Goafest 2019: Viacom18 most creative company in surprise Abby results

Mary Kom made a mark at the event as she spoke of the challenges within and without during her journey to the top of the pecking order
For the first time in the history of the Creative Abby Awards, a company and not an agency was declared the most creative, as big networks kept off the Goafest this year.

Viacom18 won the title of ‘Creative Company of the Year’ on the back of its work for MTV, its youth and music channel, taking home a total of seven metals on Saturday. Metals is industry parlance for awards.

Its tally included one gold, three silver and three bronze metals with a score of 38 points. A gold fetches eight points, a silver six points, and a bronze fetches four points.

At second and third were agencies Cheil and Dentsu Webchutney, while fourth place went to FCB India and Grey India was ranked sixth on the creative list. Cheil took home a total of three gold, one silver and a bronze metal for its work for sportswear brand Adidas, while Dentsu Webchutney had one silver and four bronze metals.

FCB India had three bronze metals and Grey had one silver and a bronze. Their scores were 34 points (Cheil), 22 points (Dentsu Webchutney), 12 points (FCB India) and 10 points (Grey India).

On Friday, Business Standard had reported that at least ten big agencies were not participating in the Creative Abby Awards this year, making it the worst edition in terms of big-name presence.

Apart from Ogilvy, Lowe, Creativeland Asia, BBDO and Leo Burnett — who’ve been absent for a while — regular participants such as Wunderman Thompson (formerly J Water Thompson), McCann, Publicis, Taproot and last year’s ‘Creative Agency of the Year’ winner Social Street were not visible at the fest this year.

Shashi Sinha, chief executive officer of IPG Mediabrands and chairman of the Awards Governing Council for the Abbies this year, said that it was a clear loss for the big agencies.

“There is no disputing the fact that those who didn’t enter, didn’t win. It is their loss,” he said. “However, there was more diversity in terms of participants this year and digital emerged as the big category with 312 entries in this edition versus 199 last year," he said.

Smaller agencies marked their presence well on Saturday, with names such as Innocean Worldwide coming in at fifth spot in the creative list with two silvers, Helios Media coming in at eighth place with one gold, K Silent at ninth position with two bronze, and Autumn Grey, Open Strategy and Design and Sideways Consulting coming in at tenth, eleventh and twelfth, respectively, with one silver each.

Ashish Bhasin, chief executive officer (Greater South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network, said the group had been beefing up talent at Dentsu Webchutney, a digital agency, and focusing hard on improving its ability to provide cutting-edge solutions to clients.

The result was that the agency won across a spectrum brands on Saturday, including names such Swiggy, Flipkart, Chakra Tea (a regional tea brand from central India), Bollywood movie Uri: The Surgical Strike and Jaslok Hospital (located in Mumbai).

Dentsu Webchutney was also declared as the ‘Digital Specialist Agency of the Year’ on Saturday, while Cheil was the ‘Branded Content & Entertainment Specialist Agency of the Year’.

Mary Kom has her day

Saturday belonged to boxer Mary Kom at the Goafest. She spoke of the challenges within and without as she made her way to the top of the pecking order. In particular, she narrated the struggle of convincing her parents about her career choice at a time when boxing was barely popular as a sport. Ironically, her exposure to boxing came from watching action films, not boxing matches. "I thought if men can do it (action), then why can't women?," she said.

In conversation with Pankaj Tripathi

The final session on Saturday belonged to Bollywood actor Pankaj Tripathi. Known for his natural acting style, Tripathi, who was once rejected by the National School of Drama and struggled for years before being noticed in the Gangs of Wasseypur films in 2012, wowed audiences at the Goafest. Currently visible in the web series 'Criminal Justice' on Hotstar, Tripathi said: “Sometimes, you feel bad when things don't work out. But years later, you are thankful that it didn't. Life has better things in store. Like it had for me.”

Top 5 (Creative Company of the Year)

Viacom18: Gold: 1, Silver: 3, Bronze: 3

Cheil India: Gold: 3, Silver: 1, Bronze: 1

Dentsu Webchutney: Gold: Nil, Silver: 1, Bronze: 4

FCB India: Gold: Nil, Silver: Nil, Bronze: 3

Innocean Worldwide: Gold: Nil, Silver: 2, Bronze: Nil

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel