With Goafest 2014 set to commence by the end of this month, and given the absence of six big agencies, we get a perspective from creative leaders on the impact of this absence on the competition, changes they would like to see at Goafest this year and more...
A robust jury emerges topmost on the list of changes. Whilst the festival will require work at all quarters to win its former glory back, agency leaders collectively believe in the potential of the festival, which has been highly regarded and envied by global leaders and agencies alike.
Absence of larger agencies dulls the competition element?
The absence of large agencies such as McCann Erickson, Ogilvy India, Leo Burnett, and Lowe Lintas are sure to have an impact on the competition, given that they account for a bulk of the clients and work produced in the year; and the absence of Grey India and Creativeland Asia only adds to this.
“The creative community seeks recognition from peers. This is not going to change because a few agencies did not participate. We are led by three National Creative Directors, who feel we should participate,” said Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT South Asia.
Does the absence of larger agencies dull down the feeling of winning and competing?
“It is always better to have more people competing for the title. It is not a good news at all, but it’s better to have the festival than not to have at all due to few dropouts for not so convincing reasons. Two years back, there were more than eight teams in the IPL, but this time there are eight teams. However, that doesn’t take away from the spirit of the game nor have the TRPs come down. In fact, there were bigger problems than Goafest in IPL, but things were controlled/ cleaned up and the game continued. It is not difficult at all to keep aside our egos for a better industry,” remarked Santosh Padhi, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot India.
Padhi further said, “Lesser number of agencies does not mean that the creative standard will go down; there is no rule that says one has to give three metals in each category. The standard of Goafest has been really high and I am hoping it will continue to be the same.”
The fact remains that every award show is as good as its jury and the competition that it facilitates. In the absence of players that otherwise provide formidable competition, the intensity obviously decreases.
Bobby Pawar, Director & Chief Creative Officer - South Asia, Publicis Worldwide admitted, “One can’t pretend that the absence of these agencies will have no impact; if you win against all the best business for that year, the feeling is different. The presence of all the agencies together will only show you the work that has been produced in the year.”
“Winning in the radio category without Leo Burnett reduces the competition factor for sure. But this conversation should have happened long back, when Lowe decided not participate,” opined Manish Bhatt, Founder & Director, Scarecrow Communications.
He added, “A lot of agencies who haven’t entered, may not be entering due to cut in budgets and not having enough entries.”
Getting its glory back
What does the Goafest need to do to get its glory back in the eyes of the creative fraternity?
“As far my knowledge goes, the Goafest Committee is trying its best to make the festival happen, but if different agencies demand different things, I don’t think even a big advertising body like Cannes will able to fulfil their demands. We need to grow up, this is our industry and things can be solved collectively. It is a fabulous festival, everyone in the world talks about Goafest, we should be proud of it and make it larger,” said Padhi on an optimistic note.
“Get more people to participate, get everyone behind it. We can’t say let’s give it one more shot, the approach needs to be future forward. We need to benchmark the kind of work we want to celebrate,” added Pawar.
For all the criticism and flak that the festival seems be attracting this year as a result of last year’s future post the awards announcement. The fact remains that Goafest is the biggest local advertising festival in India, and remains a platform for the youngsters to interact with senior colleagues. The awards also serve as a means to encourage the youngsters who look forward to the festival, industry leaders also feel that the young aggressive passionate bunch of people should not lose out due to ego hassles of others in the system.
What are the changes that industry leaders would like to see this year that would pave the way to more participation going forward? Given last year’s super jury appointment post the awards and accusations of plagiarism and scam work, agency leaders put a robust jury on the top of the priority list.
“A proper code of conduct has been followed by the jury,” Harris said.
“A better set of judges in the right category, as last year there were bowlers asked to open and batsmen given the new ball, I would love to see the committee doing a bit of homework to put right candidates in right categories, it nice to see the festival is getting big by have more non-creative categories like PR and branded content,” added Padhi.
This year is a crucial year for Goafest as it is constantly under scanner, if all goes well this year, should we expect to see the much loved Goafest return to its former glory?
“One year is not enough to miraculously erase everything, we need to rise above all the difference and build back the Abbys,” concluded Harris on a realistic note.