Digital dominates discussions @ Goafest 2013

06 Apr,2013

 

By Vidya Heble

 

With the mantra being digital everywhere one looks, it was not surprising that this theme predominated the knowledge seminars on first day of Goafest 2013. Thursday’s speakers were part of the Industry Conclave which always precedes the two-day Goafest, the Indian advertising trade’s flagship convention-and-awards event.

 

The most significant points came from Ray Velez, Chief Technology Officer of Razorfish, who spoke on Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology. Emphasising that technology is transforming the customer experience, he cited a Gartner study which predicted that CMOs will own more of the technology budget than CTOs. This meant that technology plus media plus creativity made for the new brand experience, he said.

 

Mr Velez stressed that the organization must be structured around the customer; and that if it does not put the customer first, someone else will.

 

Dave Alberts of Mo Film, speaking on Democratisation of Creativity, said that for a filmmaker the most important aspect of democratization is freedom. He said that independence of thought was key to making groundbreaking and memorable films.

 

He showed examples of films made independently by small and individual filmmakers, and said that technology was increasingly enabling filmmakers. “Any filmmaker can make a film of broadcast quality,” he said, quoting Francis Ford Coppola who had once remarked, “Some little fat girl in Ohio is going to make a beautiful movie with her father’s camcorder.”

 

“The exciting thing about the internet and technology is that it is giving creative people a stage,” Mr Alberts said, adding that the agency should keep the process simple in order to liberate creatives. This only helps the client, he said, because different films have different roles, and with democratized creative, one can make certain types of films to reach specific targets.

 

Nick Vale, Global Planning Director of Maxus Worldwide, speaking on “What great work looks like in our changing world”, said that the focus needs to shift from the big idea to the long idea, that is, ideas that are sustainable over time and have staying power. Digital was a great enabler, as it can make ideas now live beyond the screen, he remarked. He added that the focus should be on storytelling across channels, not silo-based thinking.

 

Roger Mulchandani, Director of Warc Asia-Pacific, tackling the topic of ‘Seriously Social’, said the traditional way of looking at television and digital as rivals was no longer valid. TV and digital are buddies, he said, as their roles were overlapping and often symbiotic.

 

Highlighting the dangers of over-reliance on social media, he said that in any given week, less than 0.5 percent of a brand’s Facebook fans engaged in any actual engagement with the brand that they are fans of. That is how effective Facebook really is, he said, and added that we need to lower our expectations of brands on social media. Social media should be used for reach rather than loyalty, he suggested.

 

Each speaker also interacted with the audience in a Q&A session at the end of their talk, and the best two questions in each session won iPads.

 

A highlight of the day was the IAA Debate organised on the sidelines of Goafest which saw senior members of the industry debating whether with fragmentation of the media, the role of creative advertising has become more important in brand communication. Vikram Sakhuja and Anupriya Acharya from the Group M fold were against the motion while Prasoon Joshi from McCann Worldgroup India and Partha Sinha of BBH India were for the motion. The debate was won by those against the motion.

 

The Media Abby and Creative Abby awards in the Digital, Design and Direct categories were awarded in the evening. Saturday is the closing day of the event with some more knowledge session, the rest of the Creative Awards and a rain dance to add to the festive spirit.

 

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