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Goafest 2011: India's ad industry lacks insight, says Crowe

Anamika Butalia     April 10, 2011

What an ad fest really does is bring research, insights and intelligent branding decisions, says Charlie Crowe, Founder, Festival of Media.

In 2006, Charlie Crowe noticed that the $500 billion global advertising industry had little interaction with their media partners outside the work environment. This gave Crowe an idea that went on to transform the relationship of the two industries. He founded the Festival of Media in London, UK, and began a festival that was very Goafest-esque, one that has grown larger by leaps and bounds.

"The idea was to bridge the gap between media corporations and advertising gurus," says Crowe about the festival's agenda. "The insight that led to the decision of starting Festival of Media was the fact that despite the number of years that two agencies may have worked together, their out-of-office communications were miniscule."

Crowe says that the world's total adspend is at about $470 billion for the year 2011. Of this, India's adspend in 2011 is predicted at $6.4 billion, about 1.4 per cent of the global figure.

"In the context of India," reveals Crowe, "there is extensive amount of research to be proud of but the industry here lacks insight." He says the industry needs to work harder on concepts such as brand realisation and international status' of competiting brands. "India is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, so it will be refreshing to see smaller companies competiting with the bigwigs of the industry," adds Crowe.

On visiting Goafest, Crowe says it will soon begin to change media structures. "Seminars and workshops like the kind conducted here will make media planning agencies and advertisers re-think about the branding strategies that they are currently churning out."

He adds that while brands may not necessarily add to the budget, they will definitely shift portions of their budgets towards interactive and quantitative advertising and marketing. Crowe says 20 per cent of the global adspend is being diverted towards online media channels. Digital, search media will see revenue that was meant for television or prints; leading to the tumbling perceived value of traditional media.

Crowe's only concern with the change in the trend is privacy, particularly of the target audience - not an insurmountable task but one that needs to be addressed.

As he speaks of his Festival of Media that has been hosted in exotic locales across Europe, he discloses the memorable nexus formed at his festivals.

Quirky as it sounds, three prominent figures from different sectors put their heads together to create a gameplan that was totally unconventional. They were the global head of Yahoo!, the head of one of the world's largest media buying agency, and a Hollywood agent, all seated on the same table. Their plans, he says, will be disclosed sometime this year.

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