Alokananda Chakraborty

AdAsia 2003: For corporate India, it's Destination Jaipur

A lineup of great speakers, a spectrum of disciplines and potential learning opportunities are things that have appealed to companies that have registered for AdAsia

With less than a month to go for the current Asian advertising congress - AdAsia 2003 - to kickoff in Jaipur, corporate India is clearly gearing itself up for the prestigious biannual event. A whole host of companies - advertising agencies, management and brand consultancies, media houses, and clients from a whole range of sectors - have registered delegations to attend the congress, and the list of companies that have registered reads like a veritable handbook on Indian corporatedom.

The list includes, among others, such names as AC Nielsen, Ambience Publicis, Bajaj Electricals, BBC, Bharat Petroleum, Blue Star Ltd, BPL Mobile, Britannia, Cadbury India, Castrol, Coca-Cola India, Contract Advertising, Ernst & Young, Eureka Forbes, Everest Integrated Communications, Fem Care Pharma, Godrej Consumer Products, Gujarat Ambuja, HDFC, Hindustan Times, HLL, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, IPAN, ITC, Johnson & Johnson, JWT India, Leo Burnett India, Lokmat, Lowe, Mahindra & Mahindra, Marico Industries, Mid-Day Multimedia, Mudra, Nicholas Piramal, Outlook, P&G, Parry's Confectionery, Perfetti Van Melle, Raymond, Rediffusion, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sony Entertainment, Standard Chartered, STAR Network, Tata Motors, Tata Services, The Times of India, Toyota Kirloskar, Yahoo! India and Zenith Computers.

agencyfaqs! randomly selected a few companies from this list and spoke to them to assess the value they see in the event, and understand the expectations they harbour from AdAsia 2003. "Clearly, we see AdAsia as a tremendous learning experience, and we are looking forward to discovering some out-of-the-box thinking ideas on marketing and brand management," says Paulomi Dhawan, director, media and corporate communications, Raymond India, which has identified a four-member contingent for the congress. "Given the fact that this year's speakers are authorities in their respective fields of expertise, the depth of knowledge we will be exposed to is irresistible."

Dhawan points out that the lineup of speakers from diverse disciplines is one of the star attractions of this particular congress. "I have attended a few AdAsias before this, but what impressed us this time was the fact that the structuring goes beyond just advertising," she says. "A range of disciplines has been packaged into the event, which makes it an exciting proposition." As an afterthought, she adds that the congress will also provide opportunities for "great networking".

The fact that AdAsia 2003 will not be only about advertising is something that impresses Sunita Ramnathkar, managing director, Fem Care Pharma. "The event promises to be a good mix of advertising, marketing, media and branding, which makes it very comprehensive and holistic. I think this is something that Fem Care and our associate companies can benefit from. I think the AdAsia Planning Committee has done a good job by lining up some great speakers," she says, revealing that five delegates from Fem Care and the associate companies would be Jaipur bound. Ramnathkar is very clearly looking for ideas that can take the Fem brand forward. "I think we will get a strong perspective on branding, which is important as we know it's time we gave our own brands some momentum. I hope the congress will give us learnings and insights that we can apply to our brands."

Another company that expects to draw lessons for its own brand is Blue Star Ltd. "Not only will AdAsia help us get an overall perspective on brands, it will also give us a global perspective," agrees Girish Hingorani, manager, corporate communications and marketing, Blue Star Ltd. He adds that this is the first time that the company has registered for a big-ticket international conference, as it sees value in the investment. "Even though we address the corporate and business segments and our cooling solutions may not necessarily target the individual customer, we have been investing heavily on branding in the recent past as we understand the importance of branding," he continues. "We see the congress as an opportunity to take cues on branding from similar categories from around the world. AdAsia could help us understand the dynamics of marketing and management better."

Advertising agencies, expectedly, are making elaborate preparations for sending delegates for the event. And of the lot, Mudra, perhaps, is sending the biggest delegation - more than 15 members. "The entire key management at Mudra will be attending," informs Madhukar Kamath, managing director & CEO, Mudra Communications. What attracted Mudra the most was exposure. "Exposure to an international forum, and exposure to a broad spectrum of great speakers," Kamath explains. "I also see this as an opportunity for the broadening the mind, and a chance to interact with some of the best talents around." And yes, the sheer variety of topics under discussion was a clincher. "The spectrum of disciplines being covered at the congress makes it more exciting."

No wonder the list of companies that have registered for AdAsia reads like a veritable handbook on Indian corporatedom. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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