Reporter’s Diary: Mesmerised by the giants of advertising

Shree Lahiri has had a full week attending all three days of AdAsia 2011 and finds the takeaways from the congress priceless. Here is her account and summation of the key points of the mega event...

e4m by Shree Lahiri
Updated: Nov 5, 2011 8:49 AM
Reporter’s Diary: Mesmerised by the giants of advertising

If you ask me, the flavour of the week was definitely AdAsia 2011.

It was not really Monday blues but a day of ad-vantage. All roads led to the Taj Palace that day and for the next three days… for that was the chosen venue for AdAsia 2011. As everyone knows, it is the biggest marketing, media and advertising congress and was last held in India in 2003 and this time it proved to be a blast.

Technically, the starting point was a party on Sunday, where people from far flung countries, some attending this event for the first time, mingled and partied hard. To keep the glamour quotient high, there was a slice of Bollywood thrown in… by now everyone knows you cannot go wrong if you have anything to do with Bollywood. Boman Irani kept the delegates in splits, while Shah Rukh Khan, fresh from the high impact of his recently released ‘Ra.One’, did his charming song-n-dance number and, let me tell you, had everyone shaking a leg or wanting to shake a leg with him.

There were a host of speakers from all parts of the globe and we heard the rules of advertising and, in fact, communications being broken with elan. We rode the wave with game changers, who were fiercely changing the rules of the game. We decoded the new consumer, got into the minds of the female consumer, took a hard look at India 2020, learnt ads should be acts, that it’s a trust-deficit world today which must be changed, that we should pursue Big Ideas in the ‘now’ world, ideas, which should “dare to move the world” and so on… The underlying message was: rewrite every rule and you can only gain from it…

But, what everyone waited with bated breath was to listen to Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo – Indra Nooyi, and when she spoke, I felt the wait was really worth it.

The party theme continued every day both for lunch and dinner and we savoured Kerala food and God’s own country came alive in front of our eyes… the Vietnamese evening was charming too. A fitting finale was the last day’s evening, where one got to experience Bollywood at the Kingdom of Dreams.

The happy feeling actually flowed into Friday, which is actually very welcome as it heralds the weekend… I was getting ready to make plans, but got a rude shock as I read the headline of a daily which screamed: ‘Petrol price raised Rs 1.8/ltr even as oil cos make profits’. I mean, a petrol hike, yet again! The ‘midnight deceit’ that was going to take a heavy poll on the pocket, that is slowly and steadily becoming lighter.

So, after times well spent, it was time to take a reality check and I confess, unlike a popular brand of fast food, I’m not lovin’ it!

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