The carpet laid out, the show is ready to roll. The Indian ad industry’s annual spring-time festival – Goafest – gets underway on April 9 at the Grand Hyatt in Bambolim, located in the northern part of the state.
For the next three days, ad industry bodies – the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and the Advertising Club of Bombay – which organise the festival, will attempt to put the fest’s chequered past behind them as they go about celebrating its 10th year.
The festival is on a firmer wicket this year compared to last year, when entries were lower in the wake of 2013’s controversy concerning scam ads.
Entries this year are up 50 per cent, despite a few prominent names giving the festival a miss. Ogilvy & Mather, McCann Worldgroup, Creativeland Asia, Leo Burnett and BBDO will not participate in the Creative Abbies, considered the highpoint of the festival.
This will be the third straight year of O&M and Creativeland Asia’s absence from the Creative Abbies, while the rest have stayed out for two years in a row.
However, there is a wider spread of agencies across advertising, media, digital, public relations, as well as broadcasters, publishers and advertisers this year than last year.
The total number of entries is 3,474 – substantially higher than the 2,300 last year. This number could improve next year as the organisers pull up their socks, sources say.
Non-participating agencies are said to be closely watching this year’s show to take a call on participation next year. The inclusion of Mudra and Grey, which were non-committal earlier, has also come as a shot in the arm for the organisers, say sources.
Some of the campaign work to watch out for at the festival include Mumbai Mirror’s ‘Hated by Some’, Tata Docomo’s ‘Bhalai Ki Supply’, Tata AIA’s ‘Daddy and Zooey’, Waghbakri’s ‘Rishton Mein Garmahat Laye‘, Dabur Vatika’s ‘Brave and Beautiful’, DBS Bank’s ‘Chilli Paneer’ series and Nike’s ‘Make Every Yard Count’ that won big at Cannes last year (taking home seven Lions – four silver and three bronze).
The Advertising Conclave on the first day will feature brand veterans such as D Shivakumar, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo; Anand Kripalu, MD and CEO, Diageo, Chandrasekar Radhakrishnan, head of communication and e-commerce, Nestle South Asia and Sanjeeb Chaudhury, global CMO and regional head, South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank. The discussion will centre on how agencies and advertisers can work better.
This is the third year in a row that the organisers have put the spotlight squarely on advertisers, inviting them to speak on client-agency issues.
The organisers also appear to have tackled the charges of poor content at the festival, with its speaker line-up at the knowledge seminars this year. The list includes Ted Lim, chief creative officer, Dentsu-Aegis Network, Asia-Pacific, Alan Moseley, president and creative officer, 180, Amsterdam, Neil Stewart, head of agency, Asia-Pacific region, Facebook and Guy Abrahams, worldwide strategic marketing officer, ZenithOptimedia.
For the first time, the organisers have also brought on board Times Now’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and author Chetan Bhagat, for back-to-back sessions on day two’s leadership summit.
The effort is being billed as an initiative to prop up the fest’s star power, especially among youngsters, with popular Indian faces.
Reminiscent of international ad awards, Goafest will have talent labs this year, a first. “We are organising Youth Labs, an interactive learning session targeted at young people. A total of 20-25 will be selected. We will have two sessions – one targeting media planners and the other for creative personnel,” says Nakul Chopra, chairman of Goafest 2015.
The media and publisher Abbies will be given out on day one, followed by radio, direct, broadcaster, public relations, branded content and entertainment, promo-activation and print craft on day two. The third day will see the main set of awards – Abbies for digital, print, film, film craft, design, out-of-home, ambient media and integrated advertising.