What were plans and dreams yesterday have now become a memory and if the response to GoaFest 2006 is anything to go by, India has got a platform that truly celebrates creative excellence. GoaFest saw participation from many national and international gurus of the advertising fraternity and at the culmination of the event, the industry vote is unanimous – India has got its own Cannes.
The awards, instituted by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), attempted to deliver an experience and not a reward. With a destination like Goa where mornings were spent on water sports, sand and sun, afternoons in creative seminars and interaction with some of the best minds of the business, and the evenings dedicated to some more fun, the festival achieved the aim of offering an experience that young advertising professionals will remember.
One of the biggest highlights of the event was the award ceremony, which was celebrated on the beach. Addressing the audience at the ceremony, Srinivasan K Swamy, President, AAAI, not only unveiled the new logo of the award, which symbolises the trophy as well, but also encouraged involvement in the awards by inviting advertising professionals to suggest a name for the award. The winner would be invited to the GoaFest 2007 – all expenses paid.
After taking over the beach, STAR India and Hindustan Times also made their presence felt at the awards ceremony by sponsoring the Reader’s Choice and Viewer’s Choice awards. STAR India also used the occasion to unveil its new creation – TV Rao. On the lines of Channel [v]’s Lolla Kuty, TV Rao also promises to soon befriend many for STAR’s channels like STAR Plus. Similarly, RED FM used the occasion to unveil its new logo and brand identity.
The men behind the show – Swamy and Arvind Sharma – expressed that the event indeed surpassed their own expectations, and promised that 2007 would be bigger and better. Said Swamy, “We are aware of the shortcomings we faced this year, but given that this is the inception year, the festival has proceeded very well and can only get better next year.”
Vice-Chairmen of the organising committee – Shanta Kumar, Jagdip Bakshi and Santosh Desai – also expressed their satisfaction on the event. Voicing this, Kumar said, “The event truly involved advertising geniuses and the participation was much higher than what we expected.”
On the part of the sponsors, HT’s Benoy Roychowdhary seconded this. He said, “This is the first year. The concept itself is a strong one and has the potential to be even bigger in years to come. We thought that the festival has proceeded very well and the advertising professionals’ turnout was great. It has been a wonderful experience.”
Grey WorldWide’s COO, Ashutosh Khanna, opined on similar lines and believed that the event had delivered the experience that it had promised. OMS President, Chandradeep Mitra, agreed with him.
In candid conversations, industry leaders like NDTV Media CEO, Raj Nayak, expressed that the carnival towards the end of the awards ceremony was one of the best that had ever been seen in any industry event thus far.
International names like Michelle Kristula-Green, Regional President, Leo Burnett, Asia Pac also gave her approval to the conception and execution of the event. She said, “I think that the scale of the event is significant and it has been handled well. They should just go in this direction and make this a truly global award to reckon with.”
Lee Gluckman Jr, Chairman of Mobius Advertising Awards, was of the opinion that it was time India saw something of this kind. He said, “Any good award or recognition of a discipline is established with the credibility that comes from it. The GoaFest and corresponding awards have the industry backing and some of the known names to give it that credibility.”
Neeraj Nayar, President of FAB Awards London, said, “Year-on-year, I have seen the importance of the role platforms like these play in the international markets and the impact they have on the discipline being an incentive to outperform yourself and I have always thought ‘India is doing so well – why aren’t they thinking on these lines’ and here we are. The thinking is done and the award is established. I see these awards making a significant mark for themselves.”
Paul Kemp-Robertson, Managing Editor, Contagious Magazines, said, “For a first year, this is managing some scale and if the enthusiasm of the people is anything to go by, it would only get better.” Tom Savigar, Trends Director, Future Laboratory, added, “By making it more than just an awards ceremony, AAAI has converted the GoaFest into an experience. I think that is where the awards have scored.”
Several young advertisers expressed their excitement to be given a chance to participate in the name giving ceremony to the awards festival. Participants from media houses, young advertising professionals, names who have already made their mark – all are looking forward to GoaFest 2007 already.