Ramesh Narayan: Eight takeaways from AdAsia 2015

30 Nov,2015


By Ramesh Narayan


The forum is the message. If you go to DigiAsia, you feel that technology has overtaken human endeavours. If you go to AdAsia, the Empire strikes back. Good old-fashioned marketing is alive and well, as we found in at the meet held in Taipei recently. Here are some takeaways from the event:


1. Technology is important. In fact, automation is seen as one of the key trends going forward, but it is just an enabler. Fundamentally, people have not changed; the ways to reach out to them have.


2. The TedX platform was used during two sessions at AdAsia. Initially people wondered why content was being outsourced. After all, these were not the usual suspects who speak at large international fora. It was different, and it worked really well. The inputs from creative people outside the immediate pale of advertising, was refreshingly new. So you had sound technologists, dramatists and electronic music-makers telling us what clicks with the audience. And there were valuable learnings to be had.


3. Programmatic is not something to be feared after all, the experts would have us believe. Apparently it should be seen as just a new way to do an old job. Yes, it does entail focus, training and big investment, but anything new would entail that. Personally, I’m still grappling with understanding what it really is. Problematic.


4. Human resources are still a big problem for our industry. We are just not able to get enough of the ‘right’ people. And large networks are now throwing the recruitment net wider than usual, seeking specialist talent like PhDs in math and editors from specialist content to manage content.


5. Piyush Pandey still sells, big time. Maybe he retrofits his presentation to suit the topic, but hey, when you create and present great work, who’s complaining.


6. Clients would be well advised to forget the ‘creative’ briefs they provide agencies. They would be better served by defining a business problem, spelling out the commercial deliverables expected, and challenging the agency to present the solutions. These would be business deliverables, not media-specific deliverables.


7. The case study is still a wonderful way to provoke a conversation among panelists. It is very real, puts the panelist on the spot, and brings out good responses that could then form the basis of meaningful debate. This AdAsia, in a particular session, had a research analyst present case studies that had worked, and then a distinguished panel dissected the cases for the benefit of the audience. It was a great way to learn.


8. Finally, the AdAsia Brand in India still shines strong. With a great leader of the delegation like Raj Nayak, a 140-plus force from India kept the tricolour flying high. Encomiums to the leadership of Pradeep Guha (who completed his term as Chairman Asian Federation of Advertising Associations) did the country proud. And the incoming Vice Chairman Srinivasan Swamy, with his proven track record, should be able to push the envelope even further.


This article first appeared in dna of brands dated November 30, 2015


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