Goafest in Mumbai – Organisers say expect the unexpected

This year, the total number of entries for the 55th edition of the Abby Awards 2024 Powered by One Show has surpassed last year’s number of 3,301, reaching 3,506. The Goafest organisers also expect delegate registrations to surpass last year’s numbers

Akansha Srivastava
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(L-R) Ajay Kakar, Jaideep Gandhi and Mohit Joshi

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Delhi: With Goafest moving to Mumbai, the event and Abby Awards organisers claim it will surpass last year's records in terms of attendees, entries, and sponsorships.

This year, the total number of entries for the 55th edition of the Abby Awards 2024 Powered by One Show has surpassed last year’s number of 3,301, reaching 3,506. Media agencies submitted 1,258 entries this year compared to 1,019 last year, and creative agencies submitted 2,248 entries this year compared to 2,282 last year, the organisers told

Even the number of participating agencies has increased from 63 in 2023 to 73 this year, they added.

The returning agencies to the Abby’s include Lowe Lintas, McCann Worldgroup India, DDB Mudra, and Famous Innovations, among others.

Ajay Kakar, Chairperson of the Awards Governing Council for Abby Awards 2024 powered by One Show and Managing Committee Member of The Advertising Club, said, “Not just in terms of being jurors at the Abby’s, the above-mentioned agencies have chosen to return to the Abby’s through entries too, as they believe in its power to encourage and inspire.”

Following the Open House discussion on improving the awards each year, the introduction of three new age categories—Digital, Mobile, and Technology—collectively garnered ‘whopping traction’ with 626 entries from 75 companies, Kakar said.

Jaideep Gandhi, Chairperson of the Goafest Organizing Committee, is optimistic that delegate registrations will surpass the 2,000 attendees mark of last year.

“With Goafest happening in Mumbai, we are seeing a lot of encouragement and participation from the client side. More and more senior leaders will be able to join the event since travel to Goa won’t be involved,” Gandhi said.

“IPL too moved out from India and still remains the biggest sporting event. Similarly, we took the leap of faith by shifting Goafest from Goa to Mumbai,” added Mohit Joshi, CEO of Havas Media Network India and Co-chair of Goafest 2024.

Mumbai houses a large part of the advertising industry, and Gandhi expects that this will increase on-spot registrations this year.

The 17th edition of Goafest is scheduled to take place from May 29 to May 31 at the Westin Powai in Mumbai. During the event, the Abby Awards winners will also be announced at the evening galas. 

Gandhi said, “The real challenge has been to maintain the same scale and experience of Goafest that used to happen in Goa. But we have tried our best.”

Living up to the theme ‘Age of Adaptability,’ Joshi said, “We’ve been able to move Goafest from Goa to Mumbai in such a short period and still manage the excitement, sponsorships, entertainment quotient, and the content line-up.”

Kakar said that the change in the location of Goafest will not impact the Abby Awards. “The awards, inspiration, and purpose are more important than the location. It will only impact people looking at Goafest as a holiday destination in Goa. With Mumbai being the Mecca of advertising, more and more people will be able to join Goafest and the Abby’s. Also, for those for whom Goafest and the Abby’s have been important, irrespective of the destination, they will be part of it.”

The festival will host over 50 speakers and entertainers across 20+ sessions, in addition to 15+ masterclasses.

This year, Goafest has also partnered with D&AD, which will be hosting 4-5 masterclasses at the venue.

“We’ve always carried the theme of inspiration in the ballroom and education in the masterclasses. As part of our skill development endeavours, D&AD will be hosting proper workshops where the youth will be trained on different subjects,” shared Joshi.

Emphasising what sets the Abby Awards apart from other awards, Kakar said, “Most of the awards are commercial platforms and are profit-making entities. The Abby’s is the only award which is for the industry, by the industry, and of the industry. We are neutral and contemporary, evolving with time.”

In 2022, the Abby Awards partnered with One Show to add an additional layer of global standards of judging, jury selection, and transparency to the awards. The partnership continues to date, making the jury process stringent, along with KPMG being the independent auditor on board.

However, Kakar added, “It is our endeavour to remain a step ahead every year. The results speak for themselves. Many of the entries that win at the Abby India go forward to win at the One Show or at Cannes Lions.”

Among the 50+ sponsors, Snap Inc. is the Co-Powered sponsor for this year’s Goafest. Tata Motors, HT Media, Dhamaal, Sakal, SonyLiv, Hotstar, and others have joined the sponsors' league this year.

Gandhi said that along with the traditional sponsors, Goafest 2024 is seeing keen interest from new-age media companies and production houses.

Joshi added that the interest from the client side to sponsor the event has also gone up. “This year, we have more client sponsors than last year. Clients are an integral part of this ecosystem, and their support for Goafest in the form of sponsorship is a very positive step in the direction of the evolution of Goafest,” he added.

Joshi went on to highlight that this festival is for everyone, not just Ad Club or AAAI.

“This year, we have participation from IAA, ISA, IBDA, AAFA, ASCI, and INS. All the industry bodies have come together to make the Goafest successful,” commented Joshi.

Gandhi added, “Visionaries like Sundar Swamy, Arvind Sharma, Colvyn Harris, Ambi Parameswaran, Nagesh Alai, Nakul Chopra, Ashish Bhasin, Sam Balsara, and Shashi Sinha have been key pillars in shaping and scaling Goafest to this magnitude over the last 16 years. Each one of them made unique contributions that made the festival larger and more relevant each year.”

The panel of 23 Jury Chairs and 204 jurors, consisting of 68 females, will be judging work across 23 categories.

“53 new, young, award-winning judges were introduced to the process, making up an impressive 26% of the jury this year,” added Kakar.

Tata Play’s Managing Director and CEO, Harit Nagpal, and Sanjiv Mehta, Executive Chairman of L Catterton India, are among the few who will address attendees through keynotes.

Additionally, Tarun Puri, Senior Operating Partner at Lighthouse Funds; Asha Kharga, Chief Customer and Brand Officer at Mahindra Group; Raymond Lifestyle’s Sunil Kataria; Maruti Suzuki’s Shashank Srivastava; Nestle’s Chandan Mukherjee; Tata Motors’ Shubhranshu Singh; The Good Glamm Group’s Sukhleen Aneja; Honasa’s Zairus Master; and Darshana Shah from Aditya Birla Capital, among others, will engage in conversations and discussions.

Other speakers include Marcus Ranney, Manoj Bajpayee, Sourav Ganguly, Zeenat Aman, Vikrant Massey, Medha Shankar, Neha Dhupia, Tahira Kashyap, and Neelesh Misra.

Goafest 2024 will also host the second edition of its talent showcase, ‘Advertising Rocks’. Additionally, there will be performances by Sukhwinder Singh and Harshdeep Kaur, as well as an After Hours Party each day.