Ad Asia overawes with cultural extravaganza

JAIPUR: "Shock and awe."




To an ad man, that could well have represented the Ad Asia 2003 organising committee’s thematic motif on Monday night, at the gala dinner held at the stunningly grandiose City Palace, abode of the Maharaja of Jaipur.

And the underlying message to Singapore city, the hosts of AdAsia 2005 – “Try and beat this.”

It was a hark back to the bygone feudal era of the Maharajas that was recreated for the assembled guests last night at the City Palace, right from the red carpet welcome gate which had two liveried elephants on either side with rose petals being showered on the guests as they walked in. The ramparts of the palace were lit up not by your usual light bulbs but by the traditional wooden fires burning (or at least this writer thinks it was wood being burnt as these fires were burning all round the palace walls).

Crowned beauties at Tuesday's do

An old British couple who had come for the ceremonies were simply awestruck by the opulence of the whole thing and the Japanese delegates (at least they looked Japanese) were true to type, clicking away and with camcorders in action.

As for the turnout, anyone who was anyone from the field of advertising and media was in attendance. And barring Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, who was in Hong Kong at the briefing, announcing Michelle Guthrie as the new CEO of Star Asia (see Star appoints Michelle Guthrie as CEO), there was a good sprinkling of TV head honchos to be seen.

Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra, SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta and his whole A-list team, MTV India bossman Alex Kuruvilla and NDTV Media CEO Raj Nayak were among those that this writer chanced to meet.

As for the night’s entertainment at was jazz maestro Siva Mani and evergreen crooner Usha Uthup who were on stage. With the light moments provided by MTV VJs Cyrus Broacha and Sophia and Miss World 2000 Priyanka Chopra giving some spiel.

Talking of Chopra, she was taken around the inner palace courtyard in a liveried carriage decked in her Miss World regalia (crown and gown and what not).

That was a downside to the night’s proceedings. The upside was the chance this writer had to be driven in a 1944 Packard, which the chauffeur said was world’s first air conditioned automobile. Now that’s called regal carriage.

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