All set for the 10th Goafest…

09 Apr,2015


By A Correspondent


It’s that time of the year when advertising, media and marketing professionals head to the sunny climes of Goa for an annual dose of some knowledge, networking and winning awards. It’s also celebration time as this is the tenth edition of Goafest, the annual congregation organised by the Advertising Agencies Association of India and the Advertising Club.


The latter brings to the party the Abby Awards which have been expanded since last year to include various members of the media ecosystem. What started as essentially a Creative Awards show now includes Media, Digital, Print, Film, Film Craft, Out of Home, Ambient Media and Design, Radio, Direct, Branded Content and Entertainment, Brand Activation and Promotion, Print Craft, Integrated Advertising, Public Relations, Broadcaster and Publisher. Awards will be presented category-wise on each day of Goafest – that’s starting today, April 9 through April 11.


Yes, there are naysayers, but they’ve been silenced by the response that the event has generated.  After the inauguration today, the Industry Conclave will start mid-afternoon followed by the Media and Publishers Awards.


Said Nakul Chopra, Chairman of Goafest 2015 organising committee: “It is our endeavour to make Goafest 2015 better and superior. We will bring together the best minds in the field of advertising, communications, marketing industry to discuss, debate, interact, offer thoughts and experiences, share ideas and questions on our industry.”


Meanwhile, Ad Club president Bose is ecstatic about the number of entries he has received this year. While some of the leading agencies like Ogilvy, Lowe Lintas, McCann and Leo Burnett have not sent entries, Bose boasts of a near-35 per cent increase from 2014. “The fact that we followed a rigorous judging process last year brought back the faith in the system which had eroded in the previous Abby.”  The number of entries is up 900 to 3500 with participation from 200 creative and digital agencies. In the Media Abby, the number of entries has grown from 574 to 612 from across 53 agencies. “Agencies you thought weren’t participating are doing so,” Bose smiles. “Some clients have pushed their agencies to participate while many others have entered directly.” Talking of the new categories introduced last year, he said that Public Relations has shaped up well and so has the Broadcaster category.  When asked about efforts being taken to woo back the agencies which have boycotted the awards, he said: “We tried our best to persuade them.” Bose is of the view that agencies don’t gain by staying away. “For the sake of the young professionals who do some splendid work, they must enter.”


At the time of writing, the final numbers of registered delegates at Goafest was not known.


If there were no awards, you wouldn’t even have half the participation in Goa: Nakul Chopra

This is the second year, Publicis’ CEO South Asia Nakul Chopra has helmed the Goafest Organising Committee. In an interview with Pradyuman Maheshwari, Chopra speaks on organising the festival and the controversies about some leading agencies staying away.


Many sleepless nights because of Goafest?

 I never had sleepless nights because of GoaFest.


But must be a thankless job?

That’s why it must be done. I think you hit the nail on the head. To share an honest personal experience with you,  I got into Goafest actively because I was a vocal critic. I protested 2011 and was chairman of Goafest in 2013. It’s easy to sit and critique others. I’ve done both with a very cynical filter in how I saw things. Except, when you look at it from the perspective of what you said: It’s a thankless job. Somebody spends a lot of time and effort to make something happen and you don’t look at the stuff that worked or you could appreciate. Instead, you catch onto the three things that didn’t work or that personally pissed you off for some reason. It could be just the food or who got the awards…


Last year you didn’t do it because the timing wasn’t right?

Last year, the timing had to be changed, so, I thought it better if somebody else did it. This year, the AAAI President didn’t give me a choice. I think we all have to, turn by turn, take the responsibility. Either the association decides they don’t want to do it, so, they should parcel it off to some third party to do it. But, if the two associations want to continue to do it, somebody has got to take responsibility.


Obviously, you run a network of agencies. Goafest is also more than a full-time job for a couple of months. It must be taking away from your time here at Publicis.

It takes away from time at Publicis and at home. It does. I’m fortunate that we have a very strong team at Publicis. We have also a good team helping out with Goafest… many people pitching in to take on different responsibilities.


You’ve done Goafest in the past, so you obviously know…

But the grammar has changed from an organisation and logistics standpoint. There was the Beach GoaFest which was the first three or four years. Then there was the GoaFest at Zuri. When you do it on the same format with similar vendors, by Year 3, things become much simpler. You’ve learnt from the mistakes, you know what can go wrong. Last year was the first year at Grand Hyaat. Many of the things worked for us. From a sheer organisation standpoint, it wasn’t that well-organised, perhaps.


What about the festival format? The general perception is Goafest is more about the beer than the knowledge or conclave or the people speaking…

 This is a little bit of an unfair pseudo comment to make. Firstly, is it fair to say Cannes Lions is more a corporate junket than it’s about people learning? If I’m not mistaken, there are maybe 8 to 10,000 delegates who register for Cannes. There isn’t even a room large enough to hold more than 1,500 of them and in most cases the rooms aren’t full. If you start seeing something in a uni-dimensional sense, are people studiously sitting in the knowledge seminars and listening? I don’t think that’s the only form of learning.  Second, Goafest, unlike really any other festival of its kind in the world, has an inverted participation where as much as 60 per cent or more people who attend are under-30. There are more people sitting in the room to listen and learn in Goafest than there are in any other such festival anywhere else in the world. Young people have something which is part of their nature. If you make Goafest an attendance-oriented class, the young people won’t come. They will learn in an atmosphere of fun and frolic. It’s an over-exaggerated view of the Goafest that it’s just about the booze and the beer. It’s not!


Without getting into speakers are there one or two standout things this year that one could look forward to?

I think Goafest is beyond that phase of being about one standout thing. We’ve consistently invested behind building some properties. And we amend or change or junk some of them basis the feedback we get. Last year was the first year we had three award nights and we are continuing with that.


How critical is the Abby to Goafest? Last year, I remember, there was a statement made that the Goafest is not all about awards.

It’s not all about awards, but it’s been around the awards as well. Goafest is not an awards fest, in which case it might as well have been in Mumbai. But it’s not fair to say, Goafest is more about the festival than it is about the awards either. I think it’s a balance of both. The celebration is more about the awards. The participation is more about the festival. At its peak, we have had more than 3000 people… Three thousand people don’t win awards.


Ogilvy and Lowe have no issues participating in the Effie Awards. Obviously, there’s something wrong with the creative Abby  that stops them from coming there.

I don’t think that would be a fair thing to say about the Creative Abby. There have always been some agencies, different ones in different years including Pubicis in one year that may have felt upset or slighted by something that happened and that’s understandable. In the case of the Effie, the points here are part of the global Effie agency rankings.


If you had no Abby, you’d have Ogilvy and Lowe as part of fest?

If that’s true, they can still send people to the Goafest. There’s no restriction on your coming and participating in the festival part if you’re not participating in the awards part. If there were no awards, you wouldn’t even have half the participation in Goa.




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