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McCann's Jitender Dabas shares his wishlist for conversations at Goafest

Dabas took to LinkedIn to share his views on the upcoming event, hoping to see these discussions take place.w

Goafest, the prestigious annual advertising festival, is set to begin in two days, but this year, it will not be held on the sandy beaches of Goa. Instead, the event will take place in Mumbai, a change prompted by upcoming elections. Despite the change in location, the advertising fraternity is set for an engaging and thought-provoking three days in Mumbai.

Jitender Dabas, the chief operating officer and chief strategy officer of McCann WorldGroup India, recently shared his thoughts on the festival via a LinkedIn post.

He expressed mixed feelings about the shift in location, noting the absence of Goa's famous beaches and popular spots like Martin’s Corner. However, he acknowledged that the new venue, situated next to a water body and adorned with palm trees, has its own charm. Dabas highlighted a significant benefit of the Mumbai venue: greater accessibility, especially for young professionals in the city.

Dabas anticipates that the festival will feature the usual elements, such as sessions sponsored by major companies like Google, Meta, and others, along with regional media-sponsored parties and appearances by film stars. However, he also hopes for fresh ideas and discussions to emerge this year.

He outlined his wishlist for the topics he believes should be addressed during the sessions and forums:

Agency Compensation: Dabas raised concerns about whether agencies are being paid fairly by clients. He questioned the current value of creativity, pointing out that while media rates have surged, creative fees have plummeted. He called for an examination of what the industry might be doing wrong.

Talent: The ability of Indian advertising to attract and retain young talent in 2024 is another critical issue for Dabas. He wondered if the industry is becoming a place for overworked individuals and whether it is cultivating future leaders. He stressed the need to make the industry a vibrant and exciting workplace.

New Working Models Between Agencies and Clients: Dabas urged a discussion on the best compensation models for agencies—commissions, retainers, or project-based payments. He also questioned the impact of project-based relationships on brands and whether it's time to rethink agency exclusivity and conflicts.

CEO Expectations: Understanding what CEOs and CMOs want from their agency partners is crucial, according to Dabas. With CMO tenures shortening, he questioned whether marketing or procurement departments are now making agency choices.

The Impact of AI on Indian Advertising: Dabas queried whether the Indian advertising industry is prepared for the influence of artificial intelligence. Given India's status as a software hub, he wondered if there is an opportunity to create an 'India advantage' in this domain.

Dabas concluded by expressing his hope that, if these topics aren't covered at Goafest this year, the Advertising Club, the Advertising Agencies Association of India, or the International Advertising Association would find other occasions to address these vital issues for the industry.

You can read Dabas' full LinkedIn post here.

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