'Listen to the people'; Bachchan’s message at AdAsia 2003 opening

JAIPUR: Ad Asia 2003 got off to a rousing start this morning with the chief guest and India’s ultimate entertainment icon Amitabh Bachchan lighting the traditional lamp. And the message he had to give for the assembled delegates: “Don’t break the rules just for the sake of breaking the rules. Listen to the voice of the people while you’re at it.”



The doubters would have wondered at the start of it all. What’s the deal here? Bollywood superstar Bachchan opening the Asian Advertising Congress Ad Asia 2003? Had organisers Advertising Council of India missed a beat here? In the end, it was an apt choice as the Big B lived up to the title of “ultimate communicator” given to him in the address by AFAA chairman and Advertising Avenues MD Goutam Rakshit.

Bachchan drew on experiences from his own life to send across his message that, “Being different for the sake of being different is not going to help you connect to the millions of people who will help make a difference.” Bachchan ended his speech to thundering applause exhorting the audience to “tap the collective consciousness of ordinary people by attempting to look into their collective minds.” In this age of hardballed consumerism, just nice sound bytes? Maybe, but an interesting message to send out nevertheless.

The welcoming address by Pradeep Guha, chairman Ad Asia organising committee and president Times of India Group, harked upon Brand India as representing a “resurgent India, an Asian powerhouse with global ambitions.”

In his closing comments, Guha was at full throttle adspeak, promising the audience they would go away from the convention “intellectually ignited, culturally enlightened and personally charmed.”

As for the attendance, it was a full house with 1,400 speakers and delegates representing 20 countries. The closing speech at the inauguration were made by Jean Claude Boulous, world president, International advertising association. Boulous said that this region was looked upon as a 'land of emerging economies of advertising creativity, as countries of advanced technology and extremely interesting investments for advertisers, ad agencies and media.' According to him advertising was, by some, seen as creating unnecessary needs, was encouraging waste and developing costly attitude. He urged the ad fraternity to work towards demonstrating that advertising could be a tool for promoting sustainable and responsible behaviours around the world in order to avoid being looked at as 'polluters through communication.'

On the cultural front, the theme of the convention, “Break The Rules,” was sought to be represented in a Kathak dance evocation by noted danseuse Aditi Mangaldas. She interspersed classical Kathak with contemporary dance forms in an exhilarating performance that set the stage for the speeches that followed.

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