They call it Goafest and the branding is apt enough; the annual get-together of the advertising industry is very much a festive occasion, with an incredible number of awards being handed out to the great and good in the creative field. In between the wild partying and bouts of introspection, it’s all very ego-massaging and self-congratulatory—this year, an incredible 419 awards were handed out. (Last year, there were 318). The Oscars, the most watched award show globally, are given in just 25 categories.
Here’s the bottomline: Goafest faces virtually the same problems it did when it was instituted a decade ago. Amidst the bright lights, the vodka shots and the blaring music, what’s gone missing are the marquee ad agencies and industry gurus. Over the years, India’s leading agencies—such as Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett, Creativeland Asia and BBDO India—have boycotted the event for various reasons, not the least being the credibility of the award process and the standard of judging. This year highlighted another concern—the lack of creativity. Goafest 2016 featured not a single Grand Prix award-winner in the creative and media fields. These categories attracted a total of 4,460 entries.