Goafest 2019: More real work is winning this year, says Shashi Sinha

Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India and Chairman of the Awards Governing Council of Goafest 2019, talks about the judging process, industry participation level and scope of the Abby Awards

e4m by Srabana Lahiri
Updated: Apr 13, 2019 9:22 AM

Talking of the quality of the Abby Awards this year, IPG Mediabrands India CEO Shashi Sinha, Chairman of the Awards Governing Council at Goafest, says, “A few big agencies have not come, but compared to last year, the overall number of entries is the same, about 2,700 in total. Many agencies that participated last year have pulled out, but this year there are new ones coming in, so we have the same number of agencies overall; in fact there is a 15-20% increase in the number of people attending the festival. A very good sign is that thanks to a big master jury, a lot more of real or mainstream work, meaning work that you see around you on TV, etc., are the winners. There is less of work which is specially created for awards this year. More real work is winning. Like every year, there is an increase in data intake and technology, perhaps a little bit more of it is happening, especially in media.” 

While there is a Master Jury led by ace adman and poet Prasoon Joshi to judge the Creative Abbys, the Awards Governing Council (AGC) of Goafest this year also set up a Master Jury for the Media Abbys this year, says Sinha. But not all Master Jury members are to be seen at Goafest. On judging the Media Abby category, Sinha says, “We saw some very interesting work. The master jury had all network heads, and they recognised good work, and some interesting work in data. In fact, one of the winners did a really interesting piece of work.”

A couple of years back, the AGC introduced the practice of displaying the Abby Awards shortlist for people to file objections, if any, against the nominated work. This time around, hardly any objections were filed against any shortlisted work, says Sinha. “We don’t talk about it. Whatever comes, we manage it. Normally a lot of objections come, but this time, it’s not bad, only minor objections were raised. It’s a lot more easy this year,” he explains. 

So has there been any kind of dialogue with the big non-participating agencies to bring them back to the table? “Except Ogilvy, I had a dialogue with everyone personally. It’s their call, to come or not come. We spoke to them… but they decided not to come. But some new participants such as Dentsu, came in this year.” 

Finally, sending out a message to people from non-participating agencies, Sinha says, “Those who are not coming to the festival are missing out on a lot, because when they see the awards, and the work that is winning, they will know how real it is. Good work is winning; there are good speakers, and the best part is that when you see the winners, you will say that they are worthy winners.” 

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