I want the Mecca of marketing to switch from Cannes to Asia, declares APPIES chairman

AlvinThe recently appointed chairman of awards programme APPIES, Alvin Neo, has spoken of his ambition to see Asia surpass Cannes as the “mecca of marketing excellence”.

Speaking at the opening of the 2015 awards in Singapore today, Neo, who was appointed to lead the awards in July, said the Institute of Advertising Singapore (IAS) was committed to “uplifting the standard of marketing and advertising” across the region.

This year’s APPIES, which has the theme “relearn everything”, is designed to question what sits behind marketing campaigns and to get “under the hood” of advertising, he said.

“That’s where the learning happens and true excellence gets transmitted and inspires other teams to produce good work,” Neo said.

The highly regarded former Johnson & Johnson and P&G marketer, who is now CMO at Parkway Pantai hospitals, said the IAS was “passionate about raising the standard of advertising and marketing across the Asia region”.

He set down goals to rival, and beat Cannes, as the event to which he said the industry looks up to.

“For too often everybody thinks that to go to Cannes is the epitomy, the mecca, the pinnacle of marketing excellence,” Neo said. “Over time we’d like to see that shift to Asia, and be a part of that shift.”

He told marketers gathered at the National University of Singapore Society that “dynamic, disruptive and continuous change” was part and parcel of modern day marketing.

And he warned that the speed of change risked leaving some behind.

“What was seen as best practice as recently as three years ago may not be best practice today,” he said. “If you have been out of the business, if you went on sabbatical for two years and came back, a lot of things will have changed and you might find yourself struggling to catch up with the times.

“That is why we believe the APPIES provides such a platform for all of us to keep current on the latest thinking and the use of the latest tools.”

Neo dismissed the notion of “new media” and “digital marketing”, urging delegates to approach it simply as marketing.

“Is it digital marketing? No it’s not digital marketing anymore, it’s marketing in a digital age,” he said.

The APPIES chairman also raised the financial issues that have hit Asia this week, warning that the next 12-18 months could be challenging.

“I’m not an investment forecaster, but it’s not going to be easy for the world, especially for Asia, and that’s where the real quality of marketing and marketing teams will come to the front,” he said. ” We may have to possibly make do with less resources but we still need to make an impact.

“And in a difficult situation the people who lean forward are the ones to get brand advantage and market share.”

Steve Jones


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