Free Press Journal

Goa Fest 2016 – A haven of creativity

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Goafest 2016 kicked off with much aplomb between April 7 to 9, in Bambolim, Goa. The festival, which was hosted at the Grand Hyatt Goa, saw the inaugural ceremony kicking off with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the Chairman of Goafest, Nakul Chopra, along with other eminent personalities like the Chairman of the AAAI, Ambi Parameshwaran and the President and Managing Director of Discovery, Asia Pacific, Arthur Bastings, among others.

The festival curtain raiser was the Industrial Conclave presented by Discovery Channel. Prominent members of the industry who conducted the session were Chandramouli Venkatesan (Managing Director, Mondelez India), Samar Singh Sheikhawat (SVP Marketing, United Breweries Ltd.) and Oliver Maletz (Head of Communications, Planning, Media & International Communications at Volkswagen, AG). The topic of the day was ‘3 Things The Agency Can Do Better’ with the speakers eloquently discussing client agency partnerships while highlighting all the possible avenues where such partnerships can be strengthened by the agency.

Chandramouli Venkatesan, Managing Director, Mondelez India, emphasized the power of partnerships when he remarked, “We create magic when we have great partnerships”. Using the famous Sholay pair, Jai-Veeru’s partnership as an allegory, he went on to explain how the agency could strengthen the partnership through trust, client-favored decision making and clarity of processes. He further elaborated how a good partnership is a two way game and when played right, produces the optimal outcome.


Samar Singh Sheikhawat, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, United Breweries, spoke about how an agency could better understand the client’s business and therefore enable themselves to orient their thought processes and functions with the client’s needs. A major part of understanding the client, according to Sheikhawat, is understanding the consumer.

Finally, Oliver Maletz, Head of Communications, Planning, Media & International Communications at Volkswagen, AG summed it up succinctly by saying that the agency should be the one entity whom the client calls first and hangs up on last. Thus, there needs to be a complete understanding and strong sense of trust between the two.

The second day started off with Tara Marsh, Global Head of Marketing, Wunderman, talking about Content Marketing which was followed by an engaging interaction with Producer and Director Karan Johar and Advertising veteran and Director R Balki. Karan Johar and R Balki threw light upon the relationship between the film industry and the advertising industry and how that relationship can evolve further. From Karan’s absolute refusal to make ads to Balki’s inability to engage on social media, the two eminent members of the film industry shared much wisdom, albeit with a lot of humor and a dollop of sass. Post this entertaining session by the two directors, a refreshing young entrepreneur, Varun Agarwal and author of ‘Braved Anu Aunty’, took the stage to enlighten people how he overcame all obstacles and successfully started a million dollar company.

Tara Marsh went on to explain how for a brand to appeal to the consumers, it must understand how they make decisions and how the brand can help with the decision-making process. In order to advertise better, brands must provide meaningful content which is relevant and will provide value to the consumer. Marsh went on to cite successful campaigns like, Samsung Gear, Under Armour ‘I Will What I Want’ and Cusquenã which integrated culture and good content to add value to the consumer, thus compelling the consumer to notice and appreciate the brand.

The evening of second day brought the best of the creative minds together for the Creative ABBYs. The jury announced winners for nine categories including Radio, Radio Craft, Broadcaster ABBY, Brand ABBY, Activation & Promotion, Public Relations, Print Craft, Branded Content & Entertainment and Direct.

The day also held a special significance as the media and advertising fraternity also came together to felicitate Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, O&M India on receiving the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India. Vineet Jain, Managing Director, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. was also felicitated for his significant contribution to innovative growth in the media industry, unstinting support to the advertising industry, his unflinching belief in the importance of creative communication and his ongoing efforts to use communication as a force for societal change.

With industry specific conclaves to expert seminars and ABBYs presentations, the Goafest ABBYs 2016 presented by The Advertising Club and The AAA’ of I, has once again seen the entire advertising and marketing community descend upon the pearly shores of North Goa to celebrate excellence in creativity across media platforms and genres. As the closing day of Goafest 2016 progressed, it was time to address the theme of creativity and how to leverage it. That being the topic of the day, the eminent speakers who imparted their respective brands of wisdom were Fergus O’Hare, Director of Facebook Creative Shop, APAC, followed by Alasdair Lennox, Executive Creative Director, EMEA, Fitch and Raghu Raman, Group President Reliance Industries, Former Founding CEO NATGRID.

Just as the festival-goers shuffled in post lunch, they were in for a treat as the surprising intro of the opening speaker for the afternoon sessions shook things up. Ex-advertising man, Fergus O’Hare, Director of Facebook Creative Shop, APAC, started off by setting the context; ‘How to leverage creativity through technology’, and the best example according to him is how Facebook does it. Armed with some solid statistics and data, he went on to explain how Facebook as a platform could be used to deliver personalized marketing at scale, using mobile technology. The Irishman presented several campaigns that showcased his ideas, with case studies ranging from Wendy’s BBQ4Merica campaign to Nike to Kleenex.

Next up was Alasdair Lennox, Executive Creative Director, EMEA, Fitch rolled out a Creative Manifesto with tenets like ‘Start Again and Again’, ‘Be Curious’, ‘Be Stubbornly Flexible’ including founder Rodney Fitch’s motto “Be sure to draw something every day”. Lennox summed it up by saying that ‘advertising’ as a word will die out, being replaced by the concepts of ‘experience’ and ‘conversations’.

Raghu Raman, Group President Reliance Industries and Former Founding CEO NATGRID, delivered an incredibly motivating talk on how to be bold and courageous, drawing from his experiences in the Indian Army. Recounting stories of his unit and fellow soldiers, he touched upon pertinent issues like leadership and creativity through the lens of an army man.