L&K Saatchi & Saatchi chief Praveen Kenneth called me a couple of weeks after I moved to Dubai, and said I wouldn’t last three months there. I lasted just over 183 days, but I’m certainly glad to be back where I belong, a tad wiser with the short international exposure.
I couldn’t have picked a better time to return to India, I think. I landed up a week ahead of the action at Goafest 2015. After three days of doing what we have done year on year – which is, covering the country’s ad festival, and the only national fest I know of run by industry bodies – we returned to Mumbai weary, but satisfied.
We were welcomed with details of all that is wrong with Goafest, why Campaign India should not give it the prominence it does, and how we are playing to a ‘South Indian lobby’. Things have turned ugly and personal. It’s not as much about what needs to be changed at Goafest as it is about who needs to go in the view of some. I am compelled to clarify, because as they say silence, when it replaces the truth, is a lie. Silence, in this case, would corroborate some myths.
The job of a trade publication, I have been told, is to point out what is wrong with the industry, among other things. I agree. But I will also add that our job is to take a stand on what we think would be in the interest of the industry. And that in our view, is an industry, that is mature enough to celebrate its best work together.
If there are differences and if they are articulated, we have no reservation whatsoever in publishing it. When Sajan Raj Kurup from Creativeland Asia quit the Goafest jury in a huff, one might recall that we published his perspective in his own words. He is entitled to his views, we said, and we let him air them in this very page two years ago. Oh, but he is ‘South Indian’ too. So some might say that’s why we allowed him the space.
The Creative Abbys have certainly lost the status of being the premier creative awards festival, a position that is quite clearly being targeted now. Given how professionally Kyoorius Designyatra has been run over the years, and with curation by GroupM and ZEEL, participation from Ogilvy and several others who did not enter Goafest, I am certain that Melt 2015 will do well. And yes, if invited, Campaign India will cover any credible award show or festival that the industry embraces.
In the context of Goafest, we cover it also for another reason. As long as it is an initiative by the AAAI or the Ad Club, run by Indians from any part of the country, I believe it is our duty to cover it. We exist because of the industry.
How could we possibly support a series of IAA Debates when we shared profits for organising them, and ignore its initiatives when we don’t?
Can someone who is distraught with Abbys at Goafest please calmly enlist what needs to change? If they were interested in the festival getting back its mojo, one would think that by now they would have contributed positively to shaping it.
If it is the people running it who need to be changed in someone’s view, for whatever reason, the unhappy ones should say so in as many words and reason why. Some of those people running our industry bodies are senior statesmen who will gladly step aside to let others do the job, if they know that the new leaders will do a better job.
Campaign India will remain equidistant from stakeholders, while it takes a stand. And that stand is, without the slightest of doubt, support for what we believe will benefit the industry.
Gokul Krishnamoorthy, managing editor, Campaign India
(This appeared in the 17 April issue of Campaign India)