Waltzing into Grand Hyatt, I was all ready to step into the Goa state of mind. The lazy summer afternoon, a delightful tender coconut where the water was fermented enough to give that welcome kick, nice salty breeze ruffling my hair with a soft touch.
And then I stepped into the glittering frenzied world of advertising. Buzzing registration counters and excited faces, all looking forward to the three days of togetherness amidst great content, great entertainment, amazing food, and the continuous flow of beer.
Welcome to Goafest 2023!
I was greeted by a vibrant array of colors and an unexplainable burst of energy with people moving between the sessions, the masterclasses, the experience zones, and the lawns. A rush of adrenaline in my veins, I stepped into the fest promising to myself to soak in both the wisdom being shared and the ideas of the future that the young lot discussed endlessly in groups.
Goafest 2023 offered a wide range of discussions and masterclasses, but what stood out for me were the sessions on creativity by Nick Law of Accenture Song and Ed Pank of WARC, the Voice of Change panel and the amazing ‘Advertising Rocks’ segment. And the sessions in the corridors, smoking areas, lunchrooms, and lawns where some great ideas were getting knitted for the future.
Ed Pank, in his simple narrative style, demonstrated the power of insight-based creativity. The idea is to integrate consumer insights along with culture and then create that experience that cuts across the clutter and lands strongly to deliver outcomes. I loved the Oyo Rooms example he shared, where an insight merged with cultural affinities generated an entirely new business proposition and we know the rest of the story. He proved that creativity is an expression as well as an experience of joy and fun and excitement and can be done best by paying a little attention.
Nick’s session was about ungeeking the intersection of technology, amazing creatives and storytelling. He shared effective and efficient principles to follow to get the best delivered. His simple example of the Nike ipod integration of data in a creative way stayed with me. It was a complex series delivered creatively and in a way that it is understood by simply seeing it. It captured the one homogeneous way that a message delivers to all kinds of mindsets and does it so simply and beautifully.
The IAA Voice of Change is a movement whose impact will be felt for decades. And I believe it’s the responsibility of the industry to speak about this at every event in the country. This was the one session that brought accountability to the forefront. And I believe there should be an Abby in the future years to map the change. It’s also my chance (and everyone’s) to ask what am I doing to influence this change at home, at work and in society at large. I applaud the initiative.
‘Advertising Rocks’ was a celebration of people. Celebration of life. It was about rejoicing in the passion that each of these participants indulged in and sharing that with the soaking crowd, open for all and hungry for more. This is one part that will bring me back for sure. And one that will have individuals and teams planning through the year. Goafest – Continued Joy!
What I missed was deeper digital discussions and possibly even some evidence of deeper understanding of the space. For people all digital like me, the sessions needed to be more. Other than the masterclass by Sam (Balsara), the others were more of a pitch than knowledge, really. Marketing transformation is at an advanced stage and maybe content and crowd that points to that is a gap I am hoping to see filled.
I think mentioning the awards is stating the obvious. It’s why the heart thumps and the crowd roars. And it’s why the entire Goafest team works relentlessly through the year to deliver joy and guaranteed fun.
Goafest still remains for me a state of mind extended, a yardstick against which every other event falls short, even if by a bit. And from here on it can only be more. Its biggest challenge will remain continuing to meet expectations and to exceed them each year. A challenge they have never failed!
Kudos to The AD Club and AAAI!
(The author is Founder, The Salt Inc.)
(First published by The Free Press Journal BrandSutra. Content powered by MediaNews4u.com. Feedback: [email protected])