Goafest 2011 couldn't have asked for a better start. The euphoria of the Indian team lifting the cricket World Cup 2011 lingers as we head into the biggest carnival of Indian advertising. As many acknowledge, a deserved annual getaway for an industry sidelined by the big bucks in more ways than one, despite it fuelling the big bucks — read consumption.

Gimme Green!

Each year, the festival promises a mix of partying by the beach, catching up with old friends, intellectually stimulating seminars, and the celebration of creativity in advertising in the form of awards. This year is no different. Only, there is an added feather in the form of the Olive Crown Awards, to recognise and reward work in the area of ‘green' advertising, being announced at Goafest. In addition, there is an Olive Crown Green Hungama contest, inviting ad films on the green theme, with prizes worth Rs 1 lakh and a bigger incentive on a national release of the film.

Speaking to BrandLine , Kaushik Roy, President, IAA India Chapter, said, “The response has been encouraging, and we are thankful for the platform to award the Olive Crowns alongside the Abbys at Goafest.”

The Goafest, integrating as it does the organisers Advertising Agencies' Association of India (AAAI), the award property major Ad Club Bombay, and organisations such as the IAA, manages to bring together the best in the business to ensure that the best in the world are around for the conclave.

The Best an Ad Man Can Get

This year, the event will open with Srinivasan Swamy, Chairman, Goafest Advertising Conclave, 2011, laying the ground for two advertisers — Rajiv Dube, Director, Group Corporate Services and Director, Aditya Birla Management Corporation Pvt Ltd, and Mayank Pareek, Managing Executive Officer, Maruti Udyog — to air thoughts on an industry that drives theirs, in its own way.

The advertising industry also wants to know what it can learn from other service industries. Chaired by Nagesh Alai, President, AAAI (and CFO, Draftfcb+Ulka), the session will feature Farokh Balsara, Partner and National Leader, Media & Entertainment, Ernst & Young; Sanjay Behl, CEO, DTH and IPTV and President, Brand & Marketing at Reliance, ADAG; and Arun Tadanki, CEO, Yahoo! India.

The industry is also looking forward to a session where IMRB is to reveal findings from a study based on interviews with industry leaders, on how advertising agencies have organised themselves for the new decade. A lot of expectations are on session chair Colvyn Harris, CEO of JWT.

The Goafest is also set to discuss the upside in the profession. Chaired by Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison World; Arvind Sharma, Chairman and CEO, Leo Burnett; and Ashish Bhasin, Chairman, Carat Media Services, will enlighten the audience before Lynn de Souza, of Lintas Media Group, and Chairperson Goafest Committee, packs up an action-packed Day One.

All About Awards, Honey! Or is it?

Chairing the Radio advertising awards like he has for a few years now is Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India. Speaking to BrandLine , he admitted his agency is lining up entries for Cannes, and has abstained from entering Goafest.

He said, “A lot of our work has been in the integrated and related genres. We find that the categories at Cannes are a little more amenable to that kind of work. Yes, there is an integrated category here at Goafest, but that is just one category. On the overall entries in the radio category, I think there is an abundance of interesting work.”

That Goafest means different things to different people is evident from the radically different response of Chennai-based hot shop 1pointsize.

“None of us are going to be there but we have sent five entries. We have one that has been shortlisted — Aura Car Wash in Ambient advertising. We're hoping to win a Gold for it,” said Sharad Haksar, CEO, 1pointsize.

For an industry that laments lack of commensurate revenues, losing talent to the client side and to other creative professions, among other things, the need for fostering positivity around events such as Goafest is paramount. Some argue that there is a need to take forward conversations from Goafest.

“What is discussed at Goafest ends in Goa. What happens to the other 360 days of the year?” wonders Anant Rangaswami, former ad man and Editor, Campaign India , while acknowledging that he would be there.

Hate it. Love it. But you can't miss it if you are in the mesmerising world of advertising, or thereabouts.