Goafest 2018, an advertising, media and marketing convention that felicitates creative thinking in India, kick-started its annual festival with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp.
This year, the festival is also celebrating 50 years of the prestigious Abby Awards, which have been handed out to creative geniuses over the years for their stellar work that has today put India on the global map of advertising, media and marketing.
This is the 13th edition of the festival, organised by The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in association with the Advertising Club.
After M K Anand, Vikram Tanna, Nakul Chopra, President, AAAI; Vikram Sakhuja, President, The Advertising Club; Ashish Bhasin, Chairman of Goafest 2018 and Vice-President of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI); Ajay Kakkar, Vice-President of The Advertising Club and Chairman, Awards Governing Council and Jaideep Gandhi lit the ceremonial light and declared the festivities on, Goafest was officially open to its 2000+ attendees looking forward to soaking in the creativity and tapping into the knowledge by the inspiring array of speakers lined up this year.
The industry conclave presented by Discovery marked the first session of the day with Baba Ramdev, who enthralled the audience by speaking about building inclusive, sustainable, decentralised and just brands. He enlightened them about the philosophy behind the brand Patanjali and stressed the need for marketers to build an emotional connect with the consumer. His session was followed by a talk by Kashyap Vadapalli, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of New Business, Pepperfry, who spoke on the importance of building trust among consumers.
Ashish Bhasin, Chairman of Goafest 2018 and Vice-President of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), got a lot of cheering from the crowd as he welcomed the guests to the 50th year of Abbys and 13th year of Goafest. He paved the way for two brilliant speakers with awe-inspiring stories, exiting the stage with the promise of leaving ‘Goa greener than it is’.
Vadapalli spoke about the brand’s own growth story. “Six years ago, ecommerce in India was nascent and Pepperfry started because of three reasons:
To promote Indian artisans and craftsmen
To build honesty and transparency as part of our DNA
To have fun, because we knew it would be a dusty road.”
They blended the three reasons and came up with a name that signified Indian and honest (Hence Pepper), and fun (Hence Fry, because anything becomes fun when you fry, right? We totally agree!). After 2000 work days and 20 million+ work hours, Pepperfry today has streamlined its business, and taken supply, mixed with technology, to the Indian consuming class. “We worked towards standardising the entire category. Since we were very close to manufacturers, it helped us bring value to the Indian consumer.”
But of course the Pepperfry empire wasn’t built in two months. They got deep into services, logistics and cataloguing, and now, after six years, launched 10 house brands that contribute to 50% of our business, 27 studios across 15 cities in the country (2500- 4000sq ft spaces), and are planning to launch 12 more.
So what lessons did we learn from the entrepreneur?
When you are setting out to build an organisation, you have to be ready to face challenges that you weren’t even prepared for. Things will get uncomfortable.
If you want to become a trendsetter, you need to be ready to get your hands dirty. “We sought to build on India’s inherent strengths; capitalised on the Indian artisans; worked towards building a differentiated market,” Vadapalli said.
Speaking on the conclave, Chopra said, “We started Goafest all those years ago to bring together people from the world of advertising, media and marketing to discuss and exchange exciting ideas. But today, this festival has grown into one of the biggest congregations of some of the most brilliant creative minds in the country. These young people, who come here in droves to learn from and interact with the legends who paved the creative way for them, are the ones who make Goafest a festival worth attending. I am deeply grateful to the fraternity present here for making Goafest what it is today.”
Discussing the Abby Awards that will be handed out at Goafest 2018, Sakhuja said, “It’s been 50 years since the first Abby Awards were handed out. That is 50 years of unfaltering dedication to identify, shortlist and felicitate creative excellence in the industry. Over the years the awards went through a lot of changes. So, we spoke to heads of agencies, to industry leaders and more importantly, to the young creative workforce out there to come up with two key changes to the awards this year. The changes include the rationalisation of categories to stay relevant to today’s young and dynamic creative geniuses and the formation of a Master Jury made up of industry masters to guarantee effectiveness. It gives me immense pleasure to see the industry not only embracing these changes with open arms but supporting us in our endeavour to keep improving the quality of the awards.”
Bhasin said, “Goafest is always a great reminder of the amazing amount of creative talent we have in India. Seeing such young people brimming with energy, learning from the best in the industry and congregating together to exchange ideas is what enriches creative thinking. This year, we have upped the ante by bringing in a lot of technological changes and of course by sprucing up our speaker line-up by bringing in stalwarts from varied backgrounds – be it advertising, marketing, music, film, yoga and much more. I am extremely thankful to all of them for being a part of Goafest 2018. Day 1 itself has seen such a great response with packed sessions, I’m sure we are well on our way to becoming the world’s best advertising conclave.”
Kakar said, “50 years ago, Abby Awards were instituted to recognise creative excellence and that objective and agenda remains. For Abby Awards 2018, it was our mission to co-create the awards with the help, inputs and participation of our industry; starting from the stalwarts but not forgetting the youngsters. And what we see today is an outcome of that, courtesy the participation of stalwarts who inspire and set the standards of creativity for our industry.”