GoaFest 2010

Written by Pritha Mitra Dasgupta | Updated: Mar 16 2010, 06:01am hrs
Goafest has had its supporters and its detractors. BrandWagon talks to Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT, who is also the chairman of Goafest. Also, the views of two agency heads Mahesh Chauhan of Rediffusion Y&R which has been a regular participant at the award shows and Charles Cadell of Lowe Lintas India which has preferred not to enter its work for the awards. Edited excerpts:

FACE OFF Colvyn Harris, Chairman, Goafest

We want to stay away from tallying the metals Whats new and different this year

Firstly, thematically its different. We are going to evaluate what we are calling survival of the freshest. We are expecting the number of entries as well as delegates to go up considerably this year. We have some excellent international speakers who will be moderating seminars. Then we have the two award shows.

Do you plan to invite international entries for the awards

I am not ruling out the possibility. Maybe, in future, that will happen.

But our primary mandate was to establish Goafest as a property. We wanted to acknowledge advertising work that has been done within the country.

How do you plan to bring those agencies who have kept away

The issue is a non-issue in my mind. If an agency says it doesnt have good work, that becomes the main reason why it does not want to enter. And we should be fine with it. If you look at Cannes Lions, many agencies dont enter. However, whats happens is the people in those agencies dont get to benchmark their work. They dont get the recognition. They dont create the positive competitive energy.

Lowe Lintas is not participating because of scam ads. Your comments.

You know, we evaluate scam on one parameter. It should be released. It should carry a letter from the client. As long as agencies fulfill the criteria, it is not scam. It is an age-old debate. We do not encourage it. We do not wish that scam work is entered.

Do you plan to include the agency of the year award anytime soon

We start the process every year by inviting the heads of the agencies to debate that. Everybody has reached the conclusion that the attempt should be to recognize great work done by individuals. So we consciously want to stay away from tallying the metals.


If only Goafest could be a device to unite the industry

How important is Goafest in Rediffusions yearly agenda and why

Its the only creative awards that we have in the whole year. And it happens in Goa which is also a good thing. From that point of view its a nice time for everyone to come together like one big family and reach out to the industry. We spend a lot of effort on Goafest every year.

What are your plans this year How many entries and participants are you planning to send this year

Last year we had sent around 150 people and this year also we will send a fairly large contingent. Its early days to talk about the entries but we will send a fair number of entries and currently we are putting together a list.

Unlike other agencies we do not do award friendly work (quips). Some of the campaigns that we plan to send are Sleepwell, Airtel, Kingfisher, Nano and others.

There are some issues that surface every year at the Goafest like scam ads, controversy around creative Abbys, etc. Whats your take on all this

Our stand is very clear. We do not have clients who do not exist otherwisewho come into the agency only for blind school, night school, or condom ads.

Secondly, we do work for our existing clients. We dont send work to clients saying please approve this so that we can win some awards. That is our definition of scam and I am not saying this is the industry definition of scam.

What is the significance of a festival like Goafest in todays day and age and what does it stand for

It stands for both learning and recreation. It stands for fun and party which we do in abundance and it also helps us benchmark ourselves. So we will have our own shack this year as well!

If given a chance what is that one thing that you would like to change about /add in Goafest

There are two things. First, I think one way or the other they should find a way to resolve this issue regarding scam ads. If it is really a celebration of creativity then let it be just that. Effies is doing a great job of celebrating effectiveness and celebrating client-agency partnership. So if Goafest is for creativity then it should not matter if the work is for client or not. But there should be transparency.

And second, if Goafest could be a device to unite the industry because we are clearly divided.

What will be your message to all those agencies that prefer to stay away from the festival

Thats exactly what I said that we are not united. Fortunately there is a movement towards uniting the industry. Effies has been active in doing so. If you look at the difference between Effies and Goafest, the formers clarity has ensured that everybody is there. There is nobody who says by the way I am boycotting Effies. So what is it that Goafest can do to reach that stage

FACE OFF Charles Cadell, CEO, Lowe Lintas India

We believe that Goafest is flawed

Lowe has always stayed away from Goafest. Why

We have nothing against award shows for the industry and for those agencies who wish to enter them. We prefer however to concentrate all our energies on our clients problems, business and successes - not celebrating our own "creativity" for the sake of it or subjecting our clients work to sometimes questionable judging calls.

We believe Goafest is flawed in that a significant amount of the work contributed, judged and sometimes awarded is not real work for real clientsit is scam. We will not enter until we feel that ser ious actions have been taken to alleviate this.

Are you planning to make a difference this year

We are not entering Goafest. As usual, we will send some members of our agency to attend as it can be a good place to learn. We do enter Effectiveness Awards (Effies) and take this seriously. We believe this award (a balance between creativity and effectiveness) better represents the stand of this agency.

Lowe has done some incredible work. Dont you think the teams behind these creatives deserve to get recognised in an industry platform like the Goafest

Thank you. Creatives who join us know our stand. We celebrate great work internally and the industry knows which creative teams did which work. You dont need a piece of metal to prove it. Further, we are in good company. Some of the most creative agencies in the world have taken a position never to enter award shows (Mother, BBH).

The fact that you stay away from Ad Club awardshas it affected your business Have you ever faced a situation where the client has requested you to enter for awards

Not in the slightest. No client has ever asked us to enter. They understand our position and are happy with it.