Recognized as one of the most prestigious conferences of the advertising world, AdAsia is organized every two years by the Asian Federation of Advertising Association (AFAA), ever since 1958. Since the past 60 years, member Asian countries of the fifteen-member association take turns to host the event every two years.

In ’89, AdAsia was held in Pakistan for the first time which, “Provided a much-needed boost to Pakistan’s advertising industry back then”, according to Hameed Haroon, Advisory Board member – AdAsia Lahore 2019.

Having been viewed through the lens of negativity on global media for some time, the return of AdAsia 30 years later meant much more to the country than the first one. Hosting another edition meant that Pakistan would welcome advertising and marketing professionals from around the world and the attendance of these world-renowned figures declared that the country is actively addressing its issues and is ready to counter its existing global image.

This installment was themed ‘Celebrasian’ – Celebration of Advertising and Creativity in Asia. The theme was curated to acknowledge the Asian lifestyle, and as the world gets more and more digitally connected, it also acknowledged the changing times and shifting culture of advertising within Pakistan as well as that of Asia. The most evident example of that was the logo of AdAsia Lahore 2019.

For the very first time in the history of AdAsia, the logo of the congress celebrated the national language of the host country – the word ‘AdAsia’ being inscribed in Urdu. Moreover, the form of art used in the logo combined birds with alphabets paid tribute to the art tradition of the Asian sub-continent and the Middle East. Designed by Shahzad Nawaz – Event Consultant, Director Creative, Planning, Communication and Event for AdAsia Lahore 2019 – the logo was made more spectacular by introducing the colour palette of Pakistan’s world-famous truck art.

The most awaited 3-day event finally happened from December 3 till December 5, 2019, at the Alhamra Arts Council Lahore with EBM as its main sponsor. It was attended by numerous global leading figures of the advertising, marketing and media fraternity.

Synergyzer spoke to these industry leaders and intellectuals at AdAsia Lahore 2019 and they were excited to give valuable insights into the role they play in their respective sectors.

Before we proceeded to questions related to their work and achievements, we decided to ask their opinion on AdAsia and what it does for Pakistan.

Following are their opinions.

Q. What can Pakistan’s advertising, marketing and media industry gain from a conference like AdAsia?

Special Advisory Committee – AdAsia and CEO – Dawn

AdAsia Lahore 2019 is here to act as a stimulus to provoke the creative thinking of our advertising, marketing and media industry and expose us to progressive trends already prevalent in the global advertising community, particularly in Asia. Why Asia? Because there is a certain humanism in Asian advertising that comes from its communities, family systems, and moral values that resonates with us.
We need to keep in mind that AdAsia Lahore 2019 is not here as a primer to teach us the basics of advertising and marketing. This role was played by AdAsia Lahore 1989 since back then we had an industry that was beginning to grow in remarkable ways. This time around, we need to utilize AdAsia in a way that it can help us deal with the overwhelming challenges that have swamped our industry. Moreover, we are going to need additional steps from AdAsia this time to orient our young professionals with a platform that can provide a much needed boost to talent as was done by AdAsia ‘89.
So, I want to acknowledge the hard work of the organizers of this year’s AdAsia who have strived to stimulate the environment accordingly by keeping the link with international advertising and AAFA alive. And I personally believe that they have done quite well, especially in terms of meeting costs and delivering quality standards. Yet the number of clients who could have creatively stimulated AdAsia this year is remarkably lower versus the needs of the sector.

Hon. Consul General of Pakistan in Finland and Chairman – FPBC

Pakistan is hosting a number of foreign delegates at AdAsia Lahore 2019. You could use us as ‘ambassadors’, as well as listening to and learning from international professionals about the business models and practices being used globally in the advertising, marketing and media sectors.
Having been in Pakistan for the past many years, I strongly feel that professionals here should plan ahead and equip themselves to adapt to the changes that have already engulfed the world and will soon become a norm of survival here too in the years to come. Having been in Pakistan for the past many years, I strongly feel that professionals here should plan ahead and equip themselves to adapt to the changes that have already engulfed the world and will soon become a norm of survival here too in the years to come.
Having said that, one should not see Pakistan through the same lens as one looks at other industries and cultures — industry practices vary on a domestic and international level and so does the nature of business across countries. Yet, like I said learning from professionals can prepare Pakistan for the future. And that is probably what Pakistanis should seek from AdAsia.

Chairman – AFAA  

Marketing professionals from Pakistan should aim to update themselves about global trends in brand building, what are advertising agencies doing in the region, the global industry as a whole etc. by attending international speaker sessions at the conference — that’s a first!
Two, a forum like AdAsia brings together people from different companies from countries around the world. This gives marketers and advertising professionals from Pakistan a chance to form partnerships, develop connections and build on their relationships for business. Just a little while ago, a delegate from Malaysia wanted to know fertilizer manufacturers from Pakistan, so cross-country business can be conducted. It can provide exposure and expansion opportunities for Pakistani advertising agencies to explore international business opportunities as well as more domestic ones.
Three, it is important for professionals from the advertising and marketing fraternity to keep themselves updated on global trends — what is prevalent in their region and what’s going on in the industry as a whole. Hence, Pakistanis can learn about the use of latest technology paired with contemporary advertising practices from global businesses and eventually work to catch up with the developing world and capitalize on more futuristic opportunities. So basically AdAsia can bring businesses together and help professionals find opportunities that they can capitalize on.

Chief Knowledge Officer – AFAA

Seek inspiration and come up with innovative ideas to serve the people of Pakistan. Trust me! A big chunk of the population is still untapped and there is plenty of room in the country for marketers to build successful brands – products and services – and be served by them.
The trick lies in the execution of your advertising strategy though.
I just hope people in Pakistan learn to value their profession and become more aware of their responsibilities as marketers and advertisers and hopefully feel motivated to come up with good ideas and do something for their country! I hope this conference can play a role in this.

ECD & Head Digital Creative Center of Dentsu INC.

AdAsia Lahore 2019 is a good opportunity for Pakistan’s creative industry to learn about new technologies which may benefit the Pakistani market. Take AI (Artificial Intelligence) for example. Maybe it is still developing in this country but creative individuals should use this conference to learn more about it and its applicability to be able to contribute to the ever-enhancing society in the long run.

Brand Director – CampaignAsia

Hosting a major event in any country is a massive opportunity to do something substantial that really puts the city or the country on the international map. And the fact that we are here in Pakistan to celebrate AdAsia is incredible recognition of the advertising and media industry of this country. The issues under discussion on this platform will get international coverage by being broadcasted across media. So it is an opportunity for speakers from Pakistan to share insights and trends from this local market with audiences around the world.

President & Co-Founder – TheNetworkOne

This is my first time in Pakistan. It has been very interesting for me and I have learned a lot. I have found people here to be optimistic, willing to engage and ready to contribute. Also I feel that the willingness of people to talk and learn from each other is very strong here as opposed to western societies, and that is a real strength.
Besides this, Pakistan is still relatively traditional in terms of its media – TV and print are still very strong, while digital media is still growing. So I would say that a lot of opportunities are there for Pakistani advertising, marketing and media professionals to socialize and exchange ideas here at AdAsia. All in all, I believe it’s the right time for the country to engage more with the world; Pakistan is a growing market where new stuff can be implemented, and AdAsia is a major opportunity at hand to connect with the rest of the world.

Managing Director- WARC APAC

The conference provides a great opportunity as it brings key speakers from the advertising, marketing and media fraternity together from across the Asian region as well as other parts of the globe. People associated with this industry in Pakistan can learn the latest best practices being used in this market as well as internationally. So, I believe AdAsia can really helpadvertising agencies, media houses and marketers in Pakistan to learn and apply better insights to make their campaigns more effective.

For the very first time in the history of AdAsia, the logo of the congress celebrated the national language of the host country- the word ‘AdAsia’ being inscribed in Urdu. 

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