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A mini-Goa in Mumbai, 3,500+ entries, Lowe Lintas returns after decades: the Goafest deets

The annual event will happen at the Powai Westin Hotel in Mumbai from May 29-31, 2024. 

Nobody expected Goafest to move to Mumbai. But, then again, it’s the same industry which told us ‘dar kea aage jeet hai’ and ‘that running onto a cricket pitch with a chocolate in your hand’ is all right; expect the ad folks to pull off such a caper. 

An annual event, Goafest is a three-day fair of panels, masterclasses, and the Abby One Show awards – India’s most famous advertising awards. 

Its move to Mumbai this year did raise eyebrows, and tongues wagged. But, the show must go on. Goafest will take place in Maximum City at the Powai Westin Hotel from May 29-31, 2024. 

“I think the most important thing is that we are not taking a break. We got a lot of encouragement from everyone around us,” says Prashant Kumar (PK), president, the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and CEO, GroupM, South Asia. 

We have found “a mini-Goa kind of a situation in Mumbai,” states Jaideep Gandhi, chairman of the organising committee, and asserts the committee have found unique ways of letting people network and that event is packaged to ensure people learn and have fun at the same time. 

The chairman says Goafest welcomed 1600+ people last year and thinks, “We can easily cross that this year.”

When asked about delegates attending a single panel or two, and then leaving the event to attend a nearby meeting or only visit for the awards in the evening, the organisers acknowledge it was on their minds in the beginning but not anymore. 

“We will have two or three entertainment sessions per day which will ensure that people do not go out of the venue and they keep continuing their patronage of Goa Fest,” explains Mohit Joshi, co-chair, and CEO, Havas Media Group. 

No big event is complete without its sponsors, of course. “… what was important was to be truthful and honest and we said that the purpose of doing it was to ensure that we don’t break. I think everybody really supported the fact,” reveals how the committee explained the event’s move to Mumbai. 

The entire event is being pushed under the aegis of ‘Age of Adaptability’. When asked to explain, PK says it's about harnessing the change and looking at the challenges and opportunities and making them a situation where we can all win.

The ABBY One Show Awards 

The panels and masterclasses and the networking are unmissable aspects of Goafest. On the other hand, every second person attending does so for the awards held every evening. 

It is the 55th year of the Abby Awards powered by One Show in 2024.

“What makes us unique from any of the other ones around us, including international is the fact that as you know, we are of the industry, by the industry, and for the industry,” states Ajay Kakar, chairperson of Awards Governing Council, and Managing Committee Member, The Advertising Club. 

This, he says, is the first reason for the awards’ success. The second reason is that the awards committee keeps its ears to the ground. Every year the awards committee holds a town hall where it calls folks from servicing, planning, creative agencies, and clients to ensure the awards are up to date. 

Here’s a breakdown of the Abby Awards powered by One Show in 2024: 

• Participation from media agencies - 73 this year against 63 last year

• Participation from creative companies – 198 this year against 181 last year

• Entries from media agencies – 1258 this year against 1019 last year

• Entries from creative companies – 2248 this year against 2282 last year

• Total entries – 3506 this year over 3301 from last year

• The introduction of three new age categories – Digital, Mobile, and Technology, has collectively garnered 626 entries from 75 companies

• Panel of 23 Jury Chairs and 204 jurors across 23 categories

• 68 female judges contributing to a ratio of 33:67

• Out of the 23 Jury Chairs, 9 were women, reflecting a ratio of 40:60

• 53 new, young, award-winning judges were introduced to the process, making an impressive 26% of the jury, this year

• Returning agencies - Lowe Lintas, McCann WorldgroupIndia, DDB Mudra, Famous Innovations, among others. 

• The Abby Awards 2024 powered by One Show employs a rigorous judging process, combining the renowned One Show system of shortlist and award rating with independent verification by KPMG

• New categories: 

o Introduced Best Use of AI sub-category in both digital and technology verticals. Additionally, Copywriting for web and digital craft has been added in still digital and digital verticals

o A new vertical called Health has been added this year with sub-categories such as OTC Oral Medicines, OTC Products, and Nutraceuticals among others. A new specialist agency award being introduced is Health Specialist of the Year for the best performance by a company in this vertical.

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