Sanjeev Kotnala: Should you attend Adfest Pattaya?

06 Mar,2019

By Sanjeev Kotnala


By Sanjeev KotnaaThe year 2019 started with the IAA World Congress held at Kochi. Pattaya Adfest 2019 will follow it from 20th to 23rd March 2019 at the Royal Cliff Hotels Group, Pattaya. Goafest is scheduled from 11th to 13th April 2019 at Grand Hyatt, Goa. May is the month of ZEE Melt, to be held on 30th and 31st May at Dome NSCI, Mumbai. Kyoorius awards will follow it on 1st June 2019. From 17th to 21st June 2019 we have the sought after Cannes Lions. And towards the end of the year, there is AdAsia at Lahore, 2nd December to 5th December.

Will you attend, AdAsia Lahore?

I was personally looking forward to one-time entry into Pakistan and experiencing Lahore. However, in the current circumstances, I am sure for most of the advertising and marketing fraternity it is not on the radar. Do write to if you plan to attend or give a miss to AdAsia Lahore.

Which Event To Attend is a tough call.

Still, for most of us, deciding which of the above events to attend is a tough decision. There are budget and work-schedule to be balanced, delegate and award nominations to be chosen. With the rising cost of entries, delegate fee and travel, the equations are completely imbalanced. It will be unwise to believe that IAA WORLD CONGRESS won’t impact participation in GOAFEST. There are only limited funds available with marketing and advertising organisations for such events. Do write to if you agree or disagree that IAA World Congress will impact the delegation at GoaFest.

Why Visit Adfest Pattaya?

Each of the mentioned events boasts of an impressive line-up of speaker and networking opportunities. And every event has huge delegate participation.

Pattaya Adfest with 1200 delegates from more than 50 cities is not a suggestion but a recommendation. It is worth considering the longest running ad-show in Asia-pacific & Middle East. It is also the first show with awards that at times have set the trend.

For some inane reason, the Indian Marketing, Advertising and Technology fraternity (MAdTech) has not been patronising Adfest Pattaya. Though the number of entries, awards won, and speakers of Indian origin (SIO) has shown improvement at the Adfest Pattaya.

When it comes to delegating numbers, the needle has hardly moved. The most likely and logical reason is its proximity to Goafest and scheduled too close of financial year. Or the Sin City, Pattaya is no longer the attraction it used to be. In my view the location is exciting and not a barrier.

Goafest definitely works out more economical. But that should not be the only criteria.

This year,  Adfest Pattaya and the festival of colour- Holi dates clash. So, the travel and lodging cost is somewhat manageable. One can still book Mumbai-Bangkok-Mumbai flight for as low as 13-17 thousand. Decent hotels are available for 3000 INR a night. And as it finishes on Friday, side trips to Phuket are easily manageable.

For the two days (22nd-23rd March) CREATIVE FEST (excluding the Craft Fest), the student delegate fee is 15000 Baht, the young delegate (under 28 years of age) 19000 Baht and a full delegate fee at 30000 Baht. At the current rate, it works out at 33000, 42000 and 66000 INR per person. So a complete package with twin sharing would be somewhere from 80000 to 85000 per person.

Does Adfest Pattaya suffer from lack of awareness?

I hypothesise that the Adfest Pattaya is not well-known among the Indian MAdTech fraternity. Hence, they are unaware of what they are missing. Otherwise, there is no reason for it to have a low key India presence.

Maybe the Indian MAdTech does not see the advantage in exposing their employees to overtly oriental skewed advertising- marketing knowledge and creativity on display. I would hate to believe that I am right in my thinking. The seniors in the Industry would know better.

I have been to the show twice. And I plan to be there this time too. And yes, I am open to sponsorship for my trip and Adfest Pattaya coverage in my weekly column and blog.

Adfest Pattaya is a place to relax, learn, drink, discuss and network.

Consider Attending Adfest Pattaya.

So, here is why you should consider attending Adfest Pattaya. And I am not going to fall into the trap of comparing it with any of the advertising- Marketing festival I listed at the start of this piece.

Get exposed to Asia-Pacific advertising. The Adfest Pattaya 2019 theme is “TMRRW.TDAY”. It promises to bring the future to the present. And who is not interested in getting some help to make sense of the future.

Okay, you may not find listening to some of the session delivered in a foreign language on headphones interesting. I suggest you concentrate seeing the displayed entries. If my information is right, Adfest Pattaya is the only festival that displays every entry and not just the short list or winners. Think of getting tired looking through some 6000 entries across formats and media, and in the evening getting a good Thai Massage after downing a few drinks. Rejuvenation is guaranteed in no extra time.


We always wonder why some of the creative find favour with the jury. We keep on cribbing at the lack of transparency in the process. At Adfest Pattaya, you get to listen to Jury debate. Here the jury panel shared in complete transparency their deliberation and reasons for awarding some of the creative.

Adfest Pattaya, Knowledge Sessions and workshops.

For the real gyaan (knowledge) seekers there are workshops and exciting sessions. The main workshops are  ‘Think Like A Murder Mystery Writer’ to be delivered by Ankur Kalita, ‘Stimulation Not Replication’ By Paul Drake and WAYS TO GROW by Umma Saini and Claudia Cristovao. The three-day workshop (2 hours every day)  ‘TMRRW Biz School: A New Type Of School For A New Generation Of Thinkers’ by Guan Hin Tay sounds very interesting. These workshops are reason enough to attend, but participation is restricted and available on first come first served basis.

The young delegates have a chance to talk to, seek advice, and even share your works and portfolios to some of the Adfest Pattaya juries this year.  A one-on-one critique with some of the region’s leading creative. This is the unique ‘Speed Dating The Jury’.

Adfest Pattaya Awards.

The award category list is too long for my liking. They include the Lotus awards in Audio, Branded Entertainment, Design, Direct, Effective, Film Craft, Film, Integrated, Interactive, Mobile, Outdoor, and Print Craft And Print.  Additionally, there are unique awards like the Lotus Roots Awards, a celebration of the richness of ideas drawing from local cultures. INNOVA Lotus award entries get a chance to present their thinking to the jury and delegates and an opportunity to learn from the case studies.

Two new awards make their debut at the Adfest Pattaya. e-Commerce Lotus awards creative works that have the creativity of e-Commerce and all innovative efforts in the digital business.  And which also demonstrate how its efforts in the digital business that define the future. The second is Brand Experience & Engagement Lotus awards for the creative works that have all brand building through the dimension of experience design, activation, immersive, retail and 360° customer engagement. They must demonstrate the customer journey, experience of the brand and optimisation of every touch point led to increased brand affinity and commercial success.

Watch the winning films at “Fabulous Five Directors.” It is one of the world’s most respected platforms for young directors.

Adfest Pattaya, the inclusive Festival.

Anyone can be the speaker at Adfest Pattaya, a very inclusive event. Anyone can submit an idea for the sessions and workshops. And if the Adfest team finds it interesting, it gets slotted.

Adfest Pattaya gives you time to do more.

Most importantly, the session starts and end on time. So, your other exciting plans for the evening are not jeopardised. Oh, the area they fail to capture the imagination is the after-event party, or maybe my taste is different.

You can always extend the stay and go for the skydive, Bungee Jump, attend a scuba diving class and even fire real arms

Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.