Choice of speakers, scheduling of sessions, increased client participation, scam ads, getting abstaining agencies to enter Abbys, composition of the awards governing council (AGC) – these were among subjects discussed at a meeting hosted at the Advertising Agencies Association of India’s (AAAI) office in Mumbai on 15 December.
The agenda was the 2016 edition of Goafest, jointly organised by AAAI and The Advertising Club.
Organisers who met the trade media to invite suggestions included Nakul Chopra, chairman, Goafest organising committee 2016; Ramesh Narayan, chairman, awards governing council, Goafest 2016; Raj Nayak, president, The Advertising Club; and MG Parameswaran, president, AAAI. The men usually addressing the media were being addressed by journalists who write on advertising and media.
Nayak made the intent clear, when he said, “Goafest has come a long way and is now entering its 11th year. We are looking for closer coordination with the industry to make it more credible and get bigger and better participation."
Narayan reminded the gathering that Goafest and the Abbys were industry events, and outlined the purpose of the meeting. He added: “We are open to objective criticism, and we want to understand things."
Promises to keep
It was suggested that speakers be invited not just from advertising but also from various other streams, including young entrepreneurs. Members of the media cited speakers like Ashish Hemrajani of Bigtree Entertainment, who was at Goafest 2015, and the line-up at IAA Silver Jubilee Summit hosted in Kochi recently, as examples to emulate.
Nayak and Chopra affirmed that the intent was to present a varied and rich line-up at Goafest 2016. The issue of lack of attendance during some of the talks was also raised.
“We are looking for the best speakers. The intent is there and it's always a matter of pride to have good speakers and make the event successful. We'll hopefully have a good speaker list at Goafest next year," noted Nayak.
On the subject of agency participation, organisers clarified that the entry numbers had only gone up in recent years. Ceding that some of the top agencies were noticeable by their absence, Nayak added, "We are keen to have these agencies (Ogilvy, Lowe, McCann) and will be talking to Piyush (Pandey), (R) Balki and Prasoon (Joshi) to seek their participation. We'll listen to their concerns.”
He explained that every concern that could be addressed would indeed be addressed, and added: “But, we won't mend the rules to get them in. We can't sacrifice the participation of 250 other agencies for three agencies."
Parameswaran pointed out that non-participation of an agency could be by choice, and said: "It's a myth that all agencies participated in the Abbys when it was hosted in Bombay.” Even then, there were agencies that stayed away, he observed.
Nayak sounded another positive note when he concurred with a suggestion on increasing client participation at Goafest 2016. “You will see this year that there are more clients,” he assured the gathering.
On the awards governing council not featuring creative leaders, Chopra explained that they (creatives) constituted the jury, and that every creative award jury was chaired by a creative. The AGC did not interfere in any way with the judging or results, he added.
Nayak quipped, not entirely in jest: “If you get these three (Piyush, Balki and Prasoon) onto the AGC, we'll withdraw some colleagues of ours and put them there. We want this to be for the industry by the industry.”