Asian Advertising Experts Discuss Market Trends at DigiAsia in Taipei | Taiwan News

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan this week attracted some of the biggest names in advertising from across the region and the world to attend the DigiAsia 2022 marketing conference in Taipei.


Taiwan News was able to speak to some of these influential voices in Asia’s advertising industry and hear their thoughts on the future of their industry in the new digital age of Web3. This included advertising industry leaders representing the International Advertising Association (IAA), the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) and the Korean Federation of Advertising Associations (KFAA).


On November 16, ahead of the DigiAsia conference, Taiwan News spoke with Srinivasan K. Swamy, AFAA President, and Ramesh Narayan, AFAA Chief Strategy Officer and IAA Vice President for the APAC region.


The two veteran advertisers shared their views on the digital transformation taking place in our world today and discussed how the advertising industry is adapting to this new digital age.


Also joining the interview was Surya Kotha, CEO of Xlenz, a California-based company that specializes in augmented reality. Kotha demonstrated some of the possible applications of online advertising integrated with AR.




Srinivasan K. Swamy – President of AFAA


The AFAA organization was founded in 1978 to provide a network of advertising associations in Asia, covering the entire spectrum of advertising, from print to radio and television, and now the digital realm. With the growing importance of the online space for business, AFAA recognized the need to organize a conference dedicated to exchanges between digital advertisers in Asia.


The result was DigiAsia, which was first held in 2014 and organized by the Taiwan Association of Advertising Associations. DigiAsia is held biennially in Taiwan, while during off years, AFAA focuses on the AdAsia conference, which is hosted by a different host country each time, with the one planned for next year in Seoul.


According to Swamy, while digital advertising has been important for some time, the pandemic seriously accelerated the world’s digital transformation. The way people have trusted and used digital spaces in the past two years has sent a powerful signal to the entire advertising industry.


With the world on the cusp of the Web3 era, user engagement and online experiences have become defining characteristics that are reshaping the advertising industry. “Advertisers strive to make immersive user experiences a central part of marketing campaigns,” Swamy explained.


“Technological advances have changed the way we do business. Very soon, the digital ecosystem will become the center of all economic activity,” Swamy said. He emphasized that the advertising industry has an opportunity to be at the forefront of this economic and social transformation.


Swamy said he hopes organizations like AFAA can provide a stable forum for communication and cooperation between advertising associations. He said a new membership constitution has been drafted and AFAA intends to seek more members and add new members in the coming years.


“AFAA aims to impart knowledge and advice to advertisers in Asia for greater coordination, in terms of industry practices. This type of integration takes time, but eventually a new journey will begin.”


Asian advertising experts discuss market trends at DigiAsia in Taipei

Ramesh Narayan – AFAA Chief Strategy Officer, IAA Vice President


During the DigiAsia conference, ahead of AdAsia 2023 in Seoul, Narayan announced that AFAA had decided to establish a series of new awards for advertisers working in Asia; “Change Makers for Good” Awards. Narayan said that he came up with the idea for the awards after considering two things.


First, for many people, the ad industry doesn’t have a particularly “bright” reputation, according to Narayan. Second, the current global landscape and difficulties in the wake of the pandemic have given the industry an opportunity to address its shortcomings and cultivate a better reputation going forward.


Therefore, the “Change Makers for Good” awards are a symbol of AFAA’s commitment to encourage advertisers to see themselves as a force for good and position the entire industry to do the same.


“Every successful brand in the world can thank an advertiser or advertising agency for its success. Now, in the midst of this digital transformation, we must recognize that no industry has the power to influence people in the way that the ad industry can,” Narayan said.


“Going forward, we want to focus on changing mindsets and becoming changemakers forever.”


The “Change Makers for Good” awards will be divided into four separate categories: individuals, governments, the general activity of the participants on the regional stage, as well as specific products or services. Those who have made significant contributions to helping others, protecting the environment, or transforming society or the digital space in a meaningful way may be nominated for the award.


Nominees will be finalized in January and judging will begin in March. Winners will be asked in advance to prepare a presentation for the public announcement of the winners at AdAsia 2023.


Ultimately, Narayan said his goal is to change young people’s perceptions of the advertising industry so that they recognize it as a potential force for good. Similarly, he hopes to see more young people excited about joining the industry and making positive change in the future.


Both Narayan and Swamy agreed that Asia is far ahead of other regions in adapting to the world’s rapid digital transformation. In places like Taiwan and India, for example, young people are not only highly educated, but also seem eager to embrace new technologies such as digital payment systems and teleconferencing.


Asian advertising experts discuss market trends at DigiAsia in Taipei

Surya Kotha, Duncan DeAeth, Srinivasan Swamy, and Ramesh Narayan. (Photo TAAA)


Surya Kotha, CEO of Xlenz, gave Taiwan News a glimpse of how hardware and augmented reality are likely to be integrated into the next era of digital advertising.


He used a tablet to scan a newspaper, including print ads for a fitness program, a motorcycle, and a real estate development. The tablet brought the ads to life, providing 3D models and interactive screens with which the user can interact. When such technology is integrated with a headset or smart glass system, the ads themselves can become a source of entertainment.


“As technology comes and goes, customers are always limited by the hardware they use. However, in the Web3 space, the potential of personalized advertising will greatly enhance the user experience,” said Surya.


Talking to these esteemed guests in Taipei, it’s clear that the future is full of possibilities, both in the digital space and in the real world, where digital technologies and advertisements will be integrated through AR systems like the one being developed by Xlenz.


Hopefully, as companies and advertisers move into this exciting new era, they will do so in a mindful way that respects people’s privacy while, as Narayan hopes, strive to become a force for the good in the world.

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