SINGAPORE: Brand advertising in Indonesia tends to be very straightforward, but a growing middle class and a shift to digital means there is scope for greater experimentation according to industry figures there.

"People are generally content and happy and it shows through in the creative work," said Shubho Sarkar, CEO, Bates 141 Indonesia.

"While advertisements that don't pretend to be anything else – and simply communicate benefits without any irony or outrageous creativity – don't tend to win awards, Indonesians that I know don't really care," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific

Another aspect of this is the heavy use of celebrity endorsements. "Most brands have a star on their roster and they want to milk them at every opportunity," reported Anne Ridwan, CEO, Leo Burnett Indonesia.

But there are signs this situation may be changing. "Indonesia is in a unique position where population growth is coinciding with unparalleled technological development," according to Susan Salop, vp/TubeMogul Asia.

She pointed out that while TV advertising continued to take the lion's share of adspend, consumers were increasingly watching video content on digital devices.

And digital advertising expenditure is growing fast – up 80% this year, eMarketer predicts, with mobile slated for an enormous 2000% leap from an admittedly low base.

Indonesians are also beginning to lose some of their traditional conservatism and preference for sticking with brands they know.

"What is unique about Indonesian consumers is that they are willing to experiment with products, brands and content," explained Yogesh Anand, director of marketing/chocolates, Asia at Mondelez International.

He had observed "a growing trend towards adopting new tastes and experiences which opens the door for up-trading consumers."

In this febrile atmosphere of change, "There is room to push the creative boundaries and be more experimental to bring to life the insights and surprise our customers," Anand stated.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff