The Final Countdown!: Pratap Bose

The final day of GoaFest 2010 held a lot of promise for a lot of people. For many, it was the final day of reckoning and glory. For a few, it was an opportunity to let their hair down and party hard. Hopefully, it was a fortunate day for job seekers, and as informed sources tell me, it was ‘pay dirt’ time for the beach shack owners near the GoaFest venue.

by Pratap Bose
Published - Apr 12, 2010 11:57 AM Updated: Apr 12, 2010 11:57 AM
The Final Countdown!: Pratap Bose

The final day of GoaFest 2010 held a lot of promise for a lot of people. For many, it was the final day of reckoning and glory. For a few, it was an opportunity to let their hair down and party hard. Hopefully, it was a fortunate day for job seekers, and as informed sources tell me, it was ‘pay dirt’ time for the beach shack owners near the GoaFest venue.

The Creative Abby night is what the creative fraternity works a full hard year for, and at the end of it, it all boils down to this. Their final countdown!

I still have a ‘heady’ head as I sit down to pen my musings for the day that was yesterday. The morning began with a breakfast tete-a-tete on the absence of creative honchos at the Media Abby awards the previous night. I took up the cudgels wholeheartedly and enjoyed the punches and uppercuts we gave them. I just can’t seem to understand their ‘double standards’. Ask them for a sound byte on media and one would hear echoes reverberating on how critically important the role media plays in their lives and how integral the function is to ‘integrated communications’, but on the night, they certainly didn’t extend any support in spirit. Shame on them!

Shame on me, said my wife, for losing a few thousand quids playing roulette at the casino before lunch. Men will be men won’t they?

I strolled into the ad village after lunch in the sweltering heat and really envied all the young people under the sprinklers at the UTV Bindaas rain dance. Boy oh boy… They certainly exuded staggering energy levels, given that the rain dance went on for about 4 hours!

As I walked into the welcome air-conditioned dome in the searing heat at 3 pm, I noticed a thinner audience paying rapt attention to a panel discussion on social media. I sat there too, because it was a better place to beat the heat. The panel gave me the impression that their audience was the lesser mortals and they (the panel) were the avatars from the social media world, condescendingly doling out advice for the future.

Hmmm… the power of the stage they say… especially when you have a microphone in your hand!

George Michaelides frankly put most to sleep and the beer certainly didn’t help the ‘pay attention’ cause! Can someone explain those art directed 60s kind of look slides to me please?

Jan Leth from Ogilvy Digital was very crisp and refreshing. He had his own youthful style and the examples he punctuated his presentation with were quite unique and not the usual stuff that one normally gets to see.

Andy Greenway hasn’t changed a bit since I knew him from the mid 90s. Cool creative examples are the best antidote to pump up a lazy audience and he did that in his own imitable style and brought down the curtain on the two days of Knowledge and Learning sessions.

I must say that all in all, the quality of the speakers across the three days of GoaFest 2010 was a tad shade paler than the previous years and the organisers need to put it a lot more effort into the content and relevance of the speaker sessions next year.

The ‘friends and available people’ in the global agency network with a message that says – “Are you free to come down to Goa on the 8th of April for two days” just doesn’t work. For instance, I would be extremely eager to hear what the owners or marketers of Karbonn or Micromax have to say on what has made them the new challenger handset brands in India.

Topics like that, for example, are far more relevant and interesting to our kind of audience than watching great TV commercials of yesteryears.

The big night did take all of four hours to give away the 200-odd metals, of which Gold was in very short supply. I wonder why the sadistic streak of our creative jury never seems to end. They just feel it’s below their exalted status to be big-hearted and reward truly good work.

I thought Mudra put up an extremely impressive performance last night, followed by Publicis, and judging by reactions, it wasn’t a canter for Ogilvy this time around. Predictably, they did win at the end, but as someone said to me… “Only by a ZooZoo head”.

I would end by making an impassioned plea to both the AAAI and the Ad Club Bombay. For God’s sake remove all the ambiguity and ‘sitting on the fence’ posturing about which agency deserves to be called the Agency of the Year and who does not.

Next year around, please decide the points system and be emphatic about who wins, and who make up the rest of the leader board. Please erase issues about agencies bringing their country cousins from across the border and please be clear that the craft awards have no significance for creative agencies. But please be clear!

It’s about having a definitive result and that’s why we enter awards. I do not subscribe to what Prasoon Joshi said four years ago, when he ascribed the Abby awards to “a celebration of ideas and creativity”. That held true four years ago, because we wanted to pacify and mollycoddle the creative agencies into whole-hearted participation at that point in time. The Abby awards isn’t a Christmas party… it is serious business for those who choose to participate.

For those who don’t, please think of a better excuse next year!

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