A high spirited Santosh Padhi, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot talks about factors that give the agency the edge, his suggestions on making Goafest more effective, he also explains how non participation of other agencies does not aid the metal tally of participating agencies and much more in a freewheeling chat with exchange4media following the agency’s win of 29 metals at Goafest 2014.
Do you think the absence of other agencies has led to Taproot’s win of 29 metals?
No, not at all. The last three years, on an average Taproot has been winning more than 25 awards, be it with all the big agencies around or not. Last to last year, when O&M had participated, they got 52 metals, Taproot came second with 34 metals. Last year, too, we got 20-odd metals.
Other agencies’ not participating does not help participating agencies’ tally.
Imagine there was only one agency to enter the show, they wouldn’t have got all the 150 awards.
If non-participating agencies had participated, then worthy of their ideas, they would have got respective metals, and instead of three metals in Integrated and 11 metals in Film, the tally would have been higher; the same goes for the other categories as well. The agencies that got rewarded is for their work and not because other agencies abstained.
Just to compare the last three years’ tally – in 2012, 332 metals were given, last year, 438 metals were given, while this year, 213 metals (excluding PR, Publisher, Broadcaster, etc., which were introduced this year) have been given. That says it all; if there were other agencies, they would have got the other 200-odd metals.
What gives Taproot the edge?
We are a bunch of 40-odd people, including support staff, with just one office and a handful of brands as compared to some of the giant agencies, who have more than 2,000-3,000 people and many offices across the country, and countless brands. Considering all this, I’m very proud of what we have achieved year on year, not only on local awards, but also at international award shows.
Last year, we were the most awarded Indian agency at Cannes with a historic four Golds, year before that in 2012, we were the Adfest Agency of the Year, again we the first one to achieve this title – no Indian agency has ever got this title. International awards shows are all about real high-end cutting edge creative excellence, whereas local awards are all about quality and quantity as well, and we have always believed in quality. With such bandwidth, we have been over-performing actually.
After Taproot’s performance at Goafest, what is the expectation from Cannes this year?
Taproot has been a big contributor to Indian tally every year at Cannes. Every year, our work not just wins, but has been winning Gold at Cannes, except for one year.
With four Golds, a Silver and a Bronze last year, we can afford to relax for a year. (Just kidding!)
From the body of work that gets produced in the year, a large number of work qualifies for international awards at times, while sometimes, just a few pieces of work qualify.
Unfortunately, this year we just have few pieces that have been entered that have little chance at Cannes, so no big expectations from Cannes this year.
Are you happy with the results and the judging process at Goafest this year?
I still feel the selection of judges in the right category will make a huge difference and the output will be far better. I remember some years back the criteria was to get people who have a creative edge (basically creatively awarded guys), which was a superb idea, which is not seriously followed any more due to many reasons. I would request to stick to that philosophy.
One cannot be in the team with just one double century which he/she scored 6/8 years back, but the recent centurions who are in touch with the trend and technics and yet scoring should be on board or given an opportunity to judge the creative standards of the industry.
As a standard rule, they should not call judges from agencies that are not entering or participating (new term in awards) be it a small or big name in the industry. We have seen that they act irresponsibly year after year as they have nothing to win or lose.
Was it a controversy-free fest for you this year after last year’s controversy ridden festival?
It is a new award show and let’s not forget it is an Indian award show, and like our market place, even our award show is quite complicated and unpredictable.
Every year, we have been witnessing a new set of problems; the problems we had faced in the last three years were fixed very well, and weren’t repeated this year, but there were a new set of problems which are very basic, yet important, which I’m sure they have seen, or once brought to notice they will look into it.
Hats off to our industry suits, who have been taking charge to champion the show year after year turn by turn, but it’s high time we get one responsible person who literally is the face for the show, instead of passing on the baton. I know, it’s not easy, but if the committee decides, it is not difficult either; it is not a small industry, we will surely find a candidate who wants to take this forward passionately with other board members.
What are your suggestions for making things better for next year?
• Please get Neeraj back as an anchor, for the last few years, he has been doing a wonderful job (or someone like him, who understands the industry and speaks the same language). Sidharth Kannan was a ridiculous disaster, he single-handedly got the Goafest standards down.
• Please ask for jpegs from the creative agencies while showcasing the winners, or scan them correctly (we live in the 18-plus mega pixel era). The way the ad pulls were clicked/ cropped/ stretched/ presented were really shabby, we as a creative community passionately take lots of pain to finish and send our entries in the right form and someone not having respect for the winning work being presented in front of the audience cannot be an excuse.
• The audience is there to see the winners and not listen to bad corny jokes, please utilise that time to show at least the Gold winner correctly/ completely on the screen, even high profile awards like Cannes show respect for Gold winners.
• We would love to see a grab/ JPEG/ presentation board of the Silver winners as well, they deserve to be shown while the awards are being given. There is always a joy and respect to see live what piece of work won, compared to the three-word title on the screen.
Some of the things I’m asking for were always there and there should be no reasons why these things should go wrong after so many years of implementation.