Goa: Goafesr 2015 started at the Grand Hyatt in Banbolim yesterday with omissions such as the absence of ad agencies like O&M, McCann Erickson and Lowe that made the event smaller for the advertisers. However, on the other side with the addition of creative agencies, media agencies, digital agencies, broadcasters, publications, PR etc…, the event looked larger than the previous years in overall perspective.
Ten years ago, Goafest started with the vision of becoming one of the largest advertising festivals in the Asia-Pacific region and had plans of eventually including agencies from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. But over the decade, the festival had to shift its focus from advertising to communications simply to survive.
Agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, McCann Erickson and Lowe discontinued their association with the festival. Many others followed suit. For the organisers, Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and Advertising Club of Bombay, scaling up the festival became a challenge. It was also hit by controversies over scam ads and plagiarism allegations.
“In the last two years, while the size of the festival has become smaller with around 2,000 people attending it, it is a cleaner festival now. We managed a scandal and controversy free festival last year and I am confident there won’t be any this year as well,” said one of the committee members, who didn’t want to be named. The current edition runs April 9th to 11th at the Grand Hyatt in Bambolim.
Pratap Bose, president of the Advertising Club of Bombay, is not willing to buy the idea that the festival has become smaller. “The total number of entries has gone up from 2,400 to 3,400, so I couldn’t care less about the agencies who are not participating,” he said. Participants this year include “creative agencies, media agencies, digital agencies, broadcasters, publications, PR and so on.”
The idea of an original Indian festival is a great one, said Prasoon Joshi, chairman, Asia Pacific and CEO of McCann Worldgroup India. However, “no one ever articulated the essence of Goafest. And eventually with minor differences and controversies, stakeholders stopped taking the festival seriously including media.”
He added: “I feel Goafest is a work in progress and it has the potential to become a great festival. It definitely requires changes which should be raised and debated in a much larger platform.”
Design magazine Kyoorius launched the prestigious D&AD creative awards in India in 2014. This year the awards will be preceded by two-day creative festival called Melt, which will be jointly organised by Kyoorius, Zee Group and GroupM.
“Melt will be supported by WPP in a big way and eventually there will be pressure on us to participate in either Melt or Goafest as it boils down to entry fees and delegate fees. As Melt is backed by D&AD, there will be pressure to participate in just that, unless Goafest turns around and help us convince our network offices that it is a critical festival that we need to participate,” said an agency head who didn’t wish to be named.
Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG, and Ambi Parameswara, ED, FCB Ulka Advertising, said Goafest is a non-profit event. “We all have day jobs to save. Yet we want to organise this as 50% of our participants are under the age group of 30 years. We want them to come here, have a good time and get inspired,” Parameswaran said.