Mumbai: The countdown has begun for the annual advertising festival to be held in Goa between 5-7 May. After a long pause of two years, the GoaFest, now in its 15th year, is back ‘break ke baad’ post-pandemic and the organisers promise it will well be worth the wait, with several firsts to the event this year. IndianTelevision.com caught up with the festival’s hosts and organisers, Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) president Anupriya Acharya and GoaFest 2022 chairman Jaideep Gandhi to find out what has changed on ground this year and all that there is to look forward to at the event that celebrates the country’s advertising, marketing, and media industries.
The event has received record participation from sponsors, brands, agencies and the industry at large in terms of record registrations, entries and sponsorships. “We have already signed up close to 18 sponsors onboard. There are record levels of award entries as well, both due to the tie-up with The One Show, as well as, the fact that the festival is coming after two years,” Acharya shares.
On how the advertising landscape has evolved in the last couple of years and the several innovations that have been incorporated into the fest, Acharya says, “So, post pandemic there have been a lot of changes in the advertising space, alongside the emergence of new innovations. We have tried to embrace a lot of that- be it in the way the event is being curated, or be it in the mix of speaker sessions that we are having."
In a first, the festival will showcase a digital presentation of all the award work that is up for recognition, in a move towards a more greener initiative. In the past, the event used to have large print formats of the works on display. “This year we have departed from that format in the spirit of ‘Go Green’ and there will be a digital presentation (of the same).”
Speaking about the expectations from the fest this year, Acharya shares that with the return of normalcy it was important to celebrate everything that advertising stands for. “This festival is our flagship event and brings the whole industry together. One of the key things that’s coming out as the underlying theme for us this year is 'togetherness'. Everybody is just looking to meet each other and celebrating together after such a long time. Be it the recognition of the work that has happened in the last two years, or the celebration of the human spirit over the challenges that we all have been through during this period, and even the very differentiated way of working through the pandemic. So, the focus is on just the ‘stay alive’ spirit and the ‘togetherness’, for starters."
The fun video that was dropped online two weeks earlier as a launch pad for the festival has also helped create lots of ripples, she adds, smiling. The video showed the Adland honchos, including Madison World chairman Sam Balsara, Publicis Groupe South Asia CEO Anupriya Acharya, FCB Group India chairman and CEO Rohit Ohri, founder of Another Idea Jaideep Gandhi and Good Brands For A Healthy Life chairman Arvind Sharma, breaking into a jig to the tune of singer-rapper Badhshah’s "Jugnu" track to celebrate the event’s comeback.
About the stellar line-up of speakers and the other novelties in store at the festival this year, Jaideep Gandhi says, “On the speaker front, to make it more relevant and in keeping with the times, we have incorporated sessions with influencers this time. We are also having panel discussions on OTT.” Health & Wellness is also being plugged into the content of GoaFest’ 22, he added.
The three-day festival is expected to feature some well-known names from diverse fields of entertainment, sports, and politics such as SS Rajamouli, Anupam Kher, PV Sindhu, Mithali Raj, Tisca Chopra, Arvind Gupta, Kiran Bedi, and Jude Kelly among others as speakers.
In another first, the festival is also planning on doing a digital conclave for seminars, with meta set to play a big role in it, Gandhi discloses. The event will also have six to seven masterclasses happening parallelly.
This year the festival media coverage will be extended to podcasting, given that it’s another area which is developing very fast, the hosts added.
The event will also see the unveiling of the new AAAI logo- one of the few times that it has been changed in the 75 years of AAAI’s history. It is also possibly the first time the association has held a contest for choosing a new logo.
“We didn’t realise that it would generate so much excitement, we have got more than 150 entries at last count and we are spoilt for choice,” says Acharya. “We are very, very close to zeroing in on the final design for the logo."
A two-level jury is shortlisting the designs, while another set of juries will sift it further before settling on the new logo design, which will finally be revealed at the festival.
The criteria to make the final cut, Acharya shares, will be the ‘uniqueness’, ‘timelessness’ and ‘memorability’ of the design, together with how it connotes to where the industry is headed. The latter is, in fact, the chief reason for doing this exercise, she divulges. ‘Adaptability’ and ‘versatility’ across different platforms and media, including the metaverse, are the other binding factors the agency is looking out for.