Mumbai: The #GoaFest 2023, concluded on 26 May, this year the fest revolved around the "The Future of Creativity is Here". It delved into the latest technological advancements in the field of creativity, encompassing not only AI and ML but also the emerging ChatGPT. These innovations are pushing the limits of creativity, unlocking new possibilities and facilitating its integration between the physical and digital realms. The fest saw knowledge sessions and master classes by eminent speakers and discussions around the emerging trends in the world of advertising.
Indiantelevision.com spoke to The Advertising Club managing committee member & The ABBYs Award Governing Council co-chair Ajay Kakar, Havas Group India group CEO & The ABBYs Award Governing Council chairman Rana Barua, Advertising Agencies Association of India president and GroupM CEO South Asia - Prasanth Kumar, Goafest 2023 Organising Committee chairman - Jaideep Gandhi.
On the question of the thought of putting up Goafest when everybody felt that will it work, Kakkar said, “Yes that was the apprehension and there was a lot of scepticism, and a lot of people thought that it was the wrong time to test the waters, mainly because of COVID, and we didn’t know the after-effects or the resurface the spends the economy etc. Therefore, whether it is the quality of work, the quantity of work, the participation, or the sponsorship, we didn’t have anything. I must tell you that even after the green signal, we did get some amber signals that were being voiced around the saying, we're scared this is not going to work.”
He further added by saying,” As a first step we started with putting up the summit first. And today, if you're saying that you're very happy with what you've seen, I think it's an amazing foot forward. The quality of judges, the jury chair, the quality and quantity of participation, whether it's an agency or work, the participation of delegates, the quality and the quantity of the work that has been. I think we're all thrilled to bits because I believe that we have attained a gold standard, which started two years back with our partnership with the One Show, and we have continued with our partnership this year also. This year the partnerships we put together, the partners we put together, the Jury Chair, and the categories are more contemporary. I think we have reached a stage where new people coming in, some coming back, and some who had sworn off creative awards in India came back. It's the biggest endorsement.”
Kumar went on to elaborate on this, he said, “First was the continuity, secondly challenges and opportunities are there every year. ADEX is an issue with everyone, nobody has been left out. This is the place to discuss it and think about solutions. But I think there was also a great momentum. First of all, everybody came. Of course, I think the way Jaideep and Mohit worked on putting together the fest on an everyday basis and we saw people doing ownership. We also realised that my problem was also someone else's problem and then we had to find a way to make it sustainable and that happened. People activated themselves and took on us.”
On the question of why some agencies are still staying out of the ABBY Barua said, “How does the advertising ecosystem work? The point is that it's something which we keep saying that we are all in it together, we heard Prasun Joshi go on stage and say collaboration is the word. AAAI, IAA we are all working together, this year we also have the people from Seoul, you can see the variety and a common cause is one, to get the advertising mojo back which is the strength of this whole massive community which is under one place. Secondly, is that and get the respect back and our confidence. We want more clients and people to come back. Now in that case, if there is a particular agency, which wants to stay out, remember it's just not always about a point of view, it's also about the work. So there are agencies we know this year who have entered very few pieces of work because they believe that will work for them and it is not about the volume. Thirdly, I can see a lot of people have changed across all the agencies. And guess what, all of us are friends”.
“Some of the agencies which have not participated, their clients have chosen to participate in the ABBY this year which makes it interesting. If all other agencies are saying, One Show and the three international juries are saying but if they don’t want to see it, then it is their problem”, added Kakar.
On whether the stricter jury made it more stringent and how the fakes and scam ads were filtered, Kakkar said,” The ad club is creating an infrastructure. The infrastructure is supportive and conducive to the recognition of great work. Part of the infrastructure is the jury chairs, and part of the infrastructure is the jury and the audit. Now we are saying that you are in a position to decide the quantity and quality of work that is deserving. Is the work better? Is the jury more stringent? I would say it depends on case to case, the jury is coming with this standard looking at World's Best. If the work passes muster, great, if the work doesn't pass muster aspire next time. I think they're not being stringent, let’s be world-class was the brief rather than, let's get metal here. But otherwise, I think that's what we have seen consistently and that's why when you say that some go ahead and win at Cannes or One Show, it shows that it is world-class judging. World-class work is what we want to get recognised. We don't want India to compete against India, we want to see India take on the world”.
Kumar added to this by saying, “This year there were more metals given, there were more entries and more work shortlisted. There'll be multiple opinions and the jury will do the right thing. I don't know whether the feeling that it is difficult to get an award will arise even if we give 5000 awards. If we had done it, then it would have been a 4-hour-long award show, etc, etc. Last year we did not announce Bronze on stage, but that didn’t mean that if someone won a bronze his/her work was not significant. But we needed to change and it was for practical reasons. Recognition is very important. Great motivation, great recognition, and you'd like to see more great work and we are learning as we go along every year”.
On how the whole fest was structured whether it was getting sponsors, or entries, agencies which had sworn off ABBY, Gandhi said, “That's the respect for the festival, and it is growing YoY. It is no more sponsorship but partnerships and collaborations. you're discussing with our sponsor; our sponsors are now coming up with ideas on how they can participate in the fest”.