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Will addition of new digital subcategories in Goafest 2010 help grow the industry?

by Satrajit Sen

Goafest 2010, India’s most prestigious national advertising awards festival organized by The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in association with The Advertising Club Bombay, has increased the number of Interactive Digital Advertising subcategories to 13 from the last year’s five.

by Satrajit Sen

Goafest 2010, India’s most prestigious national advertising awards festival organized by The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in association with The Advertising Club Bombay, has increased the number of Interactive Digital Advertising subcategories to 13 from the last year’s five.

AlooTechie spoke to some of the leaders in the digital advertising industry to explore what led to this development in one year and also to understand if the addition of new subcategories will further confuse the brand marketers on deciding how to spend on the digital medium.

While in 2009, the entries were invited under the generic digital categories such as website; web banner; viral and email marketing; mobile innovation; and integrated digital campaign using any two of the above; for the Goafest 2010 the organisers have invited entries under specific digital categories Interactive Digital Advertising which includes website (consumer goods); website (consumer durables); website (service); website (corporate); web banners, pop ups and rich media; branded content for internet including games; creative use of social media; creative use of viral or online video; and integrated online campaign using at least 2 of the above media website; and Mobile that covers wapsite; branded content for mobile including games; best app for mobile; and integrated mobile experience using at least two mobile subcategories.

Citing reasons for adding these new subcategories, Ajay Chandwani, chairman, Creative Abby Awards, Goafest 2010 and director, Percept H, said, “Digital space has witnessed a large increase in activities and experimentation. Rich media, applications, content, gaming, online video, virals etc have all made a mark. With so many new digital agencies participating we took notice of the feedback of the digital fraternity and introduced several new sub-categories.”

Chaya Brian Carvalho, founder and CEO, BC Web Wise, and a Goafest jury member for the last three years, said that there was a lack of categorisation of digital entries earlier. “The inclusions of new subcategories definitely make a difference when you view an entry in the same light as another in a totally non-related segment. Probably, this was also one of the reasons why Digital has not been able to even attract more than 3 to 5 awards a year. Hence, we had taken a call at the close of last year’s jury session that it was our responsibility to recommend and drive change. Fortunately, we have stalwarts like Ajay Chandwani who extended their complete support to these recommendations, and they have been catalysts to the change we so much need,” Carvalho added.

Carlton D’Silva, creative director, Hungama Digital Media, said, “I believe that digital as a communication media is a suppressed one, but still there is a lot of work that is done in this medium. We needed the new categories to give due credit to the same work. You cannot compare a film website with a fashion portal which is like comparing apples with oranges.”

“The works sent across last year were of high quality, but they did not fit the description that they were submitted under. We needed to give credit to the same and have them compete with similar entries rather than something that is substantially different that has the liberty to have no limitations in creativity,” added D’Silva.

According to Vikas Tandon, managing director, Indigo Consulting, the addition of new digital subcategories at Goafest 2010 is not only an acknowledgement of the fact that digital is now an integral part of a marketer’s media mix rather it is also an indication of the growing maturity of the medium, and the sophisticated ways in which it is beginning to be used. “It is clearly an understanding of the different skills and strategies that go into crafting customised solutions for each client and vertical. The jury recognises that the earlier categorisation was not sufficient to match the growing sophistication of the digital media,” added Tandon.

Speaking about whether the new subcategories will confuse brand managers in deciding how to spend on digital, Gaurav Sharma, business head, C2W Digital, said, “The offerings in the digital media including mobile spoil a brand owner for choice. Each of the subcategories included have a very specific purpose and today’s evolved brand custodian knows exactly what they want from the medium. It is a boon that there is choice as each exists to serve a specific purpose. In as far as the budgets that clients allocate towards online are concerned, we have seen in the last year that they have been on the rise when you compare it with their overall spends.”

According to Chaya Brian Carvalho of BC Web Wise, Digital spends may still be small, but with the role it plays, it has become a very significant piece of the marketing pie. “Because of the technological dimensions of this medium, it has taken its time to attract more spends. However, already there is significant impact the communication on this medium is making with the most critical audience segments, whether a brand is investing money in it or not. Hence, future of the digital media will demand much more attention from marketers even if they might like to live without it,” added Carvalho.

Vikas Tandon of Indigo Consulting hoped that marketers would not plan their digital spends based on award categories, but based on their business needs as it is the business requirement that should dictate what the client should spend on.

Carlton D’Silva of Hungama, however, felt that the added subcategories would make it easier as these are more defined and as for the 2-3 per cent media budget spent on digital, “I am sure we will see a substantial increase in that in the next year.”

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