Suraj Ramnath

"49 years back, Abby stood for creative excellence; it still does": Nakul Chopra

Has Goafest got its mojo back?

This year, 2,300 delegates attended Goafest. Last year, there were 2,100. This year, there was a 25 per cent hike in number of entries; the number went up from 3,475 to 4,460.

"49 years back, Abby stood for creative excellence; it still does": Nakul Chopra

Has Goafest got its mojo back?

As the dust settles on the recently concluded three-day-long fest, we bring you a quick interview with Nakul Chopra, CEO, Publicis South Asia, and chairman, Goafest 2016 Organising Committee.

Edited Excerpts.

This year, there was a rise in the number of entries and delegates. To what do you attribute this spike?

Last year we put up a successful show. The message was loud and clear - Goafest is back with a bang. This year, we are reaping the benefit of that. That motivated people to come here.

This year, the entire judging process was taken online and was done on an electronic voting system.

Few years back, it looked like Goafest was on a downward slope, with all the controversy around it, big agencies boycotting it, festival heads resigning, allegations of it being a 'scamfest'...

Around three to four years ago, there was a substantial dip.

It wasn't just one thing that went wrong. There were different problems back then.

Firstly, there were issues with the awards process. We had not anticipated it... we had to make a special case, and that happens sometimes. Whatever was done was done with the best intent.

I can understand that some agencies were hurt by the way it went off. Since then, we have re-examined and re-laid the process to make sure it is tight, and it works. And the result of that is - agencies are coming back in a big way to the awards show.

Secondly, the festival had become a little repetitive in nature and it was, coincidentally, losing its mojo, to borrow your phrase. We re-invented both, the awards and the fest... and here we are.

I would say it is a cyclical thing. Such a thing can happen to big brands. They may not have a good quarter or a good year but we should not consider that the fate/future of that brand.

Here, of course, it is run by the association. The same people are doing it year on year, and it is great that we have all come together and we made it work.

How has the 'Abby' as a concept evolved over the years? What did it stand for when it started and what does it stand for now?

49 years back, Abby stood for creative excellence and it still stands for that. There is no change in that.

The industry loves creative awards but also loves to trash and bash them. Agency heads say they don't care about awards, and yet awards seem to make the industry go round. What's the solution to this dichotomy?

I am an agency head standing in front of you. Show me one place, one time, anywhere, where I have said I don't care about awards. So don't paint all agency heads in one stroke.

Secondly, more than our industry, it's the press that trashes awards; you should stop doing that.

Thirdly, in all competition there is human nature; there are those who think the process went well and those who think it didn't. This happens in all awards whether it's this or international awards. We don't take it so seriously.

Lastly, to what extent is Goafest threatened by the popularity/impending launch of other local creative awards? What does the future look like? Will they all co-exist happily?

I haven't heard about any other awards being this popular.

There are 2,500 people here... all big agencies are here.

Have news to share? Write to us