Five days that could change your professional life: AdAsia 2003

The Advertising Council of India (ACI), apex body of advertising, media and allied associations in India, held its road show for the biennial Asian Advertising Congress at the Oberoi Towers on 21 August 2003.

After 21 years, the 23rd Asian Advertising Congress or AdAsia 2003 will be held in India - more specifically the pink city of Jaipur between 10-14 November 2003. It is a matter of great pride and prestige for India's A&M fraternity since the opportunity to be a part of AdAsia comes once in a blue moon. The previous two AdAsia congress sessions were held in India in 1970 and 1982.

Aditya Birla Group is the lead sponsor and Videocon group is the associate sponsor for AdAsia 2003. In fact, AdAsia organising committee president Pradeep Guha announced that the sponsors have contributed an amount of Rs 40 million for AdAsia 2003. The other sponsors include Reliance India Mobile, Sony Entertainment Television, CNBC, Jet Airways, Citibank, Infosys, Heinz, Toyota, Ramada, Mont Blanc, Lakme, Star TV, Tata group, UB group, Chateau Indage, Hindustan Lever Limited, Philips, Samsung and Coca Cola.

Addressing the cr?me de la cr?me of Mumbai's advertising fraternity at the Oberoi Towers were AdAsia organising committee president Pradeep Guha, Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) and ACI chairman Gautam Rakshit, AdAsia planning committee chairman Ramesh Narayan and other committee members such as Lowe Lintas and Partners MD Prem Mehta, AdAsia media relations chairman Peter Mukerjea and vice chairman Bharat Kapadia amongst others.

The cost of sponsoring a delegate is as follows:

Early bird
With spouse
Indian delegates
Rs 25,000
Rs 30,000
Rs 15,000
Foreigner delegates

Guha estimates that the cost of sending a delegate to Jaipur would work out to a sum between Rs 40,000-50,000 for the entire AdAsia 2003.

The AdAsia 2003 logo that breaks rules

In sync with the theme - organisations that anticipate discontinuity, prepare for discontinuity and exploit discontinuity become successful companies of tomorrow - O&M India group president and national creative director Piyush Pandey created the match box logo. Pandey's message to the AdAsia 2003 committee was: "The intention is to stay away from the logos that were created for the previous Ad Asia congresses. The matchbox is a symbol of discontinuity - the idea of breaking the rules is encapsulated in the visual's potential energy that has the power to spark off and explode; and usher in a new mindset." Whew, that's clearly out of the 'box' thinking!

Matter of prestige and pride - Pradeep Guha

In his keynote address, Guha stated that all the associations such as INS (Indian Newspaper Society), ISA (Indian Society of Advertisers), IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation), AAAI (Advertising Agencies Association of India), ICIAA (Indian Chapter of the International Advertising Association) and The Advertising Club, Bombay had joined hands to ensure that AdAsia 2003 was a resounding success.

Guha reminded the assembled audience that India had been trying to host the biennial AdAsia 2003 since 1996. "We failed in the past because the AAFA committee felt that India couldn't attract good speakers; the Indian ad fraternity wasn't competent enough to put on a good show; and would seek AFAA funds as it wouldn't be able to find sponsors. In 1999, we went prepared for the pitch presentation and did everything right - the presenting team comprised a large delegation including a Miss World winner. Today, I can proudly announce that India is the only country in Asia that hasn't asked the AFAA for a single dollar for AdAsia 2003."

High power AdAsia 2003 Advisory Board

A high profile advisory committee - AdAsia Advisory Board - was formed in early 2000 to conceptualise an elaborate plan for the convention. Headed by Hindustan Lever Limited chairman MS Banga, the high powered Board had members such as Anand Mahindra (MD and VC, Mahindra and Mahindra), MK Khanna (CEO, JWT India), Rajeev Bakshi (chairman, Pepsico India), Rajeev Chandrashekhar (chairman, BPL Innovision group), Nandan Nilekani (MD, Infosys) amongst others. The members of the Board unanimously decided that AdAsia 2003 should 'Break the rules' and this was selected as the theme of the congress. The board also felt that AdAsia 2003 should go beyond the confines of the advertising fraternity and address the needs of management, media, advertising and marketing professionals.

Sessions that will help you break the rules

The sessions that are targeted at CEOs who would like to drive change; marketing wizards who want to build memorable brands; ad professionals who want to explore the power of advertising; creative mavericks who want to shape up the future of Asian advertising; media hotshots who want a new world of access.

The schedule is as follows:

Day Zero - Monday, 10 November

Maharaja welcome dinner

Day 1 - Tuesday, 11 November

Session I - Inauguration; Session II - Perspectives; Session III - Cult Branding; Session IV - Taking on the market leader; Session V - Shaping the future of communication; Session VI - celebrating the best of Asian Advertising.

Day 2 - Wednesday, 12 November

Chairman's round table session featuring the helmsmen of Indian conglomerates such as Reliance group's Mukesh Ambani and AV Birla group's Kumar Mangalam Birla. The session will be moderated by Ian Batey.

Discover Jaipur Day and Dentsu - AdAsia Jaipur Golf tournament.

Day 3 - Thursday, 13 November

Session I - Perspectives; Session II - Building great brands; Session III Asia - the making of the new super power; Session IV and V - Delivering audiences; Session VI - celebrating the best of Asian advertising.

Day 4 - Friday, 14 November

Session I - Perspectives; Session II and III - Campaigns that build great brands; Session IV - marketing to the entire consumer pyramid and social marketing; Session V - celebrating the best of Asian advertising (names such as Yukio N from Japan, Woong Hyun Pak from Korea, Ramon Jimeng from the Philippines, Piyush Pandey from India, Jureeporn Thaidumrong from Singapore); Session VI - summing up -the future shape of work

Venue that will break the rule

The theme of breaking the rules was apparent even in the choice of venues. New Delhi was the venue for the previous AdAsia congresses held in India (1970 and 1982). This time, the venue chosen was the pink city of Jaipur. AdAsia 2003 would be held at the Birla Convention Centre located in the heart of Japur. The centre is a blend of old and contemporary Indian architecture and is built on a sprawling 9.5 acre plot (25,000 sq ft). The fully air conditioned auditorium has a capacity of 1,300 people in a two tier seating arrangement and is well equipped with state of the art modern facilities.

Participants will cherish memory of their interactions at AdAsia 2003: AFAA and ACI chairman Gautam Rakshit

In his inimitable style laced with humourous anecdotes and customary jibes, Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) and ACI chairman Gautam Rakshit made a preview presentation on AdAsia 2003.

Excerpts from Rakhsit's presentation:

* AdAsia 2003 advisory board members felt that the canvas of the congress must be enlarged to encompass professionals from marketing, media, management and advertising. In fact, Vindi Banga (HLL chairman) felt that there was a need to raise the bar and surpass the standards set by the previous congress conventions. Raising the bar would entail making AdAsia 2003 an effective way of changing the way in which business leaders look at their business.

* The strong consensus was that the five days (10-14 November 2003) must also result in changing the way in which the Asian industry looks at itself. India has the potential to play a significant part in making Asia the next economic super power. However, there is a need to imbibe new learnings that will ensure that India becomes a mass consumer economy in the true sense. AdAsia 2003 will give a clarion call or an awakening alarm that will empower Indian professionals to prepare for the future.

* There is a strong need to separate the "urgent" from the "important". Most professionals get bogged down in the "urgent" and forget the "important". This misplaced preoccupation sets a wrong precedent for the next generation.

* Since the challenge was to look at rare species (looking beyond ordinary mortals), compiling the list of speakers was a difficult task. The committee felt the need to choose a rare breed of speakers who would urge the participants to break the rules. The purpose is not to lull but to provoke; to disturb and challenge preset notions.

* The speakers - rather agitators or agents of revolution - would be people who have invented the concept of continuity; resulting in a quantum growth in business; which in turn would result in a growth in the economy.

Some of the 'Agitators' or 'Agents of Revolution' for helping you break every rule:

The names that have been chosen after intense deliberations include names such as Jack Trout (president Trout & Partners), Ricardo Semler (president, Semco), Irwin Gotlieb (chairman and CEO, MindShare), CK Prahalad (professor, university of Michigan Business School), Jeff Goodby (co- chairman, creative director, Goodby Silverstein & Partners), Trevor Beattie (chairman and creative director TBWA Worldwide), MS Banga (chairman, HLL), Lester Wundermann (worldwide director, Wunderman's marketing lab and president), Rajat Gupta (former MD, McKinsey & Company), David Droga (worldwide creative director, Publicis Worldwide), Piyush Pandey (group president and national creative director, O&M India), Clyde Fessler (former V-P, business development, Harley Davidson Motor Company) amongst others.

Five days of intense debates and cross-fire of ideas to challenge; themes that are relevant to practitioners; drastic innovations, an ability to break out of the existing cycle of growth and propel oneself to another level altogether; stimulating the ideal mixture of chutzpah, foresight, acumen and guts. This constitutes the spirit that AdAsia 2003 seeks to salute and celebrate!

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