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Goafest 2014 promises to be bigger, better and controversy free

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MUMBAI: The still to be announced dates of Lok Sabha elections have put many in a fix and Goafest 2014 is one among them. The event that was usually organised in April has been pushed to May-end as the organisers are being cautious to avoid coinciding of the fest with the elections, which may spoil the fun.

Thus, the fest will happen from 29-31 May, 2014 at The Grand Hyatt, Bambolim, North Goa this year. Considering that it is usually hot and sunny in Goa during that time, the fest will mostly be indoors. It will be a three-day event with the Knowledge Seminars on all three days. The Advertising Conclave, which used to be “only by invitation” will be open for all delegates and instead of a day prior to the event, it will be held on day two of the festival.

The organisers are also ensuring that more young participants become a part of the fest and it also becomes a platform for more engagement between advertisers, agencies and the rest of the media industry.

Goafest 2014’s newly-appointed Chairman Srinivasan Swamy says that this year the festival is going to be better than any of the previous years as efforts have been put to get all the processes right. “The issues that we had in the past have all been resolved and we will have a fair, transparent and ethical awards ceremony,” says Swamy as he spoke about the entries for the ABBYs that will open on 1 March.

In the last two years, the seven year old fest organised by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and the Advertising Club has faced enough flak for not being fair besides getting embroiled in other controversies including the backing out of jury etc. however, this time around significant changes can be expected both in the judging process and the entire execution.

“There will be a window of clear ten days before the final judging round. And during this period, all the shortlisted entries will be up on the site for the entire industry to review,” says President of The Advertising Club and Chairman of The Awards Governing Council (AGC) Pratap Bose.

However, ABBYs once awarded will stay awarded, remark the organisers.

To make the event better and bigger, two new categories have also been announced that include Promo-Activation and PR. The Branded Content category, which was added last year, will also be expanded. There will also be Broadcaster and Publisher Abbys.

“We thought of including a category like the ‘Publisher and Broadcaster’ because there’s a fair amount of branded content that is developed that is not necessarily produced by agencies. Sometimes agencies are involved and at others there’s no involvement of them, something like Close-Up Antaksahri is a good example. No agency is involved and it is one of the most valuable properties by television. It’s a piece of creative thinking and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t get a shot at winning an award,” says AAAI President Arvind Sharma, who thinks that many publishers and broadcasters employ creative talent for their in-house teams for a lot of marketing activities that they do while launching their properties and some of them are exceptional and needs to be recognised. “Both branded content as well as marketing of publishing and broadcasting vehicles will be celebrated under this,” he adds and also informs that the team is reaching out to everybody who can participate.

As far as ABBYs for PRs is concerned, Sharma says that in the last six-seven years the PR sector has grown rapidly and there’s a need to recognise the excellence in PR.

While the organisers have taken all the necessary steps to keep criticism at bay, The Advertising Club COO Bipin R. Pandit says, “Controversies will follow when there’s something big. But we should understand that it has become an industry event where the entire industry converges.”

When quizzed about how are they ensuring that the agencies that walked out last time also participate, Pandit remarks, “That’s a prerogative of the agency to participate or not to participate. But we are inviting all of them and the best will be awarded.”

With the Festival now turning into a three-day event, there will be two options of delegate passes. A two-day delegate pass priced at Rs 14,000 will allow the delegates to attend any two consecutive days of their choice. A three-day pass priced at Rs. 18,000 will allow delegates to attend the festival for all the three days. Under 30 delegates will continue to enjoy a special discount of 50 per cent on these rates.

Since the event still has time, the sponsors for it are still being planned. However, Sharma is hoping that the number of sponsors will increase considerably this time around.

Continuing with the changes that were inducted in 2012 – there will be a Grand Prix for film, print, radio, outdoor, design, interactive digital, direct, media and integrated. Award shows for various verticals will be held on the following evenings:

29 May: Publisher Abbys and Media Abbys

30 May: Design Abbys; Direct Abbys; Promo-Activation Abbys; PR Abbys; Outdoor Abbys; Print Craft Abbys; Branded Content Abbys; Broadcaster Abbys.

31 May: Interactive Digital Abbys; Radio Abbys; Print Abbys; TV Abbys; Integrated Abbys.

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