Goafest: JWT retains creative crown, sister agency Contract is runner-up

On Saturday, the curtains came down on the three-day Goafest, with WPP agencies JWT and Contract emerging the top two agencies at the Creative Abbies, unarguably the most sought-after awards at the festival. JWT bagged 35 metals, while sister agency Contract had 22 trophies at the end of the awards show. This takes into account the wins on the second and third days of the festival. While the second day had eight categories for which awards were declared, including segments such as radio, radio craft, print craft and direct marketing, the third had segments such as print, digital, film, film craft, integrated, design, outdoor and ambient media.

Through the festival, speculation was rife that JWT would retain its crown and the agency didn’t disappoint, bagging awards for brands such as Nike (for the popular Make Every Yard Count), Nestle KitKat, Godrej Security Solutions, Tata AIA Life (Daddy Aur Zooey) and Contract had Tata DOCOMO (Bhallai Ki Supply).

Last year’s runner-up, Taproot, had to settle for the third spot, with a tally of 15 medals, while the fourth place saw a tie between three agencies: Publicis, ideas@work and Scarecrow Communications. Omnicom group’s DDB Mudra was the fifth, with a haul of 10 medals.

No Grand Prixs were given away on the final day of the awards. As such, Linen Lintas’s win for Dabur Vatika’s Brave and Beautiful in direct marketing was the only Grand Prix of the festival. A single Grand Prix was last given in 2011 at the Creative Abbies. Since then, the Creative Abbies have seen at least two Grand Prixs a year.

“Winning a Grand Prix is not easy because typically, it is awarded to the best of the gold winners. Jurors look for a standout idea, which isn’t possible to generate every year,” said Ajay Chandwani, committee member, Goafest.

Last year, there were three Grand Prixs – in direct marketing, design and digital.

Thanks to its Brave and Beautiful campaign, Linen Lintas took home a tally of eight awards, including three golds, a silver and a bronze, in addition to the Grand Prix.

In all, 69 golds, 102 silvers and 172 bronze metals were declared across various categories of the Creative Abbies, taking the tally to 344 medals. Last year, 336 awards were declared, with golds at 50, silvers 119, and bronze 164.

Sessions on the final day focused on how a brand was chiselled out of its communications content. The day started on an unusual note of looking at the concept of God as a brand, discussed by author, speaker, illustrator and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. He used the contrast in the portrayal of Hindu gods, Shivs and Vishnu, to underline how consistent gestures, iconography and tales about these through 2,000 years helped build an overt image and instil subconscious cues.

While Shiva is overtly shown as the hermit, in imagery, he is always shown as enjoying a happy, loving family life. Vishnu, depicted as a householder to begin with, is the one who always withdraws after engaging with admirers, bereft of a family. The dichotomy, Pattanaik says, is what defines brand God in the Hindu mythology – both the hermit and householder balancing their roles with responsibility of and respect for the other’s life. “The soul of the brand should be consistent; the body or the appearance can change over the years.”

When Alan Moseley, president and CCO, 180 Amsterdam, took to the stage, he did so with an anecdote of how uneaten croissants at the agency’s head office stumped them. Clients coming for breakfast meetings with this Omnicom agency, which has two offices (Amsterdam and Los Angeles) and a client roster that includes DHL, Playstation, Western Union and Qatar Airways, wouldn’t touch the croissants. First, they went in search for the best in town; this was followed by looking for Danish pastries, but in vain, until an intern cut the croissants in half before a meeting. It turned out all it that was needed was the croissants to be broken into half for people to relish those.

Moseley explained for creative personnel and their partners in strategic planning, it is about the perspective with which one looks at a problem. Citing iconic quotes from master auteur Francis Ford Coppola as both the inspiration behind the agency’s name and its philosophy, he said, “Go full force into the apocalypse; only a competitive brief is just not passionate enough.”

“It is hard to shift perspective when everyone feels safe with the obvious…CEOs who might come in for the short term need to look beyond that and have a bigger ambition for the brand,” he said.