Chitra Narayanan

Half-a-dozen new tricks at GoaFest

Chitra Narayanan | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on April 06, 2017

Ramesh Narayan

Viv Richards

Ashish Bhasin

The annual gala gets under way



It’s the 12th edition of the home-grown festival that celebrates creativity. As the ad fraternity schmoozes in the sun and sands of Goa, cat.a.lyst gets behind the scenes with chief organisers Ramesh Narayan, Chairman, Goafest 2017 Awards Governing Council, and Ashish Bhasin, Chairman, Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, for their six picks on what’s unique this time around.

Beating D-day blues: It was on November 8 that GoaFest kicked off its sponsorship drive for this edition, not exactly the most auspicious day to start considering the Prime Minister’s announcement that evening. Though it led to anxiety and panic, the dust seems to have settled. Says Ashish Bhasin. “We have got massive sponsor response. It is the highest ever, in fact” he says. Apart from the usual media networks throwing their weight behind the event, a lot of digital players too are now supporting the event.

Entry records: This time round the Abbys have got over 4,500 entries, the maximum ever. This makes it the largest ad festival in Asia, ahead of events in Singapore and Thailand. Yes, there are the usual boycotters, but as Bhasin points out, even those agencies are represented in some form or other at the event. As for the delegates, this may well be the year the Grand Hyatt at Bambolim will have to put up the house full board. “We are pushing the boundaries of physical infrastructure constraints to host the event,” says Bhasin.

From Me to You: Usually the Abbys celebrate the work of ad agencies; this time the clients get their share of fame. We are honouringclients who have backed good ideas and helped create great advertising. These are called Champions of Excellence,” says Narayan,.

Digital first: It’s digital overshadowing everything else. The Digital category has attracted the largest number of entries this time –over 600. For the first time there is a separate category of awards for mobile. “It’s an acceptance of the new reality,” says Ramesh Narayan. The event’s app, website, and social media have taken on lives of their own with nearly one lakh interactions on Facebook alone. Fountainhead is the digital team behind the event.

Havas scores: Communication as a force for good is a new idea this time with the Advertising Club and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) seeding the idea of funding a multimedia campaign aimed at mitigating gender violence. A contest was created, 75 entries received and a team from Havas – Shilpa Chaudhary and Ayushi Rastogi from their New Delhi branch – has bagged the prize! “We thought there is no other industry that has the kind of creative resources we have, nor the media, so let’s put it to use, said Narayan.

Going green: If this is the first year of going good, then it’s also the first year of going green. Over 3,000 people will no doubt consume a lot of water, create a mess. Supported by National Geographic, there are huge campaigns aimed at delegates to be environment-friendly. The event’s schedule is printed on recycled paper.

Finally, the event is also as much about awards as about its knowledge seminars. This year the speakers have been drawn from a crowdsourced list of suggestions. From Viv Richards to Sanjay Dutt to the Phogat sisters, a host of celebrity speakers are lined up, but going by past events when an army officer speaking on team work and two young boys speaking on app events brought the house down, it may well be an unsung person who steals the show.

Published on April 06, 2017
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