After many years,
went to AdAsia with good representation. With 79 people on board it was the second largest delegation after Pakistan ’s imposing 763. The congress lasted three days and laid out a programme that was pretty average on content. AdAsia has been going for a long time. The first congress was held in India in 1958, under the unimaginative title of ‘The First Asian Advertising Conference’. Renamed the Asian Advertising Congress in 1960, AdAsia became a regional advertising force in 1978 with the establishment of the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA), under the chairmanship of Antonio De Joya. It was then that Japan stepped onto the AdAsia scene. Led by Javed Jabbar, then MD of MNJ Communications, Pakistan Pakistan’s first delegation went to in 1978. The next year, Javed Jabbar organised an advertising congress in Manila for Pakistani advertising practitioners. Then in 1989, Pakistan Pakistan held its first (and only) AdAsia in , which turned out to be hugely successful and was considered to be among the best by many regional delegates at the time. Fast track to 2011 and the world of communications is unrecognisable, begging the question of whether the AdAsia format needs to change in order to deliver more value? The objectives of such congresses are twofold. Impart learnings and identify trends, and to provide a networking platform for delegates and speakers. Lahore
As far the networking is concerned such congresses still deliver. The problem presents itself with the content. In today’s world, access to top quality content is possible via a host of websites. Therefore the task of sustaining a top level programme over three days becomes problematic and congresses such as AdAsia need to address this issue and develop alternative formats.
Content apart, attending AdAsia is a great opportunity for delegates to eat, drink and sleep advertising. In such circumstances, ideas bubble and new energy and enthusiasm is infused into what sometimes can seem to be just a job. Which is why it is so essential that our younger professionals attend such events; to be able to exchange ideas with their international counterparts and measure up their work with that of others. They may be able to access the best content from their laptops, communicate with their peers over social media networks, but nothing beats the face to face encounter. So it was disappointing to see that bar a couple of agencies,
’s advertising agencies sent only their CEO or equivalent. This reluctance to invest in people is short sighted and one hopes that some of these agencies heard Kelly Clark, Worldwide CEO, Maxus, when he said that part of the challenge of retaining people is to not only show them the results of their work quickly, but to equip them with smartphones and iPads, even at entry level. The Advertising Association of Pakistan (AAP) needs to widen agency representation so that it covers both the creative and business end as well as deepen it so that younger people are included. Pakistan
Congresses are also a great opportunity for clients to immerse themselves in the world of brands and advertising, and to have it confirmed by agencies other than their own, that whatever it is they are being advised to do by their agency, is indeed the way forward.
’s delegation consisted of 17 clients, which is not a bad start, however, it is important that the AAP look into this, especially on the local company front. Pakistan
Finally, it was disappointing that there was not a single speaker from
. This is again something the AAP must address, and a welcome change would be to have speakers from the younger generation. The advertising industry’s capital is its people, especially its younger people and the AAP must make it part of its broader mandate to change a mindset whereby attending and speaking at international congresses is the remit of senior people only. Pakistan
However, well done to the AAP for putting together a solid delegation. The new AAP President, Imran Syed, CEO, Adcom, is tasked to take forward the work of the outgoing (and first) president, Shahnoor Ahmed. The list is long, and one hopes that one of the tasks will include working towards a larger delegation for Vietnam 2013 – with more agencies, more clients, more media and above all more young people.
First published in the November-December 2011 issue of