Atifa Silk
Dec 01, 2011

Opinion: About awards, agencies and the ad business

"China and India will record the strongest ad spend growth among the BRIC countries"

Opinion: About awards, agencies and the ad business

Despite the recessional gloom that looks set to hang over marketing services into next year, many of the region’s brands and agencies have had a remarkably dynamic 2011, judging by the quality of entries at the Agency of the Year 2011 awards.

Across the board, entrants in this year’s competition proved that 2011 was a year of innovation and transformation for the industry — in digital, strategy, people and the work developed. It was a year in which many regional offices outperformed in areas of new business, effectiveness and creativity. 

Indeed, there’s no question that Asia remains one of the few places in the world where the advertising business is still showing meaningful growth. Even as some of the big financial institutions and markets in the world stumble and fall, the advertising and media industry in Asia remains comparatively bright, and insulated from the economic dramas playing out in the West.
This year, China and India are expected to record the strongest adspend growth of all the BRICS countries, with figures of 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. Consumer confidence and spending remains high in emerging markets.

Few industry watchers expect a replay of the events of 2008, with some even arguing that the powerhouses of mainland China and India could potentially pull the region through any downturn. 
Whether they do, remains to be seen. But with the region as a whole accounting for around 30 per cent of the spend of most major global advertisers - and between 70 to 80 per cent of their growth - marketers, for now, can sit tight.

There’s no question that the shift of balance is underway - underlined best by the growing number of global products beginning their lives in the East rather than the West. All of this is good news for Asian brands. A chance to realise their ambitions on the international stage.

At Campaign, we look forward to celebrating the achievements of the industry at the Agency of the Year awards on 13 December in Singapore. There will be winners and judging process to follow in Campaign India’s year-end issue.

Across the region, significant demographic shifts are occurring. Households in many local markets are shrinking, the population is ageing and consumer groups are becoming increasingly difficult to define. The brand landscape is evolving at a ferocious pace too. As smaller brands seek entry into Asia’s emerging markets, mega brands face competition from idiosyncratic rivals.

Among the sectors scrambling to make sense of all the change is the global beauty industry — a multi-billion dollar business that’s finding Asian consumers more attractive than ever. Mark Tungate’s new book Branded Beauty delves into the history and evolution of the beauty business in Asia, analysing the marketing strategies used by brands creating and selling beauty products. It examines markets such as Korea, where there’s big demand for whitening creams and a booming nip-tuck business, and reviews Hindustan Unilever’s marketing strategy for Fair & Lovely, a positioning that hasn’t changed since the brand’s launch in 1978.

While exposing some of the more undesirable notions in the beauty business, Tungate also celebrates brands such as Aesop that refuse to subscribe to the mainstream, taking a more radical approach to their marketing and advertising. His historical review of Asia’s beauty industry ultimately sets out to identify areas where Western brands are failing to make an impact, and explores the various reasons why they are being forced to pull back from the globalised idea of beauty that previously dominated their advertising campaigns.

Atifa Silk, editorial director, Campaign Asia-Pacific

Campaign India