GoaFest 2009 will not be like the other years for the festival. The economic slowdown, has forced agencies to reconsider whether or not they can afford to send many delegates to the awards festival like every year. To add to this, O&M, which has been associated with the Abbys for the longest time, isn’t participating this year.
This is what some members of the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) have to say on the relatively lower turnout this year and O&M’s non-participation in the festival.
Colvyn Harris, VP, AAAI, said, “The GoaFest is the only awards fest of its kind in the country, and is therefore, rather important for agencies and the industry.” So, he doesn’t see why the fun, frolic, celebration and learning shouldn’t continue this year as well.
Arvind Sharma, Chairman and CEO, Leo Burnett, India (also the founding chairman of the GoaFest Committee of AAAI), said, “In any awards festival, there are a few agencies that might not participate for certain reasons. We are ready for the fact that O&M may decide to drop out this year.”
The AAAI, though, is not taking no for an answer. Harris said, “O&M is important to the Abbys and we will request them to reconsider their decision.”
Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and NCD, Ogilvy India and South Asia, blamed the economic crisis for O&M’s non-participation. He said, “This is a tight year and we are prioritising all expenditure that we will incur in 2009. And I don’t see adequate value in participating in the GoaFest this year.”
However, senior sources in the industry say that it isn’t just the slowdown that is behind O&M’s decision to stay away from the award fest. Last year, the AAAI and the Abbys came together for the first time, and since then, a few changes have been made in the format.
One of these is replacing the Agency of the Year award, in which O&M was a frontrunner over the years at the Abbys, with a Grand Prix system in individual categories. These changes could, perhaps, be another reason for O&M’s decision.
When questioned about this, Pandey refutes firmly, “That is definitely not the criteria for consideration to opt out of the festival.”
Source: Bombay Adclub