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Goafest: Of Then and Now

Goafest: Of Then and Now

Leo Burnett chairman and CEO, India sub-continent and Goafest Committee chairman



By ARVIND SHARMA

(11 february 2012)

I was fortunate enough to be the Chairman of the Goafest Committee in the founding year- 2006. We envisioned it as a platform for celebrating Indian advertising creativity and for the Indian advertising talent- young and not so young- to rub shoulders with the best in the world, exchange ideas, grow and become the best in the world.

We wanted to make the festival accessible to youngsters and to that end we put together a special package for under-30’s. We were immensely pleased on the launch day of Goafest when we found that more than 800 delegates had chosen to travel and attend the festival. There were people who had already registered and many more who had just turned up at the venue to register and be a part of the event.

Over the last six years, the quality of the event has been improving each year from the event organisation point of view. 2008 was a significant year. Ad Club Bombay came on board and Abbies at Goafest became the definitive awards of the industry. Last year, International Advertising Association used Goafest as a platform for launching the Olive Crown Awards. Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) used it to reach out to the industry to spread its self-regulation message wider. In that sense Goafest has evolved into an industry event, finding relevance amongst every person who is involved in advertising.

Learning is a continuous process. There were occassions when Goafest was criticised for the way it ran the vital Award shows. And there were others where delegates expressed a desire for better speakers and seminars. What is important, though, is that we learnt quickly and made the next year better. And that we succeeded in staying true to the original vision of Goafest - celebrating advertising creativity and providing a platform for the advertising industry to get together and exchange ideas about our creative business.

Goafest 2011 was by far the biggest and most successful year yet with nearly 3000 delegates, 80 sessions and discussions held over a period of five days. The Conclave saw participation of over 250 senior marketing and advertising practitioners from across the country. On the awards front, there was tremendous participation from over 140 organisations with over 4000 entries.

This year while staying true to the Goafest vision, we plan to focus on ‘The Magic of Ideas’. What we do in our business is really magical. It takes serious investments, meticulous planning and complex operations for clients to put out their products and services to consumers. Sometimes consumers embrace them and sometimes they ignore them. Often the difference is in the power of ideas they use to connect with the consumers. Some ideas succeed magically. They can come from anywhere. It is important to recognise them, embrace them and celebrate them.

This year Goafest has opened its doors to all its South Asian neighbours including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. The response that we have received has been extremely enthusiastic and it presents a great opportunity for the entire South Asian marketing and advertising fraternity to exchange ideas, perspectives and experiences for our greater collective progress.

Another exciting aspect is the strong client participation that we are expecting this year. It is our strong belief that for clients to pick the best creative solutions for their marketing challenges, they have to be deeply engaged with the phenomena called creativity. We believe that Goafest 2012 will provide a great platform for the advertising and marketing fraternity to come together. The Goafest Committee is also looking forward to young client delegates in large numbers by offering a special package for under-30 marketers.

Goafest has also taken a conscious step to acknowledge what’s over the horizon. And all of us know what is over the horizon- a far more diverse media environment. The rate at which new media are catching up with the traditional ones poses interesting new challenges. This year we will be awarding nine Grand Prix. There will be Grand Prix for Out-of-home & Ambient, Design, Interactive Digital, Direct and Media. These are in addition to TV &Film, Radio and Integrated Advertising. We believe that this step of extending the Grand Prix to wider number of categories will encourage many more specialist agencies to come forward with their work.

The theme for the Conclave this year is ‘Ideas for impacting the full circle’. The ultimate objective of this conclave will be to help gear up the industry for opportunities that lie ahead. We are expecting participation of global leaders from marketing as well as the major communication groups.

I look forward to seeing you there on April 20th and 21st at the Zuri White Sands. Goa here we come!

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