Top agencies like O&M, Lowe, McCann, Creativeland to skip Creative Abbys

28 Apr,2014

By Pritha Mitra Dasgupta


The seventh edition of India’s advertising festival, Goafest, will be happening minus some big names. Seven of the country’s top advertising agencies – Lowe Lintas, Ogilvy & Mather, Creativeland Asia, McCann Worldgroup, BBDO, Grey and Leo Burnett will not be participating in 2014.


Entries to the festival this year are down 50 percent – last year Goafest had received 4,800 entries across creative and media, but this year it has received around 2,500 so far. That’s despite the introduction of two new categories Promo-Activation and PR, and opening up the awards to entries from broadcasters and publishers.


Srinivasan Swamy

“I expected the numbers to be down this year,” says Srinivasan Swamy, chairman, Goafest 2014 and chairman & MD of RK Swamy BBDO. “But I believe 2,500 is also a good number to have. I agree that agencies like O&M and Leo Burnett send large number of entries and their absence would bring the numbers down. But we are not badly off,” he adds.


While some of the non-participating agencies have decided to send delegates to the festival, a senior Goafest committee member confirms that this year the number of delegates will be also down by at least 50per cent. While Swamy maintains, “Let’s celebrate people who are participating,” Piyush Pandey, executive chairman, Ogilvy & Mather says, “Even the winners won’t feel the joy of winning as half of the industry is not going to be there.”


Piyush Pandey

One factor that has played a role in the low participation rate is the timing of the festival. Says a source on the Goafest committee, “Agencies usually got at least two months between Goafest and Cannes Lions to work on their budgets, to decide which entries to send and to decide the team that would represent the agency. But this year since the festival is happening in the last week of May there is hardly any time for agencies to plan.”


All this has only resulted in more flak for the Abbys, the country’s oldest advertising awards which was integrated into Goafest a few years ago. “I think the Abbys was running beautifully till they combined it with Goafest,”says MrPandey. He says that the principle on which the award show was merged with festival was that Ad Club would run the awards and AAAI (Advertising Agencies Association of India) would organise the festival. “But it got muddled somewhere down the line,”he says.


K V Sridhar

KV Sridhar, the outgoing chief creative officer India subcontinent at Leo Burnett, agrees, saying, “While the festival may have become bigger, there is no doubt that Abbys has lost its credibility.” Mr Pandey in turn believes that Goafest should have taken a break for a year, restructured and reorganised itself and then returned with a bang in 2015. The deadline for entries has been extended to April 28 from April 25, so there doesn’t seem to be much chance that participation will ramp up. But Swamy says that the Goafest committee will be meeting with heads of the non-participating agencies immediately after the festival, to discuss and address their concerns and clear the way for next year’s event.


Source:The Economic Times

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