PANAJI: India women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj and acclaimed Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit featured on the concluding day of the 15th edition of Goafest. Mithali and Madhuri were candid in conversation about their initiation and experiences from the early days of their respective careers.

Mithali, talking about her initiation into cricket said, “The very reason I got into cricket was my father.” She fondly recollects her father enrolling her into sports to inculcate a sense of discipline. Taking that further, she also mentioned a time before her class 12 board exams, when her parents coaxed her to choose World Cup selections over examinations. Further, discussing the rising profile of women’s cricket in India, Mithali said that there have been many improvements over the last decade, from training to accessible amenities. She emphasised on the importance of nurturing a sports culture across India.

Mithali also described the feeling when India was eliminated while playing against South Africa in ICC Women’s World Cup 2022. Highlighting the importance of self-control over mental and emotional aspects of one’s being, she stressed the need for a strong and sturdy mindset. The session concluded with a mention of an upcoming movie based on Mithali Raj called ‘Shabaash Mithu’ to release soon.

The Knowledge Seminars by ABP was a star-studded affair with Madhuri Dixit in conversation with actor Tisca Chopra; their talk, insights, and experiences brought to light Madhuri’s journey through her career, her ups and downs, her future projects and much more! She motivated the audience by saying, “I came to the movies very early but started questioning my decision as it was not working for me. But I continued to do good work and Tezaab proved to be an overnight success. So to everyone, things may take time…but always continue to do the good work.”

Meanwhile, the keynote delivered by Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head of India GMS for Meta, enthralled the audience with his insights on the road to the metaverse – interaction and immersion. He spoke about how the internet evolved from a text-based platform, to photos, videos and is now looking at an immersive experience. He added, “Metaverse will feel different. It will have continuity, your presence and will be connected across multiple devices.”

Following the insightful session was a fireside chat on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with Rathi Gangappa, CEO, Starcom India, Dheeraj Sinha, CEO & Chief Strategy Officer, South Asia, Leo Burnett, Rohit Ohri, Chairman & CEO FCB Ulka and Suhela Khan, Country Program Manager, We Empower Asia, UN Women on the panel. The panel passionately spoke about various ways in which Diversity, Equity & Inclusion can be imbibed in organisations across the board. Rathi stated that organisations should begin enabling women and promoting inclusivity. Dheeraj, while answering a question on changes that need to be inculcated, said, “We have to change cultural archetypes.” He emphasized the need to do or change small things that promote a culture of comfort. Suhela, too, stressed on the need to make industries gender-responsive and inculcate the values and principles of women’s empowerment stating statistical proof-points wherein inclusivity has positively impacted business growth.

Followed by an impactful Influencer Session, ‘Celebrating Superpower Within – The Responsible Influencer’ with Ranveer Allahbadia, Niharika NM, Raj Shamani, and Madan Gowri moderated by Viraj Sheth, Co-Founder & CEO of Monk Entertainment. Notably, this forum shared the inception of their journey into content creation. It was revealed that all of them were in different fields before taking on the role of an influencer! The discussion ranged from the relativity and subjectivity of being an influencer to the future of this ‘bubble’. The panel also spoke about the advantages of being a content creator, touching upon the shortcomings of being an influencer, especially while collaborating with a brand. The cruciality of creative freedom was emphasised by the creators.

Thereafter, it was time for another set of Knowledge Seminars by Spotify, which witnessed Rujuta Diwekar, Nutrition Expert & Author in conversation with Anupriya Acharya, CEO-Publicis Groupe, South Asia. Rujuta spoke on how co-morbidities need systemic change and how organisations must create an enabling environment for the employees to exercise, eat well and take afternoon naps. She further added, “Just like the money you invest in mutual funds; start as early as possible with your fitness, and by the end of 20 years you will be much fitter.”

Subsequently, Knowledge Seminars by India Today was led by Kash Sree – Executive Creative Director / Writer, who presented the adverts that he worked on over his career that were undoubtedly avant-garde and ingenious! He said, “If you do something worthwhile for people, they will advertise for you.” Kash also stressed the importance of being data-informed and not data-driven, wherein ads and your communication need to contain relevant truths, truths in culture as well as personal truths. Through a Q&A with Rana Barua, Kash discussed the challenges of fragmented ideas and fragmented mediums and ways to counter them for the brand’s benefit. While entertaining one question from the audience about cancel culture in the industry, he responded, “If you are doing something right, it will piss people off!”

Speaking about Goafest 2022, Anupriya Acharya, President – Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) said, “Goafest 2022 had an electrifying start by celebrating the superpower within. It has grown to become the magnum opus event for the industry. With meaningful sessions and evenings filled with entertainment and fun, the last 3 days of the festival and the ABBYs, truly celebrated excellence and creativity, making Goafest a unique and enthralling experience. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed towards making Goafest 2022 a huge success with their encouragement and moral support. I’d also like to congratulate all the participants and winners in making the ABBYs’ an eventful evening at all three days.”

On awarding the ABBYs at Goafest 2022, Partha Sinha, President – The Advertising Club said, “Goafest has once again proven itself to be an extravaganza that brings together the entire media and creative fraternity. Reinvigorating Goafest after a break of two years was a challenge that we successfully sailed through. After months of dedication and relentless work by the AAAI and The Advertising Club teams, bringing international jury and the enthusiasm witnessed from all has resulted into yet another marvellous festival this year. Our collaboration with The One Show this year proved to be a game changing proposition, making the ABBYs’ even more aspirational. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and also thank the jury for their meticulous and fair evaluation that makes Abby Awards more globally recognised.”

Jaideep Gandhi, Chairman, Goafest 2022 Organising Committee said, “After two difficult years, Goafest 2022 came together to celebrate the true essence of happiness and cheer amongst the industry. Over the last three days, not only did we witness some of the best speakers deliver insightful and encouraging talks, we also witnessed stories of empowerment and futuristic innovation. We also saw some of the brilliant creative minds engage and interact with each other, reiterating the true spirit of the festival. I’d like to congratulate each and every one for their incredible win.”

Speaking about the Abbys Awards, Rana Barua, Chairman, Abby Awards Governing Council 2022 & Vice President of The Ad Club said, “As we come to the conclusion of Day 3 and of Goafest 2022, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the speakers and delegates for taking out time in to make the conference and the awards a great success. This year, we have witnessed an overwhelming response in terms of participation but what is heartening to note is that agencies are making their presence felt, showcasing some brilliant work.”


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