Festival of Media Asia 2011 sparks dialogue over the challenges and opportunities in Asia

Digital and social media are making a difference, but creativity and innovation remain at the core

Singapore, 15 November 2011 – The Festival of Media Asia, the first Asian iteration of the acclaimed Festival of Media for creativity and innovation, was a rousing success. Bringing together more than 600 attendees, over 40 speakers, and more than 50 of the world’s biggest brands, The Festival sparked conversations and provided insights into the media and marketing industry as a whole and the scenario in the Asian region, which is expected to overtake Western Europe as the second-largest advertising market in 2012.

Held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Conference Centre, The Festival included conference sessions, exhibitions, and numerous networking opportunities. It culminated in a gala dinner where the inaugural Festival of Media Asia Awards were given out, recognising the most original and creative campaigns from the region.

Focused on media and marketing in Asia, the session on day one began with a short welcome address from Charlie Crowe, The Festival of Media founder and C Squared chief executive.

“We want to make this an annual event,” said Crowe. “There is a tremendous amount of creativity here, and we’re seeing this explosion of originality all over Asia. There is no better time to tap into it than right now.”

After his energetic opening, keynote speaker, Stephen Attenborough from Virgin Galactic, shared some of the milestones and high points of Virgin’s quest to make space travel a commercial reality.

“That’s how we dream,” Attenborough said, as he described Virgin Galactic’s strategy of mixing innovative engineering with a continuing focus on safety as it takes space travel out of the hands of government.

The rest of the morning session looked at other ways in which media was changing. Sarajit Mitra, global head of marketing and client experience of HSBC Global Banking & Markets, covered off how the financial industry is focusing not just on brand visibility but building trust, while Jacki Kelley, global chief executive of Universal McCann, introduced in-depth industry research on how people consume technology.

Later sessions took a different tack, shifting to a sharper focus on Asia, including a fascinating panel discussion which featured representatives from three major Chinese online corporations – Baidu, Youku and Tencent – talking about the digital revolution in China, and their plans to one day challenge giants like Google. Colin Currie, president and managing director, adidas Greater China, discussed the challenges involved in connecting with the Chinese consumer, and the way that adidas marketing evolved to take cultural and social sensitivities into consideration.

The last panel of the day focused on The Festival’s theme: talent. Panelists D N Prasad, head-people technology and operations & people brand – APAC, Google, William Manfredi, executive vice-president, global talent management, Wunderman, Young & Rubicam, Shaun Ruming, vice-president- HR & training, McDonald’s Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and Barry Cupples, chief executive, Omnicom Media Group, APAC, tackled the shortfall of talent in the media industry in Asia, explored the reasons for this as well as strategies to manage this problem.

Day two of the conference centered on the changing media landscape, beginning with an enthralling keynote by Carolyn Everson, vice-president, global marketing solutions, Facebook. Everson held the audience captive as she previewed Facebook’s new Timeline feature, talked through the importance of capitalising on people’s social connection as the basis for marketing, and then presented how Facebook could support brands looking to create connections with their consumers.

“Social discovery is the most powerful driver of human behaviour in the world today,” said Everson, “We have always asked our friends for recommendations.”

Rahul Welde, vice-president-media, Unilever Asia, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Russia, took the conference even further by looking at how marketers would have to change their mindsets and reframe themselves. He offered new and different ways to think, including enhancing interaction and experience, as ways for marketers to address the changing ways that people are relating to media, particularly digital and social media.

Explaining his company’s decision to put more investment into online video, Maarten L Albarda, vice-president of global connections, Anheuser Busch InBev, underlined the points that previous speakers had made: the media landscape is changing, mainly because digital media is changing the relationship that people have with traditional media.

That theme was the foreground for the rest of the day. Chris Dobson, executive vice-president and general manager, BBC Advertising, BBC Worldwide; Dan Molloy, global executive director, multimedia sales Asia-Pacific, Dow Jones, and Peter Bale, vice-president and general manager digital, CNN International, all shared their views on the future of mainstream media, particularly the ways in which digital was being integrated into their offerings.

The other afternoon highlight was a discussion of the social angle of the new media revolution. David Bebko, director, business marketing, Asia-Pacific, Google, talked about Google+ and the social dimension of the internet. Lito S. German, marketing director, BMW Group Asia, explained how BMW is reacting to a general trend of openness in marketing, reputation management and product innovation.

One other feature of day two was the agency chief executive tours of media innovation. Leading chief executives took to the stage to showcase and share an innovative or special campaign that had run during the year.

Over the two-day conference, attendees also participated in a showcase theatre led by media companies such as Singapore Press Holdings, Omnicom/Media Group, MPG, MediaMind, LinkedIn and Facebook.

For more information, visit the website at www.festivalofmedia.com/asia.

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ABOUT C SQUARED
C Squared is a business publishing and information company that serves the global media and marketing industry. Since the launch of its first international industry publication – Cream – in 2005, C Squared has grown 12-fold and, though still headquartered in London, more than half the group’s turnover now comes from outside the UK. Across C Squared’s portfolio of market-leading magazines, websites and conferences, it has readers, subscribers, visitors and clients from over 50 countries and produces successful events on every continent – from New York to New Delhi; from Valencia to Vilnius and from Amsterdam to Accra.
www.csquared.cc

ABOUT LIGHTHOUSE INDEPENDENT MEDIA
Lighthouse Independent Media is the publisher of Marketing magazine, the highest-circulating, widest-reaching, most-read and longest-running publication for advertising and marketing professionals in Asia Pacific. With magazines, websites, e-news bulletins, event services and a print readership of more than 100,000, Marketing is trusted across Asia-Pacific for its innovation, editorial integrity and accuracy. Launched in Singapore in 2002, the publication now operates in three key markets across Asia-Pacific; Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. With localised content and event formats designed for a regionally connected audience, Marketing magazine is the authority on advertising, marketing and media intelligence in Asia-Pacific, reaching more advertising and marketing professionals in the region than any other competitor publication.
www.marketing-interactive.com

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Media Contacts
Donna Garcia / Shruti Soni
Rice Communications for The Festival of Media Asia
Tel: +65 6221 8045
Email: donna.garcia@ricecomms.com / shruti.soni@ricecomms.com