Lack of good work a prominent reason for agencies not participating: Nakul Chopra

11 Apr,2017


It is AAAI President Nakul Chopra’s fourth year as a part of the core organising committee of Goafest, and it must be acknowledged that the three-day festival has taken a quantum leap in his tenure. Although this interview was conducted much before the fest concluded, we asked Chopra on his expectations, his achievements on his view on the absence of some of the big agencies.


Your fourth Goafest where you’ve been a key part of the organising committee. How would you say was this year’s edition vis-à-vis those of the past years?

The year 2013 was my first year as the Goafest Chairman. I think A. the mandate was in a sense that it’s all going very well, continue with what’s being done. B. I think I had a lot of trepidation. I think I was given a responsibility I think I wasn’t 100% on top of it. So, 2013 was more a Goafest in which I felt my way around. What became very clear in my head that year was that we needed a fundamental change in the way we approached the festival. It’s a festival, as Raj said, that it’s a pro-bono effort by the associations. However, if you come here as a delegate, how do you care, whether it’s pro bono or for profit or not. You come here  and you see the value you receive from the festival for here. And so, when I came back in 2015 to do it, I remember I sat with the then President of Ad ClubPratap Bose and AAAI President AmbiParameswaran. I said I want your blessings on one thing. We are going to put up the best show we’ve ever put up. Even if it causes a negative financials on our part. But, we have to set a standard with this thing and not the other way around.


While you are an industryperson and an agency leader, you are also known to be fairly aggressive in your approach. The fact is it needed a slightly bolder approach to doing things. Did that really help?

No, I may have an aggressive personality but I haven’t been aggressive in the way I’ve done business. That’s another matter. Right here, the question was: are you willing to take the bait? Are you willing to say that we will spend the money and we’ll do a great show and the results will follow. And I think somewhere for me, this year in particular is a vindication of that. Because the journey really started in 2015 which progressed a lot in 2016. I’m very proud of the fact that the outlay of the fact has more than trebled in these 3 years! It’s not about me feeling good about it. But hopefully, that is the increased value we are bringing to people who are coming here.


Since when you took charge and till now, are you happy or do you think there is unfinished agenda?

I could almost say it would almost be a dream for me to do nothing else in the next 2 years. I’m not saying that’s what I want to do. But, in the limited context of GoaFest, there is so much more we can do. But it has to be somebody’s day job for 12 months of the year. It’s very difficult to do that if it is many people’s second job for six months of the year.


Have you ever felt that like it’s with Cannes Lions, you should have a full-time organising team just for Goafest?

I think there is glamour to Goafest that is endearing. The collective effort of the industry, not just the advertisers alone. The advertisers contribute to it by coming here, speaking. The media contributes in a very big way. You guys contribute to it. I think there’s some magic in that glamour. I don’t want to lose that. That’s part of Goafest! I think, within that context, there’s a lot more we can do.


Anything that you think you wanted to achieve but have not over the last four years? What is that one thing you’d have wanted to achieve?

I don’t think so. I have targets in my head every year. To say, this year these are the three-four new things you can do. I think we can still improve… not just improve… I think we can perhaps revisewhat we did three years ago…


Does the absence of some big agencies matter to you?

Of course, it matters. Not just as people who organise the festival. But I think it matters equally to associations who are doing everything they can to be as inclusive as possible. So of course it matters to us. As I have said many times before, I think different agencies have different reasons. Not necessarily all the same. So if there’s a list of things that I could change, that would be on top of my list. I think the real world is competitive and we have to respect that people have competitive reasons for doing what they are doing.


Would you say that people who are not participating are not participating because they haven’t done good work?

I can’t say that as a blanket thing for all those who haven’t participated. But, I would certainly say to you that seems to be one of the prominent reasons why some agencies don’t.


You don’t mind me using that as a headline?

I don’t mind it.


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