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Digital agencies eye GoaFest 2014

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MUMBAI: While the 2013 edition wasn’t exactly the best, with the controversy around ‘scam ads’ and a couple of heavyweights like Ogilvy and Creativeland Asia bowing out, this year’s Goafest promises to be a definite improvement over its predecessor.

The ninth edition has been postponed to May because of the ongoing elections and will revolve around the theme ‘Brand Baaja Baraat’. The fest will focus on macro-economic issues affecting advertising. There will be a first-of-its-kind leadership summit addressed by an interesting line-up of speakers. Among other changes, Goafest 2014 will have a new category ‘promo activation and PR’ while adding Broadcaster and Publisher Abbys to the existing list of awards.

Speaking of awards, taking a cue from last year’s fracas, the committee has introduced changes to the judging process after feedback from creative professionals. The selection process will comprise two rounds with a gap of 10 days in between. Short-listed entries from round one will be put up on the Goafest official website. Complaints backed by evidence will be considered for review by jury chairman for that particular category.

 Significantly, the ‘digital’ category - which caught the industry’s attention last year – promises to be even bigger this year. Goafest 2014 chairman Srinivasan Swamy said he would be able to give the exact number of digital entries post 23 April, the extended deadline for submission of entries.

It can be noted that in the Media Abbys’ category which received 660 entries, 40 - 45 per cent of them came from digital-related categories. The organisers had expanded the digital category to include relevant sub-categories in the 2013 edition. This year there are around nine sub-categories in digital, two in mobile, six in digital craft and nine in best use of digital media

 Though the likes of Leo Burnett, Ogilvy and Creativeland Asia are not participating, lots of digital agencies are really looking forward to the fest.

Ahead of Goafest 2014, ad2campaign co-founder and managing director Madan Sanglikar tells indiantelevision.com, “Last year’s Goafest got everyone talking about the burning issue of ‘scam ads’ rather than brush it under the carpet. Scam ads are a reality and we need to have regular debate and discussion to keep them under control.”

Sanglikar went so far as to suggest ways to curb scam ads. “Firstly, by creating a separate category called ‘proactive ads’ that would showcase ads which were never released but could have made a difference because of their innovative appeal. This would give creative people due recognition while acknowledging that these ads did not constitute real campaigns. Secondly, by instituting an open rating/meter which shows how many brands have been participating in questionable tactics. The assumption here is that clients are usually in cahoots with creative people in the making of scam ads,” he explains.

Speaking of digital agencies, Sanglikar says, “Digital is main-stream by now. So digital agencies are no different from other agencies and if there is a fest for the advertising industry, it cannot be complete without digital agencies. Having said that, there have lately been too many award shows for digital agencies, so Goafest will also have to create a better differentiation.”

ibs, which won the Grand Prix last year for its Tata DoCoMo digital campaign, is eager to participate in Goafest this year too.  “We are letting the younger lot to lead this year. We are allowing them to enter their work and make the submissions with absolute freedom and empowerment. Given this change, we are hopeful that the rank and file of the agency will get more deeply involved in the Goafest. While we are optimistic of some of our work getting noticed, winning awards is not the most important objective for us at Goafest this year”, says ibs MD Sabyasachi Mitter. He adds that success at Goafest would help draw the immediate attention of the entire advertising fraternity.

According to sources, while a few mid-sized digital agencies are giving the fest a miss as they are cutting down budgets and will be selective while entering awards. On the other hand, a few big digital agencies are submitting a good number of entries and are positive about being recognised for their good work.

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