Madhukar Kamath, President, AAAI (Advertising
Agencies Association of India)
is one of the key figures behind the GoaFest
2008. Kamath, Managing Director and CEO, Mudra,
has more than 26 years of experience in the
advertising and marketing domain. Though he
began his career with the erstwhile Clarion
McCann, he has been with Mudra since 1988,
except for the four-year period in between,
when he joined the Cordiant Group to bring
Bates to India, complete an acquisition of
Clarion and establish Zenith Media and 141
Worldwide. Kamath came back to Mudra in April
2003. He holds a Bachelor's degree in economics
and a Master's in business management.
In conversation with exchange4media's
Rishi Vora, Madhukar Kamath
speaks on how GoaFest 2008 is bigger and better
How have you seen GoaFest evolve
as an advertising festival in India since it
was first celebrated in 2006?
Goafest has evolved considerably since it first
started in April 2006. Goafest 2008, the
3rd edition will be considerably bigger.
5 dimensional in fact. An exciting conclave,
a competitive media awards evening, a well contested
Abby awards, a veritable list of internationally
recognised speakers, and ofcourse the fabulous
Advillage which is the venue for learning, networking,
fun and frolic. Each year, effort
has gone in to learn from the earlier experiences
and make the festival a better event.
The number of delegates have grown, the number
of agencies participating have increased considerably,
the number of entries doubled, the quality of
international speakers improved and more importantly,
the arrangements and the setting provide the
perfect base for a greater degree of fun, the
building of camaraderie and the festival
What are thoughts on the GoaFest judging
This year, the teams at AAAI and Ad Club Mumbai,
have worked very closely to ensure absolutely
perfect rounds of judging. Get the Industry's
best creative minds together, have eminently
experienced jury Chairman, insist on higher
standards, encourage in camera discussions,
make sure you have external audit and
monitoring personnel and what you get is a perfect
recipe for a truly international standard judging
GoaFest have been giving a lot of importance
to young creative minds in the industry? What
is in it for them in the 2008 event?
Goafest 2008 will also encourage the participation
of young creative minds in the Industry.
800 under 30s are being sponsored vis-a-vis,
their travel, stay, boarding and lodging, for
just Rs.7,777/-, which is the registration fee.
The platform is perfect for the young creative
minds to observe, interact and learn from the
peer group, the industry leaders and the international
speakers. GoaFest 2008 promises to be
the best ever, in the Indian Creatives.
Do you think GoaFest has now reached
a level from where it can take bigger strides
and expand its wings to become an international
Conceptually speaking, yes. However, I
would see the AAAI waiting for a couple
of more years before making it any bigger.
Nevertheless, GoaFest 2008 is already as the
Cannes of Asia by Scott Goodson.
I understand that the thought process
behind GoaFest in 2006 was to create a one-week
event like we have international events
like the Cannes Lions. When would the industry
see this thought being turned into action?
That was one of the thoughts we began with.
But let's be honest. Organising an event
of this nature, size and representation requires
a great degree of investment, time, effort and
money. Let us, therefore, take
it step by step and keep building on the format
as we grow in subsequent years.
Apart from GoaFest, what are the various
initiatives the industry is taking to nurture
Periodic Seminars by the AAAI, the few training
sessions, the evening speakers' series by Ad
Club Mumbai, the various learning workshops,
MICA, Northpoint, etc. are all excellent initiatives
taken by the Industry to nurture talent.
If you were to assess and review the
year 2007 as a whole for the industry, what
are the core points you think have made a difference
in the industry past one year? Please share
specific areas that you think needs due consideration…
2007 has been a pretty good year for the Industry.
We have seen good work, we have seen lots of
Account movements, we have had new businesses
coming into the picture and spend levels increasing
However, as I look back up on 2007, what strikes
me at once, is the emergence of a new lot of
national creative directors. Sonal Dabral,
Bobby Pawar, Priti Nair, Sagar and Ramanuj,
to name a few have already gotten down to building
the teams and noteworthy campaigns. The
second point that strikes me is the welcome
trend of creative heads being named Chairman.
Prasoon and Balki joining Piyush as Chairman
of their respective agencies, is a significant
step. Another interesting
development is the entry of new players like
Wieden & Kennedy, BBDO India, BBH etc..
At the same time, we have also seen a successful
emergence of newer creative shops, Creative
land being one of them.
On the Media Agencies front, we are seeing
rapid growth in terms of skill sets and services
being offered. The biggies are naturally
getting bigger and bigger. Yet, there
is intense competition vis-a-vis knowledge creation
and service levels.
How has the industry grown revenue
wise? What progress has it made from last year
in terms of market growth?
Approximately 15-20%. The growth
has been steadier compared to last year.
What is your take on the compensation
done by the clients in general? Do you think
that agencies are under cutting a bit more than
This issue occupies our mind constantly.
There is a rather desperate need for new benchmarks
as well as self-regulatory practices.
I sincerely believe that the compensation paid
out for creative business solutions that we
offer should perhaps have been enhanced.
The value is only now being slightly realised
and I am certain that the only way to go