With 2700 entries and 181 campaigns across 15 categories this year, Goafest 2019 has seen the responses go up dramatically. Shashi Sinha, Chairman of the Awards Governing Council, is all praise for the evolution of the festival and the digital game getting strong.
Agency Reporter: How according to you has Goafest evolved over the years?
Shashi Sinha: Goafest started in 2006 and almost every year, I have seen the festival reinvent the wheel. The idea was to create Asia’s largest advertising festival brand and Goafest has managed to achieve it. To my mind, there is no other festival after Cannes Lions which has achieved this size, scale and stature. From the very inception, it has been the industry’s bespoke platform to learn, inspire and grow and even after 14 years, it continues to uphold those ethos. Winning an ABBY has become the gold standard in terms of agency recognition as Goafest is the ultimate culmination of the best wok that our advertising, media and marketing has to offer.
AR: Undoubtedly, Goafest is the largest event in our industry. How do you think it benefits the small, mid and big agencies?
SS: Goafest is a celebration of creativity where size of an agency does not matter. Technology has completely changed the way we used to ideate and create campaigns. Ideas have become media agnostic and is definitely not confined to the domination of the so called big boys of advertising. Roles have reversed and anyone can create great content. And at Goafest, we celebrate just that. Therefore, it’s a great platform to learn, inspire and grow especially for the younger talent of the industry. And I would urge not just to the advertising agencies but also to the CMOs and media companies chiefs to send their young delegation to the festival. There is no other festival like Goafest which offers such deep insight and foresight into where the industry is headed.
AR: What does Goafest have for the young and fresh blood in the industry?
SS: Goafest germinated from the idea of inspiring the younger lot and creating the next generation of leaders. Right from the registration fee, to the knowledge seminars, speakers, the design and packaging of the 3-day festival is done keeping the younger generation in mind. Our endeavor is to create the most fun and comprehensive advertising festival for the next generation of the industry.
AR: How Goafest has emerges as a strong knowledge platform?
SS: Like I said, the idea of Goafest is to learn, inspire and grow. Therefore, the knowledge seminars is the heart of the festival. In the initial years, the festival was more advertising and marketing focused. But over the years, the knowledge seminars have become inclusive and we have speakers from all walks of life. Like I said, creativity is not confined to a limited few anymore and therefore, every year the Goafest committee scouts for a mixed bag of speakers who can come and inspire us with their stories. To my mind, there is no other knowledge platform like Goafest which has such a broad spectrum of leaders sharing their experience and vision. So it’s a big loss for people who are still on the fences.
AR: What kind of opportunity does Goafest offer to the entire M&A fraternity?
SS: To showcase their work and get recognised. To discover hidden gems and newer talents. Get an insight into best work and get inspired.
AR: How are you driving inclusivity between publishers, marketers and agencies?
SS: We have opened up the awards to everyone as it has been our endeavor to be more inclusive. The addition of publisher, broadcaster, branded content, brand activation and promotion, PR and other sub categories has made the festival more wholesome and richer.
AR: How do you decide upon the panels of Goafest? What parameters are kept in mind?
SS: We have always approached and fortunately got the top minds of the advertising and marketing fraternity to be part of the jury. We have always believed that awards are as credible as the jury. Hence, we have curated a master jury comprising the best creative minds and thought leaders from the industry. Each of them are icons in their area of work.
AR: What do you think are the absentees missing out on?
SS: We got 2700 entries this year with a large number of entries from smaller agencies and from companies which I have never heard of. We shortlisted 181 campaign across 15 categories and the final jury meet happened on March 1st. At the end of it, the jury was really moved to see the quality of work despite so many big agency names missing from the festival. So, I would say that on one hand all the agencies who decided to sit down missed the opportunity to showcase their work. And if they don’t attend the festival, they will miss out watching some astounding work.
AR: What are your expectations from Goafest 2019?
SS: We received an overwhelming number of entries for both media and creative Abbys and we have seen some path breaking work. Nakul and Jaideep have been instrumental in putting together an illustrious line up of speakers. We are looking forward to welcome and get inspired from Virender Sehwag, Pankaj Tripathi, Kalki Koechlin and Siddhant Chaturvedi. We will also have global advertising maven Gordon Bowen and boxing legend Mary Kom, creative genius Madonna Badger and authors Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu, and several other stellar speakers. So it’s going to be an action-packed 3 days at Goafest.