The 44th World Congress, a marquee event of the International Advertising Association (IAA), kicked off in Kochi, the business capital of Kerala, on Wednesday bringing together a wide range of experts and professionals from the advertising, marketing, technology and media sectors.
The three-day event was jointly inaugurated by Srinivasan K Swamy, chairman and world president of IAA, actor Amitabh Bachchan, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Pradeep Guha, chairman, steering committee, IAA and others at the Grand Hyatt Lulu Convention Center here. Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Limited and head of the 44th World Congress, was slated to attend the event, but was absent.
“In the complex world of marketing, IAA can help you ride the change. The world is changing, we are changing and we need someone who can set the direction. IAA can actually be that compass … IAA is the only body which has as its members comprising of media, digital marketing, technology companies, analytics companies, PR agencies. There’s no other platform in the globe where every aspect of marketing communication is at the centre,” Srinivasan K Swamy said in his address.
Bachchan, in his nearly one-hour long address that he described as a ‘poetic prose’, touched upon ‘Brand Dharma’ — the theme of the event, and the way he has seen the world of branding change over the years. “Brand dharm is brand ka dharm. Where dharm is the code of conduct, the performance, the vision, objectives, ethics and values of the brand. Where the brand represents the products and services such as food products, consumer durables etc,” he said.
“I do not advertise alcohol, tobacco etc. That’s my dharm … I am not a master of this craft. Far from mastery, I can’t even sell a bottle of drinking water to a thirsty person without your ingenious scripts.” This is the first time that the IAA World Congress is hosted in India. The IAA, which took shape in 1938, is based out of New York and has branches in around 45 countries. With an attendance of over 2,000 delegates, the event will see over the three days an array of speakers dwelling on diverse subjects such as new age media, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IOT), machine learning and digital marketing.
On Friday, celebrities including actor Deepika Padukone and eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi, are scheduled to participate in the event.