After 30 years, on December 2, 3, 4 and 5, 2019, Lahore will host AdAsia, the largest and most prestigious advertising congress in Asia – organised bi-annually by the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA).
Venue and speakers. The Congress will be held at the Expo Centre, and although the speakers are under finalisation, they are expected to form an impressive group, which includes Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister; Peter Draper, former Director Marketing, Manchester United; Kaveri Khullar, Marketing Director, Mastercard Southeast Asia; Fernando Machado, Global CMO, Burger King; Asad J. Malik, an artist specialising in augmented reality; Piyush Pandey, CCO Worldwide and Executive Chairman India, Ogilvy; Marcus Peffers, Global CEO, M&C Saatchi World Services; Stefan Sagmeister, Co-Founder Sagmeister & Walsh; Yasuharu Sasaki, ECD, the Dentsu Network; Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder, WPP; Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions; and Randi Zuckerberg, CEO, Zuckerberg Media and former Director Market Development, Facebook.
According to Sarmad Ali, Chairperson of the Organising Committee, the event is expected to attract over 1,000 delegates from Pakistan, as well as from countries across Asia and the Middle East.
The people behind AdAsia 2019. In addition to Ali, the Managing Committee consists of professionals from the advertising and media industries and include Ali Mandvivala, Chairman, Pakistan Advertising Association (PAA) – the official host of AdAsia 2019 – in addition to Jawwad Humayun and Sohail Kissat (former Chairmen). Shahzad Nawaz is AdAsia 2019’s creative consultant, and has designed the logo which depicts a peacock emblazoned with truck art, highlighting the theme of the Conference: ‘Celebrasion’ – which, according to Ali, “means celebrating everything that is Asian – advertising, creativity and entrepreneurship.”
Asad-ur-Rehman is Chairman of the Content and Speakers Committee and is working with Ali Rez, Regional Creative Director for Middle East & Pakistan, BBDO. There is also a special Advisory Committee which includes Hameed Haroon, Javed Jabbar (head of the organising committee for the 1989 edition) and Jamshed Qureshy, (founding member of the PAA).
Cultural draws. Fakir Syed Aijazuddin, the well-known author of Lahore Revisited, is working on a specially commissioned book on Lahore for the occasion. The entertainment segments (held on each one of the four nights) are being finalised; three venues have been confirmed: the Chuna Mandi Haveli, Hazuri Bagh and Governor’s House, while the Shalimar Gardens are a distinct possibility as the fourth. “We are hoping that Coke Studio will sponsor a dinner,” adds Ali, and says that Arif Lohar may also perform at the event; the Committee is inviting provincial governments to partner with them and “showcase their culture” via exhibitions.
Ali is confident that AdAsia 2019 will be able to match the 1989 edition which was held in Lahore, and is remembered by many professionals to this day as a landmark moment in Pakistan’s advertising history.
“[AdAsia ’89] served as a benchmark; then, in 2003, AdAsia took place in Jaipur, and it became a talking point because it was well planned and held in a culturally rich destination. We hope to surpass these in 2019.” Given the fact that Ali is of the view that Pakistan Night, which was held on the last day of AdAsia 2017 in Bali, was “more of a success than the other nights”, and showcased Pakistan’s cuisine and culture, the chances are high that it just might.