India’s largest intellectual exchange Goafest 2010 commences

Goa : Goafest’10, India’s largest intellectual exchange in the world of advertising and media; commenced today with the Discovery Channel India Leadership Conclave. Titled ‘2010: Time to Grow’, this year’s session saw industry opinion leaders introspect, debate, define and arrive at plans to achieve desired growth rates. The business conclave commenced at 3pm and was attended by select invited CEOs of Advertiser, Media and Agency organizations.

Goafest brings many advantages to Goa and the society – There is large amount of tourism revenue that comes into Goa. The marketing fraternity gets to look at advertising options in Goa. Additionally there is a lot of learning and knowledge sharing through seminars and workshops. Indian creativity is recognized and encouraged to match up to global standards and everyone gets a chance to learn and develop themselves.

The advertising market is under developed in India compared to many developed and developing countries, despite high growth rates in the last 5 years. It is not growing at a fast enough pace to drive consumption. India contributes to 17% of the World Population but is only 0.7% of the World Advertising Market. Do we need to re-visit the old advertising business model? What do agencies or media owners have to do to accelerate growth of the advertising market? The Industry Leadership conclave will discuss & debate on various issues that a developing market like India faces and how creativity will help accelerate our brands’ growth.

Sam Balsara, the Chairman of the Discovery Channel India Leadership Conclave, spoke about the theme this year, “After growing at nearly 20% year on year for 5 years, the advertising market dipped in 2009 by as much as 10%. It’s TIME TO GROW now and make up for lost time with sharp strategies and plans to develop BRANDS, MARKETS, CREATIVITY, MEDIA MARKETS and RESEARCH. A must-attend event for CEOs with growth and profit responsibility”.

The conclave got off to a flying start with Tom Doctoroff, CEO – JWT, China and author of the bestseller ‘Billions’; who will give tips on what India can learn from China on ‘How to use advertising for growth and in turn how to grow advertising market’.

In the second session, Piyush Mathur – MD, Nielsen South-Asia; Shiv Moulee – Chief Client Officer & Director Global Solutions Board, Millward Brown; Rajaram Narayan, VP (Hair Care & Lakme Event) Hindustan Unilever; Piyush Pandey – O&M and Arun Tadanki – CEO, Yahoo came together to discuss if for a developing market like India, are our brands growing fast enough? Is creativity rising to the occasion to drive and grow brands? Given the increasing noise and clutter in Indian Media, has creativity risen far enough to make Brands stand out and make an impact? If one were to go by Awards, then it has. But what do the figures from markets and brand tracks reveal? And what do Advertisers say based on what is happening in the market place?

Shashi Sinha, Lodestar Universal; Bhaskar Das – Times of India; Uday Shankar – Star; Ronnie Screwvala – UTV; Minnie Menon – Bloomerberg UTV and Ajit Balakrishnan – pondered on media spends. The Advertising Pie for the first time in 2009 calendar year has shrunk, according to the Pitch-Madison Advertising Outlook 2009 from 20717 in 2008 to 18670 crores in 2009, a phenomenal drop of 10%. This is after growing by 100% in the last 4 years, upto 2008. Is the Indian Media under-priced? How do Indian Media CPTs compare with other BRIC countries, neighboring countries and the West? Can the Advertising Pie ever grow without corresponding growth of sales of products and services it promotes?

Srinivasan Swamy of RK Swamy BBDO; L.K. Gupta – CMO LG and Shireesh Joshi – Airtel presented a case on building agency capabilities. The only way Advertisers can reap benefits of higher returns on advertising investment is if agencies invest in Resources and Systems, substantially raising the bar on their capabilities through Innovation and Investment. Are Agencies doing enough? What stops them from doing more? Are Agencies getting distracted from their core function of creativity by going into different verticals that make more money than basic Creativity? Is this because Clients are not paying adequately for Creativity?

L.V. Krishnan of TAM; Ashok Das of Hansa Research and Mahmood Ahmed of ITC collaborate thoughts on Media research. Most media owners complain that media research tends to underplay their numbers and that the numbers reported by Research are much lower than what exists in the market place. What is the truth? What is holding research back? Who should pay for research? Whose responsibility is better media research?

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