Following the preliminary day of the GoaFest 2006, the festival began with a morning spent in the sun and sand. Staying true to its promise of more than just awards, the festival began with the lighting of the lamp on April 29, 2006 by Deputy Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Wilfred De Souza, who also delivered the Presidential address. The Chief Guest at the event was Praful Patel, Minister of State for Aviation.
Immediately after the lamp lighting ceremony, Saatchi & Saatchi CEO, Shanta Kumar touched many with a prayer. Throwing further light on the event, Srinivasan K Swamy, President, Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) said, “The event has surpassed our own expectations. We donned on this concept two months ago and it took us that much time to plan an event of this magnitude. With more than 1,200 people being a part of the event, I am told that this is the largest advertising congregation to happen outside Mumbai – the only other one that compares was the Ad Asia at Jaipur.”
Swamy was quick to give the credit of the idea of the concept of the event to STAR Group’s CEO, Peter Mukerjea. “With this kind of industry response, GoaFest has become the gold standard in the industry and I think it’s in the interest of everyone to be a part of it,” he added.
Where on the one hand he promised a bigger and better GoaFest 2007, Arvind Sharma took the dais to speak on what the Association experienced as the agony before the ecstasy. “To take a guess, I think there are 30,000 people who are directly connected with advertising and lakhs who are in related fields. With GoaFest, we are celebrating excellence in Indian advertising – we are celebrating a 5,000-year old civilisation.”
Sharma was clear that a driving force behind the inception of the GoaFest was the need to have a national festival that saw participation from every corner of India and not just be centric to Mumbai or Delhi. “We want this to be a lighthouse event and we wanted young Indian advertising professionals to applaud the industry they have been giving their time and energy to,” added Sharma.
Giving a sneak peak into the future, he said, “This is the first year and we have worked with some constraints, but going forward, we want to expand the event – expand it by catering to not just creative but other segments of advertising as well and expand it geographically.”
Events like these don’t just happen – there are people who make it happen. In the case of the GoaFest, just as Swamy and Sharma are two such people, another name that gets added to the list is the Deputy Chief Minister of Goa. In his Presidential address, De Souza presented his view on the role that advertising plays in the life of a destination like Goa.
He said, “We are aware that ads execute a crucial role in promoting a product, even products like sports or destinations and the establishment of Goa as a tourist destination is the result of a continued effective and good advertising. And Goa has also contributed its share to the advertising industry – I know of many names from Goa like Jerson DaCunha, who have contributed their share to Indian advertising.”
Bringing another point of view here, De Souza observed that the same angles of Goa have been overused. He said, “All angles of Panjim are exhausted now! There also are our hinterlands, our spice gardens, our rivers, backwaters. I request you to show a never before shown Goa now and I hope to be your host again next year.”
With these speakers, the event was officially inaugurated.