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Advertising Week APAC Returns In-Person to Sydney
Marketing & PR
New York, USA
From the popular Mentors Wheel and brand activations to the IAB careers fair, APAC director Clive Prosser shares the highlights with LBB’s Delmar Terblanche

After two years, the highly anticipated Advertising Week APAC (AWAPAC) returns with “unrivalled content comprising skill-building presentations, insightful keynotes, and thought-provoking debates”, according to Advertising Week APAC director Clive Prosser. As one of the region’s best-loved industry events, its engaging format has typically attracted  strong attendance to Luna Park in Sydney, and over 3,000 delegates are expected from 2nd to 3rd August. 

“At Advertising Week”, Clive says, “ we’re obsessed with the future. We’ve invited the most extraordinary thought leaders from inside the industry and beyond to gaze at the future, predict trends, analyse the data and set a new agenda.” 

As Clive puts it, the entire event boasts this forward-looking spirit – as well as the exhilaration of being back in person. “We’ve curated the programme across three main spaces – The Great Minds stage, the Innovation Factory stage and The Tech Lab stage. The programme covers a range of critical topics from diversity and representation to mental health and how we address the current resource and talent crunch.” He highlights the following, “NewsCorp is hosting a really interesting panel featuring controversial former homicide detective, Gary Jubelin; and Twitter has a panel with Adelaide United midfielder, Josh Cavallo on living authentically in a sport that has traditionally not been very accepting of LGBTIQ+ players.”

He adds that one of the unique aspects of Luna Park is the space and opportunity for these activations. “This year is the same, without giving away too much detail, Amazon, Meta and TikTok are doing some great things, Twitter has done an amazing job with the Delegates Lounge, Yahoo is hosting the Super delegates and Speakers, and of course the PubMatic hot dogs are back!”

Also featured this year is the “Mentors Wheel” sponsored by Daily Mail, where delegates can spend time on Luna Park’s iconic Ferris Wheel to ask an industry leader for advice on anything. For students, the IAB careers fair will give graduates facetime with the companies that are hiring.

The return to an in-person event is a big deal for AWAPAC, which had experienced two years of successful editions before the pandemic hit. “It’s certainly been a long two years,” Clive acknowledges. “A lot has changed since the last AWAPAC, so everything will be interesting. We can’t do everything we usually do – for example, we made a conscious decision not to do the Wrap Party this year due to the current situation, and people’s safety and health are always our priority.” 

Of the 3000+ expected marketers and delegates, Australia, as the host country, sends the largest proportion - then New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan. For those unable to attend in-person, the event will also be livestreamed for the first time, and will be available to delegates on demand for 30 days afterwards. Clive also points out that “from an accessibility perspective, it also makes sure people in rural and regional areas can also get involved and feel included”.

Nevertheless, the fact that AWAPAC is largely in person is driving much of the excitement.  “What’s certainly obvious to me is that face-to-face, in-person connection is the only way to create the best working relationships. I’ve definitely missed the interaction with everyone. Virtual meetings done via video are nowhere near as engaging. I’m not sure that people’s expectations have changed, but the feedback we’ve received to date is that the industry is hungry to get back to IRL events, experiences and networking.

“We aim, in all our events globally, to include all parts of the industry and bring everyone together. We look to include the media owners, the media agencies, the creative agencies, the tech sector and marketers. What this means is that the industry can finally re-connect, interact, network, collaborate and really enjoy everything the programme of events has to offer,” says Clive.

Looking forward, Clive shares AWAPAC’s plans for the future, “We have an eye on 2023 already, as well as the rest of 2022. I’ve already mentioned the IAB Careers Fair, and we’d love to look at extending this relationship with them and also what we can do here. We also have the Elevate series that we do with the great team at AANA, which we will look to make even better. Growth was the plan for 2020 so let’s say we put that on hold (!) and will look to do that after this year’s AWAPAC.

“The foundation of what we do hasn’t changed – thought leadership, networking and meeting with peers all while having a smile on your face. It’s going to be a great couple of days, and we can’t wait to see everyone.”

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