A little more than a week remains before the Indian advertising fraternity gets together in Goa to let their hair down at what many consider to be India's Cannes. Whether one has sent in entries or not, Cavelossim Beach is where the party is at as Goafest 2010 begins on April 8.
In 2009, there was the much talked about and even more feared 'recession' (or the slowdown to be very precise), most blamed for the number of entries being low. This time around, agencies claim that they do not have sufficient quality work to be entered.
Raj Nair, executive creative director, Contract Advertising, tells afaqs!, "There was a bit of resource crunch. While we did have some good work, there were not as much as we would have liked."
Kamal Basu, chief executive officer, Saatchi & Saatchi and Satbir Singh, chief creative officer, Euro RSCG cite similar reasons for their absence as well.
However, both Basu and Singh affirm that it would be wrong to assume that the agencies will shy away from the festival altogether, with both agencies sending their contingents to Goa.
"We are behind Goafest full on! Suman (Srivastava) is a part of the organising committee, while I am a part of the jury. Euro RSCG will be there. Last year was a difficult one though, with us trying to retain business and manpower; priorities were a little divided," explains Singh.
"We are definitely sending our contingent to Goa. However, it makes little sense to enter only a handful of entries," Basu says.
Apparently, the digital agency of Euro RSCG is participating with a few entries.
So does that chip off a bit of the sheen? Colvyn Harris, chief executive officer, JWT India and chairperson, Goafest, disagrees.
"Goafest is not just about awards. We have the Industry Leadership Conclave, where industry issues will be discussed. We have 10 global speakers at the event. Then there is the inevitable networking, meeting people and having fun. There is so much more happening," Harris says.
He also refuses to buy the reason that there is lack of quality work.
"Agencies have their own reasons for not participating. There is the cost factor, which we understand. However, it is a bit hard to believe that there is not enough quality work in a year," says Harris.
Harris exclaims that it will be a much larger show this year and affirms that there has been a 20 per cent rise overall in the number of entries.
Ajay Chandwani, director, Percept and chairperson, Creative Abby Awards, tells afaqs! that there has been a significant rise in the Digital and Design categories in particular.
The no-shows aside, participating agencies seem enthused though as the weekend approaches.
"There are definitely more entries from us than last year. However, there could have been much more. We are pretty confident of our work and hope to bag a few awards eventually," says Rohit Malkani, executive creative director, Grey Worldwide. The agency has about 26 entries this year.
So, low entries or not, it is 'all roads to Goa' next weekend. See you there!