Expecting the unexpected this Goafest

While Goafest 2013 has brought with it more than its fair share of controversies, adlanders throw light on what to expect at the festival this year

e4m by Priyanka Mehra
Updated: Apr 3, 2013 9:32 PM
Expecting the unexpected this Goafest

Goafest seems to be living up to its theme ‘Just what you unexpected’ to the hilt this year, starting with Ogilvy India’s decision to not participate, Bobby Pawar’s exit from JWT India due to the Ford fiasco, followed by Sajan Raj Kurup’s decision (Founder of Creativeland Asia) to step down from the Goafest 2013 Jury and the Awards Governing Council, as a protest against scam ads. Goafest 2013 is upon us with more than its fair share of controversies.

Ogilvy’s absence = other agencies’ gain?
“Having Ogilvy would mean the competition would be much healthier; Ogilvy is like the Sachin Tendulkar of the Indian advertising industry. Having said this, it does not mean that Ogilvy’s metals will be distributed amongst the rest of the agencies. Indian juries are a lot tougher than international juries and need fresh and new work constantly. But having agencies such as Ogilvy in the competition, makes it healthier for all players,” said Santosh Padhi, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Taproot India.

Ogilvy India has pulled out from Goafest for the first time; it has been one of the most awarded agencies till date. However, Ogilvy’s absence has not dampened any spirits.

“Advertising as a business has completely changed; one agency dominating all is long gone. One agency not participating does not make a difference because Creative Abbys is a celebration of creativity across all communication forms, not only traditional advertising. Traditional creative advertising agencies are only one sixth or one seventh of Goafest; in addition, there are digital, OOH, media, direct, and branded entertainment agencies as well. This is the age of collaboration and co-creation; have Olympics ever stopped due to absence of any player?,” opined KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett India and Sub Continent, commenting on Ogilvy India’s absence from Goafest this year.

Who will rule the roost?
On international forum AdFest this year, Taproot India led the pack, followed by McCann Worldgroup India, Grey, and Leo Burnett. McCann Worldgroup India and Leo Burnett India brought home the metals at the 2013 ANDY Awards.

So will Goafest see a repeat of this pattern, with these agencies ruling the roost on the home front as well?

“These agencies will definitely be the ones to watch out for. Some of the other top 10 agencies could also work up a decent tally, if not in the top 3,” shared Arijit Ray, CEO, Dentsu Communications.

While Padhi of Taproot India said, “International and local juries have different criteria of judging altogether. The sensibilities of an international jury are completely different. Unless an idea has universal appeal, along with a local touch, insights and context, it may not get the kind of recognition it gets in one’s own country.”

What’s new?
While predicting the agency that will be awarded the maximum number of accolades at Goafest this year evokes mixed responses, the festival this year has expanded its umbrella of recognition by way of introduction of a Grand Prix for Media, along with nine other verticals from the previous year.

Branded Content and Entertainment is a new vertical that has been added this year to cover original content creation and integration by brands. Six sub categories have been added here to include integration of brand with entertainment content for television, cinema and the digital medium. Both, fictional and non-fictional programmes are covered.

“It is not only Leo Burnett, Mudra and McCann who are in the running; what is stopping a design or digital agency to win? Today what is not digital? This year traditional agencies because of experience and might may still win majority of metals, but in years to come we will see this change drastically,” commented Sridhar.

“All verticals such as Design, Promo and Direct need more confidence to compete in other forums, which they are quickly gaining. Hopefully, among the top ten agencies, we will have three or four non-traditional ones this year. New competition is in the form of new verticals, which is needed for healthy competition,” added Sridhar. 

Will the uproar created by the scam ads change the way the industry functions or will the usage of scam ads continue once the fires of the furor created by the Ford – JWT controversy die down? “The JWT incident is a big enough reality-check for the industry to wake up to this deep rooted malaise. I view scam ads as a waste of time for the agency as well as the client,” said Arun Iyer, National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners. On the other hand, few adlanders remain optimistic, “The whole issue is blown out of proportion. Having said this, it is also important that we start recognising regular work. I am sure Ad Club is ticking all the right boxes before awarding any metals,” said Padhi.

Expected or unexpected, Goafest 2013 promises to be a celebration of communication across media, making way for the new and integrating the old with the new. 

Goafest 2013 coverage on exchange4media is presented by Patrika group.

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