Bigger, brighter Goafest 2018: Ashish Bhasin

13 Mar,2018


With less than a month to go for Goafest 2018, organising committee chairperson Ashish Bhasin speaks on the line-up of speakers, sponsorships and how this year edition may be the best held thus far…



Day 1

1. Yog Guru – Baba RamdevJi

2. Rana Kapoor -  Managing Director & CEO, Yes Bank


Day 2

1. Rosie Yakob – Co Founder , Genius Steals

2. Sparsh Shah – Child Artist, Singer, TedX speaker

3. Cameron Worth – Founder, SharpEnd

4. Tim Castree - Global Chief Executive Officer, Wavemaker

5. Dean Donaldson & Jonathan Tavss – Transformation Strategist & Digital Futurologist, Kaleidoko

6. Jonty Rhodes – Cricketer, South Africa

7. Siddharth Malhotra – Actor


Day 3

1. Samuel Akesson - Art Director, Forsman & Bodenfors

2. Sania Mirza – Indian Tennis player

3. Wain Choi – Former VP & Global Executive Creative Director, Cheil Worldwide

4. Amelia Conway ( Director) & Ramaa Mosley (Creative Director) – Adolescent

5. Nawazuddin Siddiqui in conversation with Annu Kapoor


We have less than a month to go for Goafest 2018. What would you say to those who have still not registered to attend? How’s it going to be different from the previous years?

If you have seen over the last two-three years, Goafest has been getting bigger and better every year. For instance, the quality of speakers has increased significantly.Like we have got Sania Mirza, Sania Mirza, Jonty Rhodes, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Annu Kapoor. So the quality of speakers is very high by every standard. Second, I think the whole scale and quality presentation is whether it’s the stage, the screen, the ambience had undergone a sea change. Every year we have added something and I think this year it will be one notch higher. Third, it is going to be a lot more digitally interactive. So there will be an app and of course a website. All question now will be routed digitally. There will be contests. So it’s going to be fairly interactive and people are going to be able to book things via the app. So let’s say if there is a workshop you want to attend… you can now book it online. We wanted to become one of the leading advertising festivals in terms of quality by global standards not bench marking it by what happens in India.


The line-up of speakers is interesting, but do you think this is good enough to attract young A&M professionals. After all, some of these – Baba Ramdev, Sania Mirza, Jonty Rhodes, Nawazuddin Siddiqui etc – are also present in Conclaves like those organised by India Today and Hindustan Times. And also seen several times on television.

We are calling world-level speakers. I think what was happening earlier was that the advertising guys were listening to advertising people. So we have gradually moved it away to a mixed which is roughly 50-50 so 50% of the people are directly connected with our industry directly creative directors or media heads or CEO like Tim Castree, Global CEO, Wave maker etc. The other 50% of speakers are from allied fields of creativity — it could be films or from leadership positions because that’s what our young people need. As for them being also present at the India Today and HT conclaves, well, you and I may have access to these events, but how many of the others have access? From our perspective, these speakers are of global standards so while it’s not that it’s the first time ever anybody in India may be hearing them, bu people don’t get to hear people of this caliber. It’s important for advertising folk to toalso see what other industry leaders are doing. There’s a lot happening there.


Do you think crunched budgets and non-participation in the Abby will impact the number of delegates.

No, I don’t think so. Infact keeping a check on the number of delegates is the problem. In fact as an industry we need to decide to shut registrations at a certain point. We have a physical constraint constraint as the hall can’t accommodate more than a certain numbe of people.


In terms of the mix of people who will attend Goafest 2018, do you expect more people from media owners (publishers, broadcasters etc) and the rest of the media ecosystem coming in and the number of people from A&M reducing steadily?

Well, we do see a trend but it’s not in large numbers. We have seen a growth in the number of agencies – small and big – participating. While some larger ones are not participating, new and younger agencies, digital agencies, are coming in. Some coming in for the awards and some only as delegates. They may not have work but still are coming in.  Last year, we had delegates from something like 189 -190 companies. Goafest is no longer the privilege of Top 5 or 10 agencies who send 80% of the people. Also, early it was dominated with people from Mumbai and a smattering of people from Delhi perhaps. Now we are getting more and more people coming in from Bangalore and Chennai and from different parts of the country. I see that as a good trend and of course besides advertising people now that broadcasters and publishers are also coming in. Then there are students and even who aren’t directly involved in the industry.


We have heard of an attempt of Goafest going green in association with Natural Geographic. Talk us through this concept Green Goafest?

I think we owe it to the environment and we must be a little more conscious in any which way we can. Last year, we made a small start. And this year we are furthering it and and are happy that National Geographic has partnered us again. For examplesome 2-3000 people take a few sips from a bottle of water and then leave it because a session is due to start. it’s a criminal waste of water. So we brought tanks where you can pour in that water and we will give to the hotel to water the parks and gardens that they have over there. Then we have many people heading to the same venue coming by the same flight. Sowe are encouraging car pooling. There will also be planting of trees and the entire effort is to have a better environment.


How are you doing in the all-important sponsorship department?We see Times Network continuining as presenting sponsor…

That has been our area of strength. Luckily some of our key partners have been very strongly associated with Goafest for years. The Times Now group continues to be the key sponsor for the last several years. Discovery has been doing the conclaves for many years and they continue to be. Then there others Sakshi,Mathrubhoomi, Star, Zee and many more. I don’t want to name them as I might miss some of them. But I can tell you that the support from the industry is over whelming This will be a record year.


This is your second term as Goafest organizing committee chairman. Any lessons from last year that you’ve corrected this year.

Definitely. There were a few constrains we got and a few areas of development we got. We try to get feedback from as many people as possible every Goafest. One clear feedback was that the award show was becoming too long and by having too many awards in the sense are we devaluing the value of the Abby. So I think that has already been announced. We have taken steps to significantly reduce the number of categories by clubbing some and changing some etc.

The second was that there were questions around the quality of the jury process and the members of the jury. So that also has been addressed as probably you know the jury was very eminent that we have put together including those agencies who may not be participating. In the past, if your agency was not participating you weren’t allowed to judge.I think the thinking this year was that look if you are the best person to judge the work then it doesn’t matter whether you are participating. We actually announced the jury even before knowing that the agency they belong to is participating or now. On the speaker side, the general feedback was we want a good balance of non-industry and industry speakers. So we have addressed that. And then the workshops which have been a big hit. Last year, the sundowners were very popular so were have continued with them. Goa has a problem with wifi especially near the beaches, so we will have free wi-fi…



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