ADFEST rolls out its 2023 program line-up
Posted on 2023 Jan,10

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ADFEST has announced a line up of some of the most insightful speakers from the APAC region for its first live event for four years, with its theme, RISE, signifying optimism and confidence for an upbeat future. 

This very special ADFEST 2023, which runs from Thursday 23 – Friday 25 March in Pattaya, Thailand, will explore the latest production, digital, content and technology trends as well as unearthing the power behind the world’s greatest creativity.

ADFEST has confirmed the following sessions:


THURSDAY 23 MARCH: 9.30-10.05

“Sound at the Speed of Culture”

Diederik van Middelkoop, Executive Creative Director, Amp.Amsterdam // The Sonic Branding Company, Amsterdam


The power of audio is on the rise and more omnipresent than ever before. Knowing how to navigate the sonic space well is an unquestionable asset. The global pandemic has catapulted the use of streaming services, podcasts enjoy an ever-growing audience, and the use of voice as an interface has become an integral part of society. Platforms such as Tiktok have taken the world by storm, and completely transformed the music and entertainment world, as well as the way in which we create and enjoy content.

As Executive Creative Director with Amp.Amsterdam, Diederik works with agencies, production houses and brands directly. Diederik will speak about the growing importance of sound and music and the opportunities and pitfalls this is putting in front of brands, agencies and creatives.


THURSDAY 23 MARCH: 10.05-10.40

“Design Everything. Copy that?”

Marko Klijn, Company Director, Cirkus, Auckland


The Big Myth persists that by “making it just like that”, you take a shortcut to a quick result. The opposite is true. Copyright issues aside, replicating references sets out unrealistic expectations and puts your project in a straitjacket. Of course, it’s okay to reference but your project deserves a fresh approach.

In this session, using some of the latest and greatest from around the world, Cirkus Ringmaster, Marko Klijn, will make the case that spots with unique design and storytelling are the ones that cut through the clutter. You will discover that going to the drawing board first is the ultimate time and money saver. And for those who are still sceptic, he will show you some “make it the same” spots that simply fail, and how much time and money was spent on some key projects that, first and foremost, used design and storytelling that was fresh and compelling.


THURSDAY 23 MARCH: 11.15-11.50

“How Brands Can Take Advantage of the Billion Dollar Podcast Market”

Jeremy Ryan Slate, Co-Founder & CEO, Command Your Brand, New Jersey


The podcast medium is growing very quickly. It reached $2 billion in 2022 and will hit $4 billion by the end of 2024. It is a huge opportunity for brands because it is a medium driven by choice, meaning a listener decides to listen and actively follows a show, whereas in radio advertising the listener is a more passive participant. Due to the influence garnered by hosts, advertising on podcasts has an extremely good conversion rate for brands and is really changing the way that ad campaigns are run. Tim will demonstrate the value of podcast advertising with a real-life example in which listeners actually asked for ads to be restored to a podcast series.

Every brand needs to know the rules of engagement of this medium and how to implement it for maximum growth. That's exactly what this talk will do.


THURSDAY 23 MARCH: 15.05-15.40

“Culture & Technology: Two Worlds Converging Into One.”

Cyril Louis, Executive Creative Director- Asia Pacific, Publicis Groupe- Le Pub, Singapore

Laurent Thevenet, Regional Head of Creative Technology- APAC & MEA, Publicis Groupe- Le Pub, Singapore


People stop listening to you unless they want you in their lives, and culture is where to reach an audience today that is largely immune to ads. But technology is playing an integral part as culture and technology have merged. We live today in a world where the online self is as essential as the one in real life.

This merged world is where Le Pub lives, permeating culture by connecting creativity, data and brand experience. Cyril and Laurent will explore where and how technology and culture come together and how brands can fit into this new merger to connect with audiences in new and powerful ways.


FRIDAY 24 MARCH: 9.30-10.05

“Unlock Business Growth with Creative Leadership: A Non-Advertising Perspective”

Dickson Tang, Keynote Speaker & Author,, Singapore


Creative leadership, ie. your ability to unlock team ideas & creativity, is the key to business growth towards the future because the future, and with it, business as usual, will be unusual. Creative leaders will need new ideas and creativity to drive growth. The same applies to clients and business partners.

In this session, Dickson will share a simple “3i model”, so that creative leaders can help clients and business partners rise with creativity and thrive with growth. He will explain why creative leadership matters for the future of business, clients, and business partners. He will explain his simple 3i model to build the creative mindset, generate creative ideas fast, and drive growth and results through a creative "infrastructure". Finally, he will share practical examples of how businesses and organisations incorporating creativity into their operation.


FRIDAY 24 MARCH: 10.40-11.15

“Playing with Scenography for Brand Experience”

Hak Kyun Choi, Creative Director, Cheil Worldwide, Seoul


Scenography is an organic union of design elements such as scenic, drape, lighting, film and graphics that serve the purpose and directorial elements of a film. It originated in the theatre but has evolved with time. Humans, though, will always be at the centre of scenography. It is completed by human interaction. Brand experience has also evolved with time. It changed from a product feature focus and provider-oriented experience to a multi-layered consumer-oriented experience that incorporates brand philosophy and social responsibility.

This session will examine the contemporary brand experience in terms of scenography and how linear communication transforms to a multi-layered holistic brand experience through product launching events, exhibitions, retail stores, pop-up stores and brand showcases.


FRIDAY 24 MARCH: 15.05-15.40

“Experience is Overrated”

Ronald Ng, Global Chief Creative Officer, MRM, New York


The future of creativity belongs to the rising stars of our industry, the creator generation that is living, not adopting, the worlds of gaming, Web 3.0, the metaverse and all things digital and innovation. This is the fearless new generation we all can learn from.

MRM Global Chief Creative Officer, Ronald Ng, will share his personal stories from starting out as an underrated and inexperienced young creative in Malaysia to becoming a leader and entrusting his most junior teams to rise to the occasion and create some of the world’s most awarded work.

This is a session for professionals of all experience levels, who can play their part in empowering, recognising and celebrating the rising stars of the creative industry.


FRIDAY 24 MARCH: 15.40-16.15

“Sawasdee Konnichiwa: A Very Inspiring Exchange”

Takayuki Niizawa, Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson Japan, Tokyo

Park Wannasiri, Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson, Bangkok


Thailand and Japan have a long history together. Their people, art, food, design, fashion and pop culture have always flowed both ways, and still do.

This session will explore how that exchange inspires creativity in today’s hyper-connected world and how it can shape a style and identity that’s increasingly shared by the two countries. If creativity is the art of stealing, as they say, this session will examine how we can all explore each other’s references and perspectives to inspire more powerful and unexpected solutions.


FRIDAY 24 MARCH: 16.15-16.50

“Brand Purpose in Asia”

Hans Lopez-Vito, Chief Operating Officer, Asia, BBDO Asia, Shanghai


Nowadays, most analysis and writing about Brand Purpose comes from western markets or is based on subjective point of views rather than consumer data. As such, these questions remain: How do Asian consumers really feel about Brand Purpose? Which countries respond to what? And how can marketers respond appropriately?

Hans Lopez-Vito will present the insights from BBDO’s latest study, that sheds light on Brand Purpose through the lens of Asia. He will delve into the key drivers of what makes this approach to brand positioning relevant in the region and examines the socio-cultural nuances in how consumers from different countries respond to it.

This session aims to aid marketers and agencies alike with insights that will allow them to ensure the effectiveness of purpose-driven brand narratives. Hans also hope his presentation will serve as a good foundation for more Asia-specific explorations of the topic by the industry.


SATURDAY 25 MARCH: 14.30-15.05

“How Brands Green (Can We Solve The Consumption Conundrum?)”

Paul Kemp-Robertson, Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer, Contagious, London


The United Nations has described climate change as a ‘code red for humanity’ and we urgently need to rethink the role brands and advertising play in driving excess consumption. Sustainability is a serious business, but nightmare scenarios and incessant catastrophising don’t help. This is a time for creativity – and action. In this session Contagious co-founder, Paul Kemp-Robertson, explores what we can learn from the brands determined to communicate, collaborate and innovate their way to a more sustainable future.

He will discuss how advertising’s contribution to climate change can be measured and mitigated, which brands are meeting the challenge with creativity and commitment, and what can be done about the action and intention gap.


ADFEST is a non-profit-making entity that believes passionately in its role to nurture and support the creative industry in the Asia Pacific and MENA region. It is one of only 8 regional creative festivals included in the WARC Creative 100 Rankings.