According to the Mayan calendar 21st December 2012 will mark the end of the world. Will the world be flooded as in the time of Noah or will there be undersea eruptions and our cities will disappear like Atlantis? Hopefully our future will not be so short but unless mankind faces up to global warming and takes action in the next year or two, life will become difficult for us all.

In the world of advertising and marketing, the earth is already moving under our feet and many are stumbling. Veterans in the industry look back regretfully to the good old days when agencies were integrated and earned a minimum of 15% commission. Media buying then was simply a case of working out the eyeballs and choosing between newspaper and TV stations. Creative Directors like Don Draper had time to have affairs or spend long boozy lunches!

The developments in digital technology have created a profound shift in our industry. The buying habits of consumers have changed, the balance has tipped in their favour and major corporations live in fear of Facebook criticism. The music industry swum against the flow but had to then go with the current. Even firms who led the revolution like mobile phone manufacturers were hit by new players not tied to old perceptions. Publishers are finally getting to grips with new ways to deliver content but only one or two have found the fresh platforms profitable and cling to the hope that digital tablets will save them.

The advertising agencies will have to be more nimble if they are to survive the changes in our industry. Already pioneers in social media have gone or are going and more will be overshadowed in the near future. Friendster and My Space once led the field. Even today’s most popular search engines cannot be complacent.

However, I remain optimistic and excited by the changes. AdAsia took the brave (or foolhardy) decision at the end of last year to drop our print issue and concentrate on an online magazine. Naturally we made some errors and I admit we are still refining our site after 12 months of operation. Personally I am learning how to get the best out of this new platform and observing with fascination how the world of communications is redefining our lives. The most significant change for AdAsia has been a growth from 3,800 readers in print, mainly located in Singapore, to 140,000 subscribers across the globe with the largest number in India.

May I wish you all a great year ahead. In case the world is going to end on 21st December, I advise you live life to the full in 2012 and remember to tell your family and colleagues how much you appreciate them. It might also be a good idea to go to for instructions on how to build a wooden boat!

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