Since the mood of Goafest is about people coming together, we’ve kept the agenda light: Jaideep Gandhi

Anupriya Acharya and Gandhi speak about their plans for this year’s Goafest, to be held from 5-7 May 2022

Apr 22, 2022 04:23:00 AM | Article | Eularie Saldanha

Among the many firsts post the pandemic is South Asia’s biggest festival celebrating adland. 
 
Goafest, which is in its 15th year, was called off for two years, owing to the pandemic.
 
However, adland is ready to party with its closest folks at this year’s Goafest, to be held from 5-7 May 2022. 
 
For an industry that’s all about the brouhaha and celebration of togetherness, the lack of action in 2020 and 2021 has called for a huge comeback. We caught up with Anupriya Acharya, president, Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and Jaideep Gandhi, chairman, Goafest 2022 organising committee, to ask them about their plans for the upcoming shindig. 
 
When asked how excited they were, the duo rated themselves with a 15, on a scale of 1-10. 
 
Edited excerpts: 
 
What's going to be different at Goafest this year? 
 
Anupriya Acharya (AC):  We definitely wanted it to be a celebration, since we, as an industry, have gone through the pandemic bravely with the sort of continuity of work we’ve done. We had a lot of fun planning for it as well. We are looking to reinvent it in some parts, especially on the digital side, because of the kind of acceleration it has gone through in the pandemic. There are a lot of people in the industry who’ve not known Goafest and so we want to increase the relevance and inclusivity of the festival. We will have a lot of fresh things. We’re doing a digital presentation of the awards work this year because everybody talks about going green and we felt that we too should demonstrate it in a recognisable manner. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a huge success. We’re also bringing in more mainstream work into the event so that each gets more coverage across functions and specialisations. We realise that there are a lot of specialisations as we’re moving ahead. We’re also looking at unveiling the new AAAI logo. 
 
Jaideep Gandhi (JG):  The overall vibe is about happiness, coming together and celebration. That’s what we’ve kept in mind in terms of the mood. We’re also going to have the inclusion of podcasts as a medium, with seminars and talks on the podcast concept, since we’ve never done this before. We’re also celebrating Goafest’s 15th anniversary. We started in 2006 and are so happy to still see it growing. 
 
In terms of delegate registrations, what's the number so far and how does that compare to 2019?
 
JG: The enquires are very good currently and 150 companies have already registered. The delegates will start falling in place, once the shortlisted entries are also announced. But I can see that it’s going to be a great year. 
 
In years gone by, there's been an emphasis on speakers from the entertainment and sports industry. Will this year follow a similar pattern or will we see more speakers from adland?
 
JG: The learning is going to happen during the masterclasses, where we have speakers coming from Meta, Snapchat, ShareChat and Amex. In terms of sessions, we have a mix of speakers from different boxes of industries, including sports, Bollywood and politics. In terms of trends, we’re getting into more OTT and influencer sessions. We have around 22-26 speakers in the ballroom, with six workshops happening outside the ballroom and it’s going to be a mix of inspiration and knowledge. That’s how we’ve divided the content. Since the mood of the festival is about people coming together, we’ve kept it light. In terms of knowledge, we have speakers from other areas of life and not just ones talking about our own industry. Advertising embraces music, Bollywood, photography, and filming. We cannot just skip them and have just our digital and social media speakers. 
 
AC: We’ve also brought in health and wellness since that’s been an area of focus. 
 
Among the promotions was the 'jugnu dance'. What was the thinking behind and anything similar being lined up?
 
 
 
AC: This was the idea that the agency came up with and we thought it was grand until we realised that we only had to execute it. We had to get people to get up and do all of the dancing for the video and we are quite a shy bunch. We didn’t want too much of the audience to see us, but we managed to get there. More importantly, the editing was done really well and we can say that Rohit (Ohri) acted quite well. Doing the video is the kind of limelight we’re not used to. I can say that at least for Jaideep and for myself. We’re not social media people, so it was stepping out of our comfort zone, something we keep preaching to people all the time. It was a good test of what we preach. I hope the video inspired others as well and we hope to continue doing similar stuff. 
 
The Covid numbers are rising again in a few states. What safety protocols will be followed?
 
JG: The registrations will ask for double vaccination certificates. At the venue, there’s going to be a thorough check following all the protocols and we’ll adhere to the government guidelines. As of now, there are no guidelines for Goa, but we’ll follow whatever comes.