The 17th-18th March saw the return of Festival of Media Asia Pacific to Singapore. Held at the upmarket Capella Singapore hotel on the island of Sentosa, the event attracted a large crowd of media agencies, digital specialists, publishers and clients. The event improves year by year whipped along by the energetic and personable Charlie Crowe, the founder of the event in the UK. The theme for 2014 was ‘Agility’. The presentation times were limited to 30 minutes which kept the pace up over the two days. Mark Laudi who acted as host also firmly helped keep everyone on track. Over the two days, the 600 delegates heard presentations on agency payments, trading desks, programmatic buying, big data and even Bitcoins (this presentation by Peter Vessenes, Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation probably left the audience more confused and certainly more sceptical).
Most of the speakers and panelists which included Stephen Allan, Global CEO of MediaCom; Jeffrey Seah, CEO of Starcom MediaVest; Ambrish Jain, VP Marketing APAC Lenovo; Vishnu Mohan, CEO of Havas Media APAC; and Shailesh Rao, VP at Twitter; were articulate and informative. In all, there were 50+ speakers at the event. Over the breaks there were company presentations.
A very full two days which kicked off with a presentation by Linda Yueh, Chief Business Correspondent, BBC World News opened the eyes of the audience to economic and key developments which might affect the health of the media and marketing industry over the next twelve months.
Charlie Crowe, who was on stage with Martin Sorrell last year, once again proved to be a smooth, relaxed interviewer when he spoke with Stephen Allan and Steve Mosko, President, Sony Pictures Television (the man with the courage to produce the outstanding series ‘Breaking Bad’).
Inevitably, the metrics and digital platforms seemed to dominate although there were interesting sessions on content marketing and keeping brands connected to local culture.
In contrast to the torn jeans and t-shirts at the creative shows, the dress code at Festival of Media gala dinner and awards presentation was black tie. A pleasant change which made this event feel like a grand occasion rather than a night at the pub.
The ‘Agency Network of the Year’ was MediaCom and ‘Agency of the Year’ was UM Australia. Click here to view the full list of winners.
To encourage younger professionals, the organisers took a leaf out of the AdFest book, and offered the ‘Rising Star Award’ to young people under 30. Five finalists had to work on a real-life brief and pitch in order to win the award. This year it went to Donna Sharp who is based in China.