The Creative Awards function is usually the big ticket item of Goafest. Not surprisingly, the turnout was far better on Day 2 than on the previous day, when the Media Awards were held. I reached the venue at around 11:30 am; the seminars were set to begin only after 2pm and so I spent some time looking at the nominated work. The action was just about picking up outside – no, not the awards function; it was the rain dance. General milling about and much small talk later, it was time for lunch. By the time the first of the seminars started, it was already past 2:30pm. So the downside of such a relaxed, chilled out atmosphere, every event begins late.
A couple of the knowledge seminars were good. I especially enjoyed presentations from Ogilvy’s Jan Leth and Mindshare’s George Michaelides. Some of the work shared by Jan and points made by George were memorable. Needless to say (but I will say it anyway), the speeches had their fair share of cliches. Short of saying ‘people are your biggest assets’, we heard almost all the others: it’s about the big idea not just a TV commercial, digital is the future, TV is not dead, we need to co-create with consumers and participate in conversations etc. Maybe in India, cliches go down well if you deliver them in a foreign accent.
Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the panel discussions were not given a tight brief or a specific discussion point- I wasn’t clear what the objective was. There was general meandering talk about various aspects of Social Media for example, without major conclusions or thoughts to take home. Also, I wish more of the creative bigwigs and juniors from other departments were present for the knowledge seminars.
What are we celebrating or rewarding: is it pure craft? Or a creative solution that solved or addressed a genuine business problem of a brand? If it’s the former then we should be prepared to see ads for a paleontologist, taxidermist, a sea food restaurant and so on. Some argue that there’s nothing wrong with that. My question to them is: would you rather have your best creative brains think on your biggest client or the shoe polish guy outside the office? In almost all categories beyond television, there were creative nominations and awards for ‘iffy’ clients and projects. It becomes a self-indulgent show off – rather than sticking to the core of our business: helping our clients’ brands succeed. So we have ads for kennels, astrologers, yoga practitioners and the mandatory public service causes. Of the non-TV work, the promo idea for Horlicks Pro-Height stood out for me.
The industry must take a serious view of scam ads and ‘craft for craft’s sake’. Going by the pronouncements like ‘no real work here’ prior to the award ceremony from the industry bigwigs it appears that the problem is likely to be addressed in the next year’s awards. I am glad that not many of the CEOs and CMOs of big shot client companies – who control the ad budgets – were around. They would have been shocked to see where their agency is spending so much money, energy and effort.Another trend on view was ‘groupism’. Please be raucous and vociferous when celebrating your agency’s award winning work but it doesn’t hurt to applaud good ideas from other agencies, no?
And oh, since almost all the previous events started late, the most important section of the festival had to be ‘rushed’ through so that people had enough time to dance. It didn’t seem to matter for many as they were already having dinner when the awards were being announced and work showcased. Going forward, I wish there was a way to get the creative guys to sit in for the media awards and vice versa. Both were absent in the respective award shows.
Would love to hear your views on Goafest, award shows and how to improve them. Do comment in.