This year’s chairman for the fest, Jagdip Bakshi, is chief executive officer of Contract Advertising (India) Pvt. Ltdand is on the committees of both the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF). Edited excerpts:
This is the first time two rival advertising award functions — Ad Club Bombay’s Abby and the AAAI awards — are joining hands. What does the coming together of the two shows mean for the industry?
First of all, Ad Club and AAAI were never rivals. Abby was just another local award show but it gained significance because it was in Mumbai, where three-fourths of the advertising industry is based. There was some dissatisfaction among senior creative directors at agencies in attending (the) Abby (function) because of the way it was judged, but I was not one of them, so I cannot comment on that.
The coming together of the two functions is really a sensible step as they both had the same jury, the same awards for the same categories within the same agencies. By doing this, we are cutting out the extra expenditure and duplication as well as making it harder for politics to creep in.
How is it that you have retained the named Abby for the creative awards?
Earlier, Abby was a 3-hour award function that took place in one banquet hall, while Goafest was three days of fun and a more attractive format as it includes displays, international speakers and seminars. So, we thought why not keep to the same Abby awards but go with the better format.
So, have AAAI’s creative awards been done away with?
No, Goafest will continue to be as it is except for the creative awards, which will be now called ‘Abby’s at Goafest’. We have done away with some of the awards such as Campaign of the Year and Agency of the Year that Abby had but, in turn, we have also added a new category this year called integrated advertising, which will look at how an agency has best integrated its branding efforts with the use of different media.
There still seems to be some opposition to the fest, with agencies such as Lowe and McCann not participating as well as some reports on major broadcasters opting out. Why do you think this is happening?
Lowe has not participated for the past six years, so there is nothing I can do. Balki (R. Balakrishnan) just does not like award functions, although they did participate in the Effies...so I don’t really know. In any one show one can’t get 100%, we’ve got 99% and I think it is enough. As for McCann not sending any entries for the creative awards, I don’t know why not here either, but there is some speculation among senior guys that McCann doesn’t have enough work. It is strange that Prasoon (Joshi) did not send any entries but, hopefully, next year he will.
As for broadcasters, if they are not participating, it is just sad. They are part of this industry and a significant part of their revenues come from advertisements, so if they don’t support it, I don’t know who will. It is a poor commentary on the state of our industry.
Will this non-participation dent Goafest’s equity in any way?
No, I don’t think so, as there are still some major broadcasters such as Aaj Tak, Zoom, Times Now and Headlines Today, among others, that are with us. If the other channels don’t participate, that doesn’t mean the show won’t go on.