This is not just another year for the GoaFest. In the fourth year of this Indian advertising festival, the economic slowdown has already created its share of challenges. The GoaFest committee, however, is undeterred so far and is confident of pulling off an affair that is bigger and better than the previous years. This year, the Festival is likely to take place by April 2009; the official dates would be announced next week along with all the other details around awards, speakers, theme, jury and so on. This year, the Festival is likely to take place by April 2009; the official dates would be announced next week along with all the other details around awards, speakers, theme, jury and so on. The committee is discussing between first week of April and mid-April to host the festival.
With Ogilvy’s decision not to take part in the awards, and the likes of McCann Erickson being undecided yet, the first challenge for the committee is to ensure industry wide participation. To be able to lock in the sponsors, and hence, the money for executing the festival, is the second challenge. And convincing agencies to send delegates in large numbers is another important ‘to do’ on the list. Colvyn Harris, Festival Chairman this year, is prepared to take on all the challenges, and in an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, stated that this was an “industry” duty, than just an agency one.
He said, “The easiest thing right now is to not do a GoaFest at all, but should we do that to the awards that is fostering young talent in India and is probably the country’s only chance to have an advertising festival of its own. All of us wear two hats – agency hat and industry hat – and as a member of this industry, we should participate in these awards.” Harris informed that even as Ogilvy was not participating in the awards, it would be “participating in the Festival”. He also stated, “I am hoping Ogilvy would reconsider their decision.”
One reason that agency heads cited for reconsidering their decisions to participate in awards was the cash crunch situation and the need to be selective on where the entries were sent. Harris informed that GoaFest was not in the process of announcing any rebates this year. He said, “It is already very cheap – one Cannes Lions or D&AD entry is may be 15 or 20 times one GoaFest entry. The agencies can be more prudent on the number of works they are entering, and should probably send lesser works, but the ones that are likely to win.”
Colvyn Harris is clear that GoaFest 2009 would not compromise on any of the components of the Festival. This year, the Abby Awards would constitute not only Creative Abby but also a Media Abby, the latter is headed by Lodestar Universal’s Shashi Sinha.
The Industry Conclave, the theme for which would be decided in a week’s time, is headed by BCCL’s Bhaskar Das, who is also the Bombay Ad Club President. The knowledge sessions on the two GoaFest days is being organised by Euro RSCG’s Suman Srivastava. The speakers at the event would be of the stature that was seen last year, if not bigger, according to Harris. There is no cut down on the subsidies provided to enable a large under-30 delegation. Harris said, “This is a Festival for the younger professionals. They all do not have the opportunity to be at a Cannes or Clios. This is the only advertising Festival that they can really attend.”