I first got interested in AdAsia 2011 back in 2009, when Madhukar Kamath-led India team pitched and brought AdAsia to India for 2011. In the last two years, many conversations had happened, which were on the lines of ‘it won’t be the same as 2003, since there are many more industry events now’, ‘more people go to Cannes Lions now than was the case eight years back’, and that ‘it would be difficult to find not-too-exposed speakers’ and so on.
Everyone was excited about AdAsia coming to India, but they also were in a hurry to outline the challenge that was in front of the AdAsia 2011 Organising Committee, and the OC has worked very hard in ensuring that it left no stone unturned to make AdAsia 2011 one of the most successful AdAsias.
If I had to go by just the video coverage or the daily updates that exchange4media was publishing during AdAsia, the OC has achieved the targets it would have set out for itself in terms of hosting an event that people would take away a lot from. AdAsia 2011 coverage was seeing traction not only from various cities in India and from the, region but also from other markets such as the US. Over the weekend, e4m team was replying to requests of full session video feeds including some that were not meant to be recorded!
Unilever’s Harish Manwani and PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi were inspiring for the 800-odd Indian delegates at the event and the rest of the industry that was observing their conversations from their offices. What stayed with me for a long time was Ms Nooyi’s question --- how are we grooming the leaders of tomorrow. She posed that to John Wren, President and CEO, Omnicom on-stage, but I hope every leader sitting in that hall, and there were many of them there, asked this question to herself and himself. I now understand better what Madhukar Kamath meant when he told exchange4media that he hopes that people left the forum with questions that provoked them to define the future of this industry. Nooyi had asked one such question.
And yes, the forum may be short on some of the leaders of tomorrow like Agnello Dias or Abhijit Avasthi and Rajiv Rao but it had the likes of R Gowthaman, Punitha Arumugam, Nandini Dias and Ajit Varghese, who will set the new definitions of the Indian communication industry.
AdAsia 2011 was undoubtedly one of the best forums to network with global and regional chiefs and fellow colleagues from India. It had the stage lit with a star in every session. Some of them were truly bright, their radiance contagious and widespread, leaving their audience with the thoughts of time well spent. And some of them underestimated the demand of an Indian audience. We like to be fed with knowledge and insights.
India set a benchmark in 2003 and 2011 has taken the legacy forward. It is not just the destination but the people that enabled that. I am on top of the world (I think the interview opportunities with IPG’s Michael Roth and Omnicom’s John Wren also contributed to that) because my first AdAsia experience, was of one of the best AdAsias so far. And I feel bad for anyone who missed it. But hey, one part of it, the full sessions, are available on exchange4media.com...