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Countdown to GoaFest 2009: On way to be Asia’s best forum for ad industry

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Countdown to GoaFest 2009: On way to be Asia’s best forum for ad industry

In the run-up to GoaFest 2009, the Festival executive body – Colvyn Harris, Shashi Sinha, and Suman Srivastava – share with exchange4media what to expect this year and whether GoaFest is on the right track to become Asia’s most coveted advertising festival.

Colvyn Harris, Chairman, GoaFest 2009 and CEO, JWT India:

We are positioning GoaFest to be Asia’s best forum for the advertising industry. It already is the largest given the participation that it sees. This year, we have further broken down the Festival and focussed significantly on the knowledge and learning aspects of it. While awards are an important part of the Festival, they are just six hours of the 72-hour event. And this is one of the reasons why GoaFest is a must-attend for the advertising industry.

We begin the first day with an Industry Conclave that sees participation from CEOs, CMOs and others that are associated with brand. There is a Google workshop, a lot of work on display, and quite a lot to do at GoaFest that nurtures young creative talent.

Lessons from GoaFest 2009

We have said very categorically that the focus this year is on knowledge and learning, and we have worked harder than before on the speakers. Dan Wieden (W+K), John Hegarty (BBH), Jean-Marie Dru (TBWA) and Sean Finnigan (Starcom MediaVest Group) are some of the speakers that would be there. The quality of speakers has never been this good – we are talking of global Chairmen and CEOs.

One lesson that I would say GoaFest 2009 has taught us is to make us much more conscious on managing costs. This year, we were very prudent on how we planned ourselves and how we spent money. This was not the year to try and do anything extravagant, and we have not gone overboard on any of the elements.

Shashi Sinha, Chairman, Media Abby’s, Goafest 2009 and CEO, Lodestar Universal:

GoaFest is an industry event for the people and by the people. In the meanwhile, there are other points that resonate my point of view for the same.

The show must go on

Not limiting myself to one reason, there is more to why Goafest 2009 is to become Asia’s most coveted advertising festival. Firstly, though 2009 is a tough year for all in the sense of feeling pinch of the slowdown, the committee has managed to still go ahead with the Fest. Kudos to Colvyn and the team!

Media Abbys’ participation This year, the media jury has been far bigger than the last few years and there has been participation from every level. I am happy to mention that this year we’ve had all media agencies across India sending in their entries. We have shortlisted 77 entries across 13 entries, and from these 10-12 percent would be announced as winners.

The quality of work has also gone up over the years. This year, we have seen good quality of entries in categories like Interactive, Digital and OOH.

Industry event

This is an industry function. Unlike other awards like Cannes, which is run by a single person, GoaFest is organised for and by the advertising industry. Despite the dual responsibilities of the leaders who organise this Fest at their respective agencies and the current economic slowdown, GoaFest has been becoming better and bigger year on year.

Thus, taking all these points together, I would say yes, we are on the right track for GoaFest 2009 to become Asia’s most coveted advertising festival and may the ‘right brain’ win!

Suman Srivastava, Chief Executive Officer, Euro RSCG India:

In the book ‘What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School’, Mark McCormack talks of an incident where he wanted to sell the sponsorship of the Wimbledon scoreboard to Rolex. The client was not keen since they thought their brand image didn’t go with sporting events. McCormack knew that the only way he could sell Wimbledon was by getting the client there. When the client finally got to the reserved box at the Center Court, he soaked in the atmosphere and said, “This is Rolex”.

In the same way, I think the only way to understand GoaFest is by being there. You may have been to beaches, you may have been to seminars, you may have been to award shows, and you may have been to huge parties, but you can only experience all of them together when you get to GoaFest.

So, GoaFest is a great venue with lots happening, a professionally-produced event and loads of fun. But does that make it Asia’s most coveted advertising festival? I am afraid, we are not there yet, though we are well on our way.

One of the things we are doing right is that we have got the entire industry together at GoaFest. To become the most coveted festival in Asia, GoaFest has to be the most coveted one in India. This job can be ticked off.

The next step is to improve the infrastructure that we have in Goa. Currently, it is a bit of a task to even get 3,000 rooms in Goa for the Festival. If we get more people to attend, we don’t have anywhere to house them. Local transport is also an issue. All these problems have been raised with the highest local authorities by AAAI and we hope to begin to resolve some of them soon.

Meanwhile, GoaFest is a great place for all industry brains to relax, enjoy and celebrate all the brainwork that they have done over the year.


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.