11 April 2011

Goafest, not adfest: Shujoy Dutta, JWT Planning, Delhi raves a bit and rants a bit

This was my first GoaFest and I don’t know if the words ‘deeply disappointing’ adequately capture my feelings. Before I get to what was good, let me rant. What is Goafest a celebration of? Shorts? Beer? It certainly didn’t feel like a celebration of advertising. Press was entirely Scam. So was outdoor, only film where budgets are a deterrent and integrated felt like it was bona fide. I can’t understand why juries continue to award this sort of work. Also, why are there so many categories in press and so few for new media/ emerging media – the festival seems out of sync with the world and catering to scam ads. I really think they need to rethink the festival – in fact all Creative festivals. It’s just fuelling the wrong approach to advertising. We should start awarding clients and not Creatives for a start. The Best film Oscar goes to the Producer not the director – it should be the same with awards. Perhaps then some more sense will prevail.

The seminars

For me the highlight was Robin Wight president, Engine and WCRS, who spoke on how Neuroscience will change the way we advertise. He took precepts from evolutionary biology of the brain and abstracted the implications on Brands and marketing. For eg. Peacocking – or having resources to waste, is a sign of affluence and stability and hence attracts attention and inspires confidence. What was also interesting was his point that the brain is a cognitive miser and hence prefers action that use less brain power. Hence the preference for Brands in general. As Brands are a shorthand for trust, quality and prior cases of satisfaction.

Susan Clark of the Economist also made some startling observations on Social Media – showing how brands that were the buzziest and held in the highest regard were surprisingly passive in Social Media. She went on say that as far as social media was concerned it was important for Brands to decide whether they were using the medium to listen to their consumers or to talk to them. Bittu Sahgal, editor Sanctuary magazine, presented some more extremely disturbing facts, figures and pictures about the environment and how the climate is weirding and will get worse. He urged us all to wake up and be more honest.

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