Andrew Lack, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group interviewed by Charlie Crowe.

The international show, The Festival of Media Asia, returned to Singapore on 3rd-5th March 2013. This is the second time this event has been held in the republic and any shortcoming on the previous occasion were overcome.

C Squared, which organises this and other events, brought together 43 speakers from agencies, advertisers and from the media. The event gained sponsorship supported from Fox, SingTel, SPH and other major sponsors and attracted 630 delegates over the two days. The hotel W Singapore – Sentosa Cove was an impressive venue and those delegates who stayed must have appreciated the ornate surroundings.

The highest profile person to go on the stage was Sir Martin Sorrell, Head of WPP. A small dapper man, he projected, surprisingly for many, a pleasant and humorous personality. Charlie Crowe who conducted the interview on stage, was not in the least bit intimidated by this powerful advertising executive.

Sir Martin Sorrell, Group Chief Executive of WPP and Charlie Crowe.

Crowe, who is the Chief Executive of C Squared, proved not only a good interviewer but demonstrated a great personality when he appeared behind the microphone on a couple of occasions.

MC Mark Laudi

The presentations were good but there was little that was new. This is probably because via MMA Forum, AdTech, The Internet Show and a host of other events, mobile and the Internet developments have already been sliced and diced all ways in advance of this event. To sum up the presentations: Asia has become the biggest market for mobile activity and advertisers and agencies are fully aware that digital activity has accelerated here in Asia and globally. Remarking on the frequently heard question of ‘What year would be the Year of the Mobile?’, Sorrell commented “Every year is more mobile.” One interesting and frightening fact arose during one presentation: 90% of the data in the world was generated in the last two years! The efficient handling and using of data has spawned many new companies.

Another recurring theme was the importance of China. A huge population, added to the changes in Chinese society, have jumped it into a position of influence in the mobile and Internet world.

One of the more refreshing moments in the event was the M.A.P, a sort of speed dating style of presentation where entrepreneurs pitched their media ideas to the audience in a limited time. The audience were given the opportunity to vote for Hot Company of the Year. Future Ad Labs scored the highest votes.

Howard Kingston, Co-founder, CEO of Future Ad Labs.

At the gala dinner, the winners of the 2013 Festival of Media Asia were announced. Twenty seven judges went through a shortlist of 117 campaigns prior to the evening and singled out the best work and agencies. Initiative Thailand won ‘Campaign of the Year’ for “Million Reasons to Believe in Thailand” created for Coca-Cola, OMD Hong Kong was named ‘Agency of the Year’ and Mindshare was heralded as ‘Network of the Year’. These awards were based on a points system garnered from the shortlist.

Stella Su from Starcom Taiwan was awarded ‘Rising Star Award’ for promising young talent.

If the media owners continue to give The Festival of Media Asia sponsorship support and the organisers can attract top quality speakers, this event will become an important part of the industry calendar in this part of the world.

Speaker Angela Mackay, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Financial Times.
Speaker Paul Hu, Managing Director of Volkswagen Group Import China.
Speaker Indra Suharjono, Executive Vice-President, Managing Director, Asia, Viacom International Media Networks.
Speaker Leonardo O'Grady, ASEAN Integrated Marketing and Communications Director of Coca-Cola.
Speaker Geoff Tan, Senior Vice President, Head - Strategic Marketing of Singapore Press Holdings.
Speaker Ken Mandel, Founder of Jam Ventures.
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