Prasad Sangameshwaran
Nov 09, 2017

AdAsia 2017: An insider's diary

A column that looks at the sidelights of the biennial advertising festival AdAsia 2017, Bali

AdAsia 2017: An insider's diary
The five elements and a down to earth Steve Jobs
AdAsia started off with a spectacular dance performance that paid tribute to the five elements. It's also called "panca mahabhuta" in Indonesia. The sound light and dance show was a spectacular display of how the traditional merged with the modern.
The first speaker of AdAsia2017 started with a photograph of his days with the Macintosh business of apple. He asked the audience to spot the difference in the picture. Guy himself was in the image somewhere behind, but that's not what he was asking the audience. The picture was legendary because it's probably one of the few times when the late Steve Jobs was ever seen kneeling down.
Don't drink and drive
Referring to the Lewis Hamilton episode when the driver halted at the wrong team's pitstop during the Malaysian Grand Pix in 2013, Mark Gallagher said on a lighter note, "He stopped at the wrong pitstop. He forgot who he was working for." 
Gallagher also referred to the drinks button on the F1 car's steering wheel and asked Coulthard if his drinks button actually squirted out Red Bull (the team Coulthard last represented). Coulthard's response: "I am a Scotsman. It's Whisky that I get."
Indian delegation and Indonesian food
The Indians got the biggest delegation to AdAsia with 162 participants. However, on day one when the Indonesians laid out an amazing buffet, they forgot the vegetarian cuisine and the Indian team had many vegetarians including organising body AFAA's vice-chairman Srinivasan 'Sundar' Swamy. As any dinner or lunch organised by Swamy is incomplete without the staple curd rice, most vegetarians in the delegation asked swamy about curd rice. Sure enough, there was a separate vegetarian counter in the evening.
Ambush marketing at the Dentsu Night
Bali is known for its beaches and also for its night life. But those exiting the Dentsu party were in for an unexpected invite to the next party. There was a young lady standing at the exit handing out visiting cards to the guests. She wasnot representing any of the Japanese giant's businesses. She was not even remotely connected to advertising, to the best of our knowledge. This lady was handing out a mobile link to get an escort service and be invited to a "private" party. In case you are curious to know how many accepted the invite, the honest answer is "WE DONT KNOW". 
Kofi with Annan
The icing on the cake at AdAsia 2017 in Bali was undoubtedly a session with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Annan spoke about many anecdotes from his long and illustrious journey as one of the world's most iconic diplomats of our times. 
During one of the discussions with one of hia ambassadors on why nothing had progressed in the last six months, Annan was told, God created the world in lesser time. Annan told the AdAsia delegates his quick response to that statement. "But God was all alone". 
All the president's stage
One of AdAsia 2017's most impressive display's was the width of the stage. That width led to creating not four, but six screens apart from the central backdrop. The stage was actually planned keeping the VIP in mind. The President of Indonesia was expected to attend the event and his security made it clear that the President would not walk the entire length of the room to be on the stage at the other end. As the president's daughter was getting married, the president could not come to the event. However, the grand stage remained.
Cross border diplomacy
It was a grand Pakistan night that brought the curtains down on AdAsia 2017. When the head of the Pakistan delegation was inviting the delegates to Lahore for the next edition of AdAsia in 2019, he had a special gesture for the Indian delegates. The Pakistan night would give a flavour of the things to expect in Lahore. And the cuisine would have lots of options for the Indians as well.
Campaign India

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