the emotion center of the brain. When we process information both parts of the brain get active and when we try to take a decision more often than not there is a conflict. When this happens it’s the emotional side that always wins. Infact research shows that all our decisions are emotional ones and we just use our rationality to justify how we feel about it. So an entry that builds a strong emotional connect often tends to override the rational aspects one would factor while the jury decides to give it a score. So learning to tell a great story is one of the best impacts the emvies has on the young talents in the communication industry.
  • The ability to take and give feedback – Every tried giving some strong feedback to someone when they least expect it? When we put in our heart and soul into writing an entry or presentation and we receive a feedback that is not in line with our expectations, we tend to get defensive. Again this is nothing but our emotional brain sensing a threat and sending signals to us in a subconscious way which makes us react in a defensive way. Our brains are constantly appraising every situation to analyze if we are under threat or not. Again, research says that the Amygdala which is the emotion center of the brain is responsible for sensing a threat and processes the required response accordingly. I have noticed that you can never win an emvies without taking the perspective of multiple people. Every single entry is scored by an average of 10 jury members. And since all of them maybe wired in different ways its very critical to ensure that we take multiple perspectives and address the relevant feedbacks so we land every story in a manner that is convincing to everyone. I have often noticed that people who are not very receptive to feedback find it hard to tell a compelling story
  • The ability to withstand pressure – Emvies is perhaps the only award ceremony that makes you present your entry in an open forum. While it may seem easy to some, most find it a stressful experience. Some may buckle under pressure and break down some come out more confident and strong. Its not so much about the presentation that makes it stressful, but when you know that the hopes of so many people are resting on you and when the whole world is seeing it live you can’t help but feel stressed about it. The only way to overcome this is to practice and practice till every line in the delivery is hardwired in your brain as research again shows that the more your brain is wired to a task the easier it becomes.
  • The ability to work as a team – The emvies leaves you with no choice to work as a team. Winning an emvies is as good as winning a football match. Each of us are wired in different ways but we work with our strengths to achieve a common goal. For every entry you need some one who can write a great story, someone who can work in the studio to get the AV done, someone who can package a fine presentation, someone who can review it and finally someone who can present it. Every emvies we find new heroes who emerge and contribute in their own way. These contributions are done selflessly by everyone with the sole intent to win as a team and not as an individual.
  • The ability to win – They say winning can be made a habit if we do it again and again. A simple process when done well effectively and efficiently will see results. When we work as a team, learn the art and science of telling stories, and stand by one another in stressful situations, we win. I must admit that on this regards we all have a lot to learn from Mindshare.


For a lot of us celebrating a win means a lot. It gives a sense of accomplishment, It validates and reaffirms one’s belief on the work we do, It motivates the team to do better work etc..  But the true point in question here is what have we really won? Is it the metal or recognition of the work done or is it the experiential journey that teaches us multiple thing such as, emotional regulation under stressful conditions, teamwork, the ability to tell great stories and the ability to connect with one another? To me it has always been the latter. So I would like to end by stating one of my Colleague Sairam’s favourite dialogue, “the reward is in the journey and not in the outcome!”

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