The Asia Pacific Advertising Festival or AdFest, the annual advertising festival aimed at celebrating creativity in Asia pacific region, officially kicked off on March 26 in Pattaya, Thailand, with the concurrent screenings of 761 TV award entries and an exhibition of numerous works, spanning three floors of the convention hall.
With 5,148 entries from more than 33 cities, this year’s event is one of the biggest in the 11-year history of AdFest. With two new categories for Design and New Directors added this year, there are 13 Lotus categories, including TV, press, poster, outdoor, radio, direct, cyber, print craft, film craft, 360 Lotus and Innova lotus.
Earlier this week, 63 creative directors from 59 agencies arrived in Pattaya to begin the challenging task of choosing this year’s winners. The top 10 cities in terms of number of entries are Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Sydney, Manila, Shanghai and Seoul.
This year’s theme ‘ReInvent’ aims to address the challenges facing the advertising industry. Addressing a press conference, Vinit Suraphongchai, Chairman, AdFest Working Committee, noted, “AdFest, which has been growing very well in the last 10 years, is now in its 11th year. The first year, the number of delegates was 160, whereas now we are talking about 1,500 delegates. Also, the number of entries has grown from 600-odd entries to 5,000 entries.”
Speaking about the vision of the AdFest, he said that the Asian economy was growing and there was a great need to train the new generation of executives, and one of the best way was to do that was to organise something like AdFest. Speaking about the AdFest, Jimmy Lam, President, AdFest Working Committee said that he was considering AdFest as a brand and as a product.
“As a brand, you need to keep reinventing yourself in order to move forward. We are at the crossroad now with the advent of new technology and environment. As a festival, we also need to push ourselves to improve, excel and look for new ways to engage a new range of creative and production people. That is why we have added some new features and programmes at this year’s AdFest,” Lam added.
The first day’s sessions included presentation by some industry stalwarts. While Nick Souter, Founder, Ideascape, spoke on ‘Right brain thinking for left brain people’, Ralf Langwost, creative trainer and founder, IdeaManagement, Frankfurt underlined the importance of great ideas in his session on ‘How great ideas work even harder’.
Souter said that since the advertising revolution of the late 60s, the industry had actively promoted the idea that some people were creative, while others were not. “In fact, it has taken the notion to the extremes by departmentalising creativity and making it the exclusive domain of art directors and copy writers. Unfortunately, this often establishes an adversarial relationship between those who produce the work and those who sit in judgment upon it. And a lot of good work is then trashed,” he said.
“50 years later, we need another revolution, one in which we establish creative democracy,” he said, adding, “We need to build a creative culture that welcomes the contribution of anyone who wants to put his or her imagination to work. We need to harness the untapped creative energy of everyone – both clients and agency people – who works in our business,” Souter further said.
Speaking on ‘How great ideas work even harder’, Ralf Langwost said that great ideas were result of process. In order to identify which great ideas worked best, IdeaManagement analysed ideas that have bagged major creative awards from 42 countries worldwide (Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the US). On the highest possible level, only 10 per cent of 2,106 ideas have qualified for the New Creative Effectiveness Report, he said.
In his inaugural address, Vinit Suraphongchai updated the delegates on the CUP (Intercontinental Advertising CUP) and spoke on how CUP was different from other international awards. “Unlike other international awards, the CUP takes into consideration the regional cultural value of all regions,” he added. Describing the CUP as a global festival embracing local culture, he said most of the contests received entries from all over the world and in most of the cases, the regional qualities got lost in the process.
Comparing with Cannes Lions, he said that Cannes was Europe-centric in terms of cultural value and any entry, particularly from Asia had a lesser chance of winning an award simply because of this cultural bias.
The CUP consists of winning works from four regions – AdFest of Asia Pacific, FIAP of South America, and Spain, Golden Drum of Eastern Europe, and ADC*E of Europe.
The first CUP Festival was held in November 2007 in Valencia, Spain. Of the 38 CUP winners this year, 16 were from AdFest, nine from FIAP, six from Golden Drum and seven from ADC*E, with the CUP awarded to BBDO Argentina’s ‘Pretty Neighborhood’ campaign, Suraphongchai said.
Earlier, Donald Gunn presented the Gunn Report, a global ranking of creative success.