I recall reading in an article many moons ago in which Amitabh Bachchan was quoted saying how hard the business of cinema had to struggle to be given recognition as an ‘industry’, the entertainment industry. Now of course there is no looking back. Almost all of the world not only knows that but it is also one of the most visible products of India.
We the advertising industry have not had that struggle, I think. Ours is a unique segment where disproportionate amount of hard work co-exists with an equal amount of fun. And to celebrate that we have our awards, our events and the mother of them all, the Goafest. While, everyone outside our business thinks very often that ‘Ah those adfolks , they have this big party in Goa’, I ask why not? Yes, we award our own work, yes we celebrate our industry, and yes we certainly party too but it is well earned. We, like every other industry have the right to do so. And feel both pride and happiness in doing the same. I still remember the first time I went for the Abbys (‘95). That big chant, of the big agency. I recall how at an AAAI award event, a dress code-defying then creative head went up on stage and took on someone’s condescending comments head on. Fabulous goose bump moments. And of course the big thrill of going up on stage as an Account Management cub as your so called ‘non-creative’ global brand wins too many metals to remember. Made being in advertising so worth it.
Goafest 2015 marks almost two decades of me being in the business and living the cliche of ‘loving what I do’. I felt it was a very well put together show. I spoke with all the kids of my offices on their perspective. They were happy to be there not just for the booze and fun. Most of them had paid half the cost but it gave them a sense of how big the industry is, to actually see most folks whose mug shots they see in magazines like yours, international speakers, and most importantly the work. As I told a big honcho at the festival, it had the generosity of a big fat destination wedding.
And that is when another thought runs in the mind.Yes, 2015 Goafest, full of young enthusiasts, the seasoned seniors. But what about all those who do not make it there? The cynics, the dropouts, the non participating agencies. And I think of all the young folks who work with them. Just because you have had your spot in the sun (and how!), is it fair to not let the young ones be there? With the overdose of all things social media they must be inundated with all that they miss out. Such a waste. We are a small industry with unrealistic egos. And so many young people’s work goes unappreciated at an industry forum. Perhaps, going forward as more and more new people take new roles of reshaping agencies, we will see a more a revival of all agencies participating?
Hopefully. Some time soon.
For unlike others ,we were always an industry .The advertising industry. Not just the play field for a few divas.
Shavon Barua is president – South and West, Havas Worldwide
Views expressed are personal.
(This appeared in the 17 April issue of Campaign India)