Cavelossim Beach, Goa: Last year was a good year for Payal Juthani. She could barely conceal her glee as she and her colleagues from Grey Worldwide India Pvt. Ltd ran up the ramp every few minutes to collect awards for their work for honeymoon packages offered by tour operator Travel Corp. India Ltd. By the end of the award season in India, the campaign, featuring a pair of hands with bridal henna, had won four golds and eight silvers, creating quite an impression at the Abby Awards and Goafest 2007 — held separately last year.
Talking heads: V. Shantakumar of Saatchi and Saatchi (in white shirt) with Harit Nagpal of Vodafone Essar during the Advertising Conclave in Goa on Thursday
But what was even nicer was the attention Juthani got right after both events. “It was really funny. I was constantly being introduced to senior people (in the advertising industry)… There were even times when I was sitting with my boss and I would get a call offering me a job,” says the 28-year-old, who is now a creative director with CreativeLand Asia Pvt. Ltd, .
No surprise there, considering that industry events —awards and festivals —serve as the hunting ground for talent. Goafest 2008, which started on Thursday, is not going to be any different. But this is the first time that delegates are going to see a formal attempt at making the three-day event a meeting place for the recruiter and the recruits.
The Ad-Museum, as founders Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat call it, will be launched at Goafest 2008. Not only will the Internet-based museum attempt to collect and compile masterpieces of advertising and design from across the world, but will also serve as a platform for young people to feature their work.
The founders, both vice-presidents and executive creative directors at Contract Advertising India Pvt. Ltd, hope it will eventually be used as a database for fresh recruits.
The business is starved for fresh creative and strategic talent, especially with many people migrating to new boom sectors such as retail, media, hospitality, etc. Events such as Goafest offer agency chiefs and recruiters a one-stop shopping advantage; a place where they get to see the best and their work as a run-up to their recruitment sprees.
Usually conducted over a couple of casual drinks at the bar, talent-spotting has always been a priority for the industry at such events. “It is an open secret,” says Raj Kurup, chairman and chief creative officer, CreativeLand Asia. “It’s just easier than picking up the phone,” he says.
With the talent crunch, everyone wants to be seen as a good employer. While some make it a point to encourage promising talent with a pat on the back, others go out of their way to be perceived as an agency fun to work with.
“In the current scenario, I’m not interviewing candidates. They are interviewing me,” says Mahesh Chauhan, president, Rediffusion DY and R Pvt. Ltd. While the agency is not coming to the event with recruitment as an agenda, it is going to look out of its way to ensure that the employees and guests have a good time. The agency is hosting a party for its employees and delegates at a beach shack a few minutes away from the Goafest ad village, the venue for the main event. “We want people to have a good time… we like to be perceived as an agency that has a good time.” Others agencies have also jumped on to the bandwagon by sending out party invites.
Others such as K.V. Sridhar (Pops), national creative director, Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd, make it a point to encourage young talent with a few words of praise. “If you encourage upcoming talent, they are more likely to think of you when they want to move,” he says.
While a lot of people are looking out for fresh talent, events such as these are places where the seniors check out potential employers. “During a jury discussion, there is a lot of debate and discussion. A place where you get to hear someone’s creative judgment,” says Bhatt of Contract.