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AdAsia 2011: The celebrations begin on a high note

The largest Asian advertising congress event, with 1,200 delegates, was opened by I&B Minister Ambika Soni, followed by a tongue-in-cheek address by actor Shah Rukh Khan

Neha Saraiya| Delhi | November 2, 2011

It is the biggest event for Asian advertising and is celebrated every two years. The participants even call themselves AdAsians. The last time it was held in Malaysia, in 2009. Back in India after eight years, AdAsia 2011 kicked off in style yesterday at Taj Palace, New Delhi, brimming with excitement with over 1,200 delegates and a high-powered international line-up of speakers. Day 1 of the congress began with a musical note of the anthem of the Republic of AdAsia sung by the Shillong Choir Group.

Madhukar Kamath, Chairman of Organising Committee, AdAsia 2011, welcoming the delegates’ representatives from various member countries on stage, said, “This AdAsia is setting new records with the entire Western world looking at India.”

Pradeep Guha, Chairman, Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA), addressing the audience, said, “The topic of this year’s conference, ‘Uncertainty: The new certainty’, is something that we have all attempted to grapple with over the years as the universal truth of life -- change. This time, a radical revolution of technology has been galloping over the last two years.”

Providing a peep into the evolution of Indian story of advertising from 1948-2010, industry veterans Bal Mundkur and Gerson da Cunha introduced a book, titled ‘Ad Katha’, authored by Anand Halve and Anita Sarkar. Da Cunha mentioned that the ad industry, currently estimated at Rs 30,000 crore, needs creative ideas that touched and moved consumers.

To give a global perspective, Alan Rutherford, President, IAA, spoke about the trend he has been observing in Europe, wherein advertising and media have not been so collaborative as it used to be before. “Advertisers must trust their agency to come up with great inevitable solutions for their brands, agencies need to work with their clients like their own brands, and media owners need to work closely with client and agencies to develop long-term solutions,” he said.

Addressing the gathering and lighting the lamp, Ambika Soni, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, said, “I am afraid that I cannot say that I am a member of AdAsia, because of the job I happen to be doing at the moment, but if anybody was to take my opinion on what I would like to be after all these years of experience of living, I would like to say somewhere near the advertising world.”

Soni also talked about India’s economic growth including the overall literacy rate that has grown in 2011 Census by 10 points to reach over 74 per cent. That has led a boom in the print media as more than 107 million copies get circulated daily in the country. As for the Internet, there are 100 million users today. The television media has increased from ten TV channels in 1999 to 800 channels beaming in to 140 million homes today, she pointed out.

She further stated, “Media measurement systems in readership and TV ratings needs to be robust and reflective of the country’s demographic realities and its social cultural economic diversities. Therefore, they need to be constantly upgraded by the industry itself.”

Concluding the opening session, actor Shah Rukh Khan shared his understanding of advertising in a witty manner. He talked about how he was among the early ones to start the trend of celebrity advertising, even though fellow actor Anil Kapoor had cautioned him. He talked about the brands that he has endorsed over 20 years including Omega watches, Zandu Chawanprash, Santro car and many more.

SRK’s advise to AdAsians? “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”

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