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After a 2-year gap, will Goafest & Abby's be able to maintain their charm?

As one of the biggest advertising festivals in the country is set to return after two years, industry leaders are excited about witnessing the award-winning work created in the past two years

Known as the Cannes Lions or the Oscars of the Indian advertising industry, the Abby’s are all set to be a part of Goa Fest. The Fest will be held from May 5-7, 2022. This year will mark the thirteenth Abby Award, after a break of two years due to the pandemic.

This year, Abby’s has joined hands with The One Show, which is one of the world's most prestigious award programs in advertising, design and digital marketing. As a result, a handful of new categories of awards have also been added. 

Abby’s partnership with The One Show will add credibility and raise levels of transparency in the entire awarding process.

Mukund Olety

According to Mukund Olety- Chief Creative Officer, VMLY&R India, with Abby’s collaborating with One Show, the platform gets more credibility, and he is hopeful that great work will be showcased and celebrated. 

Manesh Swamy, Senior Vice-President-Creative and Social, Logicserve Digital, said that the best practices happening all over the world are being handpicked and implemented in the awards this time. He revealed that there will be a Red Abby that will focus on mental health, while the Green award will focus on the environment and conservation. He also said that there will be a special category for people under 30. 

“We can say that Abby’s is the Cannes Lions for India. Earlier our entries competed here and then were sent to international places like the Spikes and Cannes Lions. Yes, a few big agencies have dropped out of Abby’s a couple of years back but still many agencies are celebrating and enjoying good work. I think I'm looking forward to it, it'll be a good forum to catch up with peers and see the kind of work they are doing,” he stated. 

An advertising executive told that the entry prices are slightly higher this time for single entries. “If I’m not wrong earlier it was Rs 8-10 thousand per entry, but right now it is Rs 14 thousand,” the executive revealed. 

Shradha Agarwal

Shradha Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder of Grapes Digital said there should be more transparency in terms of judging when it comes to awards.

“If there are 100 people entering for a category you must get to see the 100 awards to understand who did not make the cut and why. If we have a fair list of the campaigns that entered in a category and which made the cut and why, the entire system becomes a lot more transparent and you can expect that from an award like the Abby’s,” Agarwal added.

Raj Kamble

Raj Kamble, Founder and CCO of Famous Innovations, said that the Goafest is more relevant now. He said somewhere in the pollution of social media posts, display ads and 6-second videos, the industry is losing solid strategic work. 

“Awards are appreciation for good creative work and without awards, there is no difference between a good agency and a bad agency. Awards are also necessary to signal where the industry is going.”

Ramanuj Shastry

Ramanuj Shastry- Director and Co-Founder of Infectious Advertising seconded Kamble’s thought and said that the return of the Abby’s is eagerly anticipated. He said that although the competition will be tough, he trusts the jury to choose the very best. 

Olety believes that Goafest should be back to being as exciting as it was in its heyday. “The show needs to be competitive and celebrate the highest standard of creativity. Then, it’s exciting. Goafest was something that everyone used to look forward to. Not just to go there as a big team but to celebrate really good work. The winners were good enough to pick awards globally. With a good jury, speakers and participation from all agencies, Goafest should be back to being as exciting as it was in its heyday,” he said. 

This year, the competition will be tough because work done between March 1, 2019, and February 28, 2022, can be entered for Abby’s Awards.

Agarwal of Grapes Digital said that the competition will be further tougher as apart from digital agencies, mainline agencies have also increasingly focused on digital in the past two years. “One of the key things they (agencies) are focusing on is driving awards through digital. The lines have blurred between mainline and digital. Everyone is entering into the digital space for their campaigns.” 

However, she said she looks forward to networking and seeing good work being displayed and celebrated.

Swamy concluded that as a creative person in the Indian advertising space, Goafest has been about the celebration of creativity and people look forward to it. “We were looking forward to it last year also and were figuring out entries when they were called off. So, I’m sure all the agencies and creative people are looking forward to it this year too.”

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