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Goafest and ABBY Awards return after pandemic-induced exile; partnership with The One Show, a major highlight

The aim is to elevate ABBY Awards’ judging to global standards. Several agencies participate after years, and a new ‘Merit’ metal is up for grabs.

Like an eagerly awaited instalment of a hit movie franchise, Goafest and ABBY Awards made a comeback yesterday (May 5, 2022), after a two-year hiatus. There’s the much-touted partnership with The One Show (a premier global awards program), sessions starring more Bollywood folks than ad people and marketers, and the expected revelry of meeting fellow industry people after years.

During a press conference, Partha Sinha, president, Times of India Group and The Advertising Club, remarked that the ABBY Awards had, over the last decade, “become jaded”. There’s a need to elevate its judging to global standards, and then use this partnership to create a sense of “want” among participating agencies and brands.

This year saw participation from nearly 147 companies, with entries in creative and media categories running into the thousands. The 15th edition of the ABBY Awards saw the return of agencies such as Leo Burnett, BBH India, Creativeland Asia and TBWA India. The organisers credited this return to the partnership with The One Show, which streamlines the judging process (three-round global format).

During his opening remarks at the ABBY One Show Awards, Rana Barua, vice president, The Ad Club, and CEO, Havas Group India, said that The One Show had called for an equal number of men and women in the jury panel. So, this year, the gender ratio of the jury panel was 60:40. Out of the 188 judges in 22 categories, 117 were men and 71, women. Coming to the 22 jury chairs, 10 were men and 12, women.

Barua also revealed that this year, there were a total of 2,007 entries in the creative categories, a seven per cent increase from 1,863 entries back in 2019. For the media categories, there were 1,014 entries, a 20 per cent increase from 811 entries in 2019.

A new metal called ‘Merit’ was also introduced. As per the organising team, it will be awarded to those entries that are worthy of a Bronze metal, but missed it by a whisker.

While the awards attracted a big audience, Goafest, with its sessions and masterclasses, wasn’t too far behind.

Anupriya Acharya, president, Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), and CEO, Publicis Groupe South Asia, said that the sessions reflect the present times, such as India being a unicorn land. There was a session featuring Sugar Cosmetics CEO Vineeta Singh, and one on creativity. Cricketers like Mithali Raj and Kapil Dev will also speak during the three-day festival.

On the absence of several agencies, Barua had this to say, “Thank you to the agencies that didn’t participate. You give us purpose to continue and we look forward to your return next year.”

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