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Big agencies losing a lot by not participating in Goafest, says Shashi Sinha

In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Sinha, CEO of IPG Media Brands and Secretary of the Advertising Club and Chairman of the Awards Governing Council, cautioned that if our creative guys don’t wake up soon, one day they’ll find that the content creators have taken the game away

Technology is a great leveller and creativity is no more the fiefdom of large creative agencies, believes Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Media Brands.

Talking about the arm length distance big advertising agencies have maintained from the Goafest by not participating at all in the last few years, Sinha, who’s also the Secretary of the Advertising Club and Chairman of the Awards Governing Council, said these agencies were losing big time.

“Participation of the big agencies is always a challenge. I don’t think there has been any significant change from last year. There are a few who have dropped out, and there are a few who have stepped in,” he said.

In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Sinha said that when a client looks at creativity, he doesn’t see if it is coming from a big agency, a content creator or a production house.

“So, it’s not just about participation, it’s also about what is happening. When the client sees work, he will not see whether it has come from an agency, or a content company or a production house; the client will award the business to whoever creates good work,” explained Sinha, while responding to a question on why big creative agencies were staying away from the Goafest.

“The big agencies are missing out on the action. People like MTV and other content creators are strong contenders in the creative awards. If our creative guys don’t wake up soon, one day they’ll find that the content creators have taken the game away,” cautioned Sinha.

“There are two trends that our creative agency partners have to open to: one, creativity can come from anywhere in technology. Also, by not participating, they are losing by not seeing what’s happening in the industry,” he added.

The much-awaited Goafest is slated to take place from April 11-13, 2019.

Entries from digital agencies, broadcasters and media houses at all-time high

The AGC has received about 2,700 entries this year, across categories, which is almost similar to last year. However, the entries in a lot of categories have increased.

Sinha said, “We have got a very good response in the digital, publisher/broadcaster and PR categories. So I think a lot of our responses are going up dramatically.”

Some categories have gone up, some have gone down. For example, media this time has increased by 15%-20%. Digital has increased by 10%-12%. However, there is an 8% to 10% drop in creative entries. “Digital has gone up, digital is strong, and I can see growth in digital and media,” remarked Sinha.

Sinha said that with a high number of entries from smaller players, the democratisation of Goafest has happened.

“If you see in digital, there are lot of names I had never heard of before. So a lot of participants are coming in. From the media side, you’ll find 100% participation. More than the number of entries, the number of smaller agencies participating is very good,” he added.

Talking about the impact of big agencies skipping the Goafest, Sinha said, “It is their call. The quality of work that comes in is very good, it’s great work, say the master jury. So, one point is about whether it is about them winning or not winning an award. The other thing is that there is such good work being showcased; so they are missing out an opportunity to witness it,” said Sinha.

Just for an example, a lot of broadcasters are pitching in for entries in the creative category. Today, creativity is no longer only with agencies -- small shops, production houses are getting into it too.

Award selection process revamped to bring in more credibility

Talking about the changes made in the awards process by the AGC to make the Abbys more credible, Sinha brought to light some of the changes that were made last year. Last year, the AGC had decided to curtail the categories; a lot of awards were given out in many categories, so it reduced the number of sub-categories. “We haven’t changed anything, we just fine-tuned it, basically making it more relevant by reducing some awards,” he said.

Secondly, it is about the master jury concept. Last year was the first time the AGC did a master jury. This time around too it has built on that. 14-15 people were invited and at least 8-9 people landed up for the master jury of the creative awards.

“They are big stalwarts of the industry. A lot of people used to complain about the inconsistency of judging, so we ensured that all the categories across verticals should be judged by them. All the big names were there -- Prasoon Joshi, KV Sridhar (Pops), Bobby Pawar etc. Whatever we did last year, we have fine-tuned and built it this year,” said Sinha.

This time around, the AGC has also added the master jury concept to media; it has been introduced this year for the Media Abbys too. “There will be Vikram Sakhuja, Sam (Sameer) Singh, Anupriya Acharya, Ashish Bhasin, Shashi Sinha -- agency network heads. It is fragmented. People were complaining about inconsistency, so this will bring in some consistency in the judging pattern,” Sinha said.

All in all, 181 entries across 15 categories will compete in the final round of judging for the Media Abby awards at Goafest 2019. The final round of judging will take place on Monday.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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