Here is why ABBY’s Golden Jubilee is different

Goafest 2018

Social Samosa’s Mrinil Rajwani shares insights from Goafest 2018 – the reportedly bigger, better, and trendier version of the ad fests from the yesteryear

If you belong to the world of advertising and marketing, one thing you cannot miss is one of the biggest advertising festivals hosted by The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in association with the Advertising Club, GOAFEST. And it’s their 13th edition. Held in North Goa between 5th to 7th April, 2018, Goafest 2018, is a lot more than we expected.

But something that our industry awaits for all year long is the ABBY’s. Positioned as the Oscars of Indian ads, The Advertising Club aims to honour creative excellence in the industry. With 2018 being the Golden Jubilee Year, the organising team has really put the best foot forward to take the laurel of this prestigious award a notch higher.

Ajay Kakar, Chairman of the Awards Governing Council, talks on how the 50th edition of ABBY’s is different and why they chose to take these steps.

ABBY’s is known for its glorious history and he wants to take the prestige to a new high. Addressing the concerns of participants, industry front-runners, and the youth of today, ABBY’s is judged by people who never won the award themselves, thus adding the factor of lack of trust in the jury. Thus, the organising committee decided to bring in the concept of “JURY OF MASTERS” across all categories.

With the who’s who and stalwarts of the industry comprising the panel, the jury itself is inspiring and worth mentioning, including names like Prasoon Joshi, CEO of McCann World Group India and Chairman (Asia Pacific), Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative Officer and Managing Director South Asia, Publicis Worldwide, Sidharth Rao, CEO and Co-founder, Dentsu Webchutney (Digital and mobile and digital craft), Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World (Media), Raj Nair, CEO and CCO, Madison BMB (Direct), and more.  Panel of 15 industry masters to say the least.

A similar concept was also introduced for Creative ABBY’s. What is worth mentioning is that this year’s judging process included a single jury panel scanning through all the categories, bringing in consistency and seamless-ness to the whole affair. The Master Jury judged Round 1 and Round 2 to avoid any discrepancy.

Vikram Sakhuja, President The Advertising Club, explains that the idea of revolutionising the awards categories and rationalising them was taking the disruptive yet well thought step of reducing the number of categories with a significant number. For Creative ABBY’s the number was reduced to eight with eight sub categories. Considering that Digital is a technology medium, it has been merged with other parent categories.

When asked about his experience of Goafest 2018, Vikram says, “The speakers are getting better, the jury is getting more invested, the overall experience has been fabulous, there is a fair degree of passion in this entire brand, for me it’s more of a revolution”

The ad club members agree that these changes will lead to disproportionately large impact on the number of entries, revenue and the perception of the award. They mentioned that  despite the reduction in the categories to less than half, the entries received were much higher than expected.

But the good news is that the award titled “Agency of the Year” is re-instilled across categories. Another new entrant category is ‘Specialist Agency of the Year’  to not only recognize the work but also the agencies that are creating this work.

As mentioned by Ashish Bhasin, Chairman, Goafest 2018 and Chairman & CEO, South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network and Vice-President of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), the aim is to be “The world’s best advertising festival and we are slowly making progress in that direction.”

Ashish Bhasin stated that they revamped Goafest this year and aim to take the three day fest to the next level. They have raised the standards of getting speakers on board and get quality speakers, not just from the advertising sector but also from related creative industries, as well as leaders from other spheres. In addition to advertising stalwarts, folks at the fest likes to listen to wide variety of speakers from related industries too.

Last year was the first time when Digital Technology was introduced and this year they have taken it a step ahead and made the interactions more engaging. The audience can post questions from the app and the same are taken to the speaker at the end of the session.  

Every year, 2500+ people from marketing, advertising, media, research and PR fraternity participate in the GOAFEST.

Some numbers to go through –

Number of entries this year – 3033

Last year – 4884

Number of agencies this year –  255 (198 creative agencies)

Last year 348(254 creative agencies)

Having said that the day 3 of the festival, seems to be exciting and interesting for the folks of digital industry.


With a love for coffee and reading, passion for social media and a flair for perfection, Mrinil heads Marketing, Strategic Alliances, and Operations at Social Samosa. In her capacity as a managing partner, she is on a journey to help Social Samosa scale new heights. Over the past four years, she has worked with a blogging platform and a food-tech product leading social media practice with precision. She believes in adding value to work every day. An amazing cook, ardent reader, music lover, she loves playing basketball too. Follow her @DigitalChhokri on Twitter/Instagram.