May 2023; National: Goafest 2023, South Asia’s most definitive advertising, media, and marketing festival makes a grand return to celebrate excellence and discuss the future of creativity. Co-hosted by The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and The Advertising Club (TAC), in the presence of internationally acclaimed speakers and industry stalwarts, the festival kick-started with a dynamic musical performance by Kanika Kapoor, leaving the crowd clamouring for more. Subsequently, the ceremonial lamp was lit by the members of the organising committee. Prasanth Kumar, President, of the Advertising Agencies Association of India and CEO, of South Asia, GroupM addressed everyone, marking the festival’s 16th edition. The festival also signifies the second year of association of The ABBY Awards with The One Show. With an underlying theme of ‘The Future of Creativity is Here’, delegates at Goafest 2023 were welcomed with a champagne launch!
The sessions, thereafter, commenced with News18 Network presenting, ‘Future of Creativity’ moderated by Rohit Ohri Chairman & CEO – of FCB Ulka with panellists, including Anusha Shetty – Chairperson & Group CEO – of Grey Group India, Josy Paul – Chairman & Group CCO – BBDO, T Gangadhar, Co-Founder and Group CEO Quotient Ventures, and Dheeraj Sinha – CEO & Chairman – Leo Burnett & BBH. Firstly, the session focused on the future of creativity, which lies in the seamless integration of technology, empowering individuals to explore new horizons and redefine traditional boundaries, ultimately revolutionising the way we express, communicate, and experience. Gangadhar made a very interesting note about technology and our place wherein creativity is involved, “It’s not man v/s machine, it is a man with machine. You need technology to run your data but you need a human mind to add value to it.” Dheeraj on the other hand stated, “We believe that this is the best time to be in the business. Today, you have such a huge palette to play around with v/s images and copy that could be played around with back in the day. Creativity is the power to solve problems, which we have done, but now, imagine adding data and technology to it! The possibility is limitless!”
Secondly, the panel also discussed the importance of hiring capable talent that will only raise the bar of creation. To this end, Dheeraj rightly mentioned, “There is no future for business if there is no future for this talent.” More importantly, Anusha highlighted an opportunity, stating “With every change we witness, finding talent to embrace new changes, is getting more complex.” Josy made a statement regarding talents and searching for the right fit for an agency, saying, “A talent should be a combination of a visionary, missionary, and an artist!”
Finally, Rohit also probed questions on the structure that organisations need to put in place to enable creativity. The panels gave informative insights regarding the structure requirements of an organisation and the need to rework the idea of hierarchy.
After this insightful knowledge session, we were introduced to yet another interesting one, titled ‘Brand Love Suffering At The Altar Of Short Term Sale’ presented under Industry Conclave powered by ABP News & Zee TV. The moderator of this session was none other than Anuradha SenGupta, Independent Journalist, and the panellists included Hemant Malik – Divisional Chief Executive – of ITC’s Foods Business & Member of Corporate Management Committee of ITC Ltd, Rohit Kapoor – Chief Executive Officer – Swiggy, Prabha Narasimhan – MD & CEO – Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd. The session emphasised the importance of brand love as it creates strong emotional bonds with the audiences, driving customer loyalty, advocacy, and higher engagement, resulting in sustained business growth and a competitive edge in the market. The panellists also discussed the technological advances that have taken place over the last few years and the cyclical impact it has on the audience and in turn, the brand and love for it. Having said that, there was an agreement that the fundamentals of brand love largely stay the same.
Hemant, in answer to Anuradha, said, “It’s a great time for marketers, today! We are all enabled because we are able to make decisions with utmost clarity. However, while data helps you, it also makes you vulnerable.” Rohit, with regards to the synergy between teams and departments at the brand’s end, said, “CEO and creatives have too much distance between them. This needs to be corrected.”
The session ended with Anuradha asking each panellist about their expectations from agencies. Each one unanimously agreed that they need to keep learning from and being challenged by the agencies.
Converting the learnings into dividends, from the first year of the association, with The One Show, The Advertising Club has once again collaborated with the global partner, taking the ABBY Awards to global standards of excellence and recognition. A total of 3,301 entries were received this year from 181 creative companies and 63 media agencies, as well as jury chairs, have shown immense enthusiasm towards the awards.
Partha Sinha, President of the Times of India Group and President of The Advertising Club, shared that the festival is witnessing the democratisation of creativity this year. He said, “Creativity is no longer in the hands of a select few; we are seeing the celebration of that sentiment with this edition of Goafest. So, you will hear a lot about the future of creativity overall. Since creativity is the reason we are in this business, we are celebrating it with full gusto. Overall, we are extremely happy with the response we have received with the number of entries this year; a whopping 3,301.”
Prasanth Kumar, President, of the Advertising Agencies Association of India and CEO, of South Asia, GroupM, said that the constant at the festival is to make it more interesting and progressive. He stated, “The future of creativity is here. We need to realise that this industry is a large ecosystem, which is why we also need that kind of representation. With Goafest, this year, we have done exactly that in terms of categories and an industry-wise representation, including entertainment and tech. We have more than 50 sponsors for Goafest, this year; we are deeply grateful towards their unflinching support and belief in us.”
Jaideep Gandhi, Chairman, Goafest 2023 Organising Committee, stated that there are more than 60 speakers and 11 masterclasses this year. “You must also note that all the masterclasses are absolutely packed! We’ve also had to request a couple of speakers to retake a class on Day 3. We are working on building a festival that is a central event for the entire industry, which is why we’re beginning with Advertising Rocks, an Industry Musical Contest on Day 3 of Goafest.”
Rana Barua, Group CEO, of Havas Group India & Chairman, The ABBYs Award Governing Council, said about the awards this year, “This time, and in future, we are committed to working our way to match and surpass our game in accordance with ABBY One Show. We are extremely proud that this is our second year of association with One Show. You all will witness our hard work and commitment towards ensuring the quality of awards and the diverse jury that adorn Goafest this year.”