Ashwini Gangal and Raushni Bhagia

Last words from Goa: "The cause is more important than anyone participating in it": Ajay Kakar

To sum up the event, afaqs! spoke to some members of the Awards Governing Council and got them to answer select questions. We also asked Burnett's Sharma what he thinks contributed to his agency's whopping 70+ metal tally this year.

Overall, 173 organisations participated in this year's Goafest. As Day Three drew to a close, we spoke to a few key individuals to punctuate the fest. Here's what they had to say.

Q. To what extent did the gamut of controversy preceding Goafest dampen the spirit behind the scenes?

Ajay Kakar, CMO, Aditya Birla Group: I think this is 'the' industry forum that we have in India for the celebration of great work. So, every member, every constituent that comes on board is supporting the cause. But, if for any reason, someone does not come on board, it is definitely the loss of the cause. And I think the cause is more important than anyone participating in it. The cause lives on, and this time, stronger than ever before, which, I think will continue.

Q. What prompted you to add the Branded Content category this time - just the presence of this category at international award shows?

Ajay Chandwani, Director, Percept: Apart from the fact that it has been a very important vertical in Cannes, what inspired us to include Branded Content as a new category is the fact that today, there's a lot of brand-influenced content around us. For instance, brands are influencing television programming, through their sheer personality. And this is happening not just on TV but across media, including digital.

So, the idea is that more efforts like Roadies or music integration -- where music is a part of the brand -- get recognised. One remembers how Airtel was launched and what A R Rahman did; that was a case of how music has been used by a very famous music director and how it became a part of the brand. So, there are many ways in which branded content is getting reflected in different parts of life. So yes, it was inspired, but there was a lot of local interest to it as well.

Q. The number of metals given away has risen steadily year-on-year, from 224 in 2011 to 333 last year, and to 442 this time. What explains this?

Pratap Bose, COO, DDB Mudra Group: I think the juries in the past -- if we go back two or three years -- were far stricter. Therefore, the number of metals was far lower. It's a festival of creativity. The number of entries too has increased; so too has the number of agencies. This, at the end of the day, is good for us. If I may say so, it's a positive attitude of the judges that has led to this change. The jury now says: "'Let's give deserving work at least a Bronze because it was good work.' This was not the case three years ago. So, though I won't use a word as strong as 'lenient', I think the jury has been, well, very generous.

Q. Leo Burnett has won the maximum metals. To what do you attribute this outcome?

Arvind Sharma, Chairman, Indian Sub-Continent, Leo Burnett: Leo Burnett recognises how the nature of advertising is changing. We recognise that we have to have to have excellence across multiple verticals. We have won in television, radio, print, outdoor, digital, across categories. It's not that we wanted to have the maximum number of awards; but we have chased excellence across vertical. This automatically leads to results. As we become excellent in all the verticals, we automatically become the 'numerical' award winner, with the 'largest number' of awards.

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