The first of its kind – GoaFest – organised by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) is creating its share of noise in creative circles already. The two-day event is planned for April 29 and 30, 2006 in Goa and attempts at being more than just an ad festival. Industry leaders in the creative domain express more on their point of views and expectations from the GoaFest.
Preparations are on full swing in agencies for the awards festival. Said K V Sreedhar (Pops), National Creative Director, Leo Burnett, “We are quite excited about the awards. This is the first time that not only would young professionals get to win an award for their work, but also learn something from the initiative. I am taking my entire creative department to Goa.”
TBWA\India’s Kurien Mathews voiced the same assertiveness as Pops. He said, “We are participating in a big way and there is quite a bit of excitement at the agency. We see this as a great initiative that has the potential to be the showpiece of Indian advertising.”
“It is much as what you see at Cannes, where when a Prasoon Pandey sings a folk song, every Indian joins in. We are one big creative community, and petty politics thrown aside, can come together on one platform and not be divided on the count of agencies. This event is aimed in that direction of unity and I hope that it can be achieved,” said Pops.
Both Pops and Mathews are confident that GoaFest could be a driving force in Indian creatives. Bringing another point of view here is Everest Brand Solutions’ President Mahesh Chauhan. Everest, too, is participating in the event. Chauhan is, however, quick to add, “Conceptually, GoaFest sounds fantastic, but it is still early days and as far as we are concerned, at present we have a neutral point of view. We participated at the Abbys with full vigour and we are doing so at the GoaFest as well, and in the case of the latter, we will know in a fortnight whether it delivers on the promised concept.”
Yet another point of view comes from Brand David’s President, Kumar Subramaniam. He pointed out, “There really are too many awards at present and it is time one starts choosing which ones you want to participate.” Speaking more on the reason why David won’t be a part of GoaFest, he said, “We are participating in the Abbys and have been doing so for years. I don’t think we can, as a matter of principle, participate in GoaFest as well.”
Elaborating his point further, Subramaniam said, “It’s not realistic to invest your time and energy in just about every award.” A more radical, but what is also seen as fair, point of view comes from Lowe’s National Creative Director, R Balakrishnan, popularly known as Balki. He opined, “We are staying away from awards completely this year because we think that awards and associations are dividing agencies. There is no sense in this and we definitely don’t want to be a part of something like this. Unless, these bodies don’t sort things out and come together, we aren’t going to be a part of any awards.”
Voicing what many are thinking, Chauhan said, “If an Ogilvy isn’t participating, then in my mind, an award is not complete, but on those lines, even an Abbys isn’t complete, where another handful of agencies aren’t competing. We are taking part in all the awards this year and we will take a call next year. If differences aren’t sorted till then, we may not participate in both, but that is next year. This year we have a good contingent looking forward to Goa.”
As some of the industry leaders put it, the success of the event will be a deciding factor and if the noise in the AAAI offices is anything to go by, the industry has quite something to look forward to on April 29 and 30. Good piece of work has very little opposition and perhaps that holds true for more than just advertising works.