Festival of Media Asia Pacific: Agility Is Key

When an event sees that a mass gathering of media trailblazers is set to tune the future market trends right, the message has to be consistent and loud. This year’s message from the Festival of Media Asia Pacific is Agility, in the form of speed and nimbleness towards brand content interaction and identity adaption.

Big monikers worldwide sent their representatives to attend the conferences held at Singapore’s Capella Resort, where the crowd and speakers engaged in topics from the comical differentiation between the Internet and Facebook, to the potential of the mobile platform, and somewhere around running beagles.

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The first morning kicked off with an insight into Asia’s business potential from BBC World News’ Chief Business Correspondent Linda Yueh, paving the way for digital solutions to turn the heads of Asia in the near future. The day continued with a session with Smartlife’s CEO Andy Baker and OMG’s Chief Innovation Officer Guy Hearn explaining their cause towards interactive electrical appliances because very soon, the fridge will not only be able to tell you when you run out of milk, but also what brand/size/type of milk you should be drinking. In fact, as they predicted, everything in the grocery stall will be connected to the Internet by the end of 2020, therefore producing mass data for marketing knowledge consumption.

Rita Nguyen, the Co-Founder and CEO of Myanmar’s first social network SQUAR had a discussion pertaining to the social networking habits of her country with Shell’s Americo Campos Silva, and concluded her stand with the simple fact that more people know Facebook than the Internet itself. The situation in Myanmar is not very different from the sister countries, where data is dramatically cheaper than landlines and everyone is Facebook messaging everyone, and this gives brands a clearer opportunity to tap their customer groups.


The session during the later part of the day saw the importance of story content when engaging with the audience. INK, India’s leading platform for the new voices introduced NowFloats, a startup project with the intention of simplifying website creation through text messaging. The apt setup of it saw the popular usage from the customers, where they get to create their individual online presences through the instant aid of hassle-free text commands. The idea of using story content to draw attention was echoed by UM’s Scott Donaton when he explained how a campaign with a believable storyline will be believed by the audience even after the intention of the brand was over. People love a good story, he emphasized, and they will keep telling the story after.

Native advertising was delved in depth with Warton Future of Advertising Program’s Jerry Wind and Yahoo’s Rose Tsou as they shared the frameworks on how brands should prioritise transparency as their content structure. Buzzfeed, the strong newcomer to the social content community, presented Scott Lamb to explain how they successfully incorporate their advertising strategies into their content to provide the full experience for their audience. Articles and advertisements can become one to fulfil the need of the consumer, even the one with cute animals (because everyone feels better after being tagged in a post with cute animals). Jason Hill from GE wrapped up the first day with the opportunities of the 160-year-old brand into the new market by using content in the form of videos and interactive stories.

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Bitcoin’s Founder and CEO Peter Vessenes opened up the second day by promoting the potential of the new digital currency with no digital footprints. The hype of it thinned when TNS came up next to assess specific brands and discuss about the projection of their potential towards the industry.

Twitter and Philips came together in the second part of the day to share the need to meet the increasing demand of real-time content when today’s customers expect brands to always be “on”. Twitter provided the industry with a challenge of defining the brand’s voice because customers can now engage in single communication patterns, and Philips advocated the idea by introducing their own version of the five-way communication.

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The other way of speed communication other than tweets would be videos. Leo Liang, the Senior Director of National Business Development of the China’s popular video site Youku Tudou shared the impressive statistics of online video coverage in his country. With almost 80% of the entire population watching videos, the potential of this market is slowly, but surely, growing into a solid opportunity.

This year’s Festival of Media Asia Pacific also hosted five separate sessions of innovation credited to trendsetting names. We really enjoyed the presentation by Unruly, which told us how a viral video worked with the science of online media sharing; and when Warc highlighted the mobile usage market through its survey, and pointed out the probable future of advertising with the emphasis on mobile platforms.

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Highlights from the grand award ceremony held at the end of the day saw MediaCom being awarded “Agency Network of the Year”, UM Australia bringing home the “2014 Agency of the Year” award, and Ogilvy & Mather with “Best Engagement Strategy”. As the Founder of Festival of Media and Chairman of C Squared Charlie Crowe said it best in his speech, “(There is a) high standard of creative media industry talent we have here in Asia Pacific.”