Locals Applaud Pakistan Delegates at Ad Asia Show Opening

12 November 2003

In India's historic 'Pink City' of Jaipur, redolent with images of rajahs and elephants, fourteen hundred of the adworld's global elite packed the conference center as Ad Asia 2003, the biennial pan-Asian advertising conference, got under way Monday.

The note of friendship and cooperation was set by an outbreak of spontaneous goodwill toward the 22-strong delegation from neighboring Pakistan with whom India's political relations have been strained for decades - sometimes even on a war footing.

At the event's inauguration ceremony, warm and unprompted applause greeted Pakistan's delegation head Seema Jaffer, head of Karachi-based Bond Advertising.

But the biggest ovation was reserved for keynote speaker, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan - himself probably India's biggest brand - whose speech upended the official conference theme: Break the Rules.

Bachchan contended that the market is king: rules are never broken; even going against the norm mirrors what the market wants. He cited the "angry man image in the 1970s [which] was a requirement at a time the [India-Pakistan] Emergency had been declared".

And the actor's own portrayal of the gameshow host in KBC "was again a requirement of a post-liberalisation age where younger consumers needed a reassuring face telling them that money isn’t a bad thing".

Data sourced from: The Times of India; additional content by WARC staff