‘Driving Asia’s Digital Development’ was the theme of this year’s ad:tech exhibition and conference held in Singapore on 13th & 14th June. It certainly drove the attendances up. Several thousand people visited the exhibition and the conference delegates numbered 2,500.

The number of exhibitors expanded this year with major players like SingTel, Buddy Media, LinkedIn, Dentsu, Smaato and Adobe on display to visitors.

Ken Mandel

This was the fifth ad:tech show and it was well organised by dmg::events Asia Pacific. Ken Mandel, Chairman Emeritus of IAB opened the event. He gave a quick snapshot of the state of the digital media industry. Overall, he was optimistic but said the key barrier to development was a lack of people with experience in social media marketing and not enough data was also holding back investment. Mandel said the creative agencies were embracing social media but he was surprised to discover that public relations firms seemed less at ease.

Dr. Jeffrey Cole was the first keynote speaker (see our VIP interview with Dr. Cole) covering ‘Trends, Fads and Transformations and the Impact of the Internet’. Cole, who is a Director, Center for the Digital Future USC Annenberg School in the USA, is an eloquent and amusing speaker. He prophesised that as more parents and grandparents signed up for Facebook, it would become less cool and the teenagers would migrate to a new site. There were already indications that Facebook was losing users in the developed markets although he saw a growth of this social site continuing globally for a few more years.

Dr. Jeffrey Cole
Michael Lazerow

Michael Lazerow, CEO and founder of Buddy Media, used an example of his own private and somewhat emotional video in which he reflected on the takeover of his company and his family. This went viral with unexpected business results and clearly demonstrated the power of the social media. His presentation was refreshing as he went on to speak about Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, pledging right from the start of his company to support charitable causes. Lazerow announced it was the good guys who finished first. He ended with a challenge: Who will you inspire today?

If some of the presenters over the two days were not inspiring, they were certainly informative. Anyone with an interest in mobile or the social media would have found plenty of food for thought in the workshops and snapshot sessions while networking with the other delegates offered many a chance to discuss business cooperation.

ad:tech 2012 was a nice balanced event. It ended with a party at a nearby Harry’s bar thanks to the sponsorship of Vserve.

Paul Beckley, Vice President of ad:tech Singapore at the party sponsored by Vserve.

Performance artist Katsumi at the opening networking party.