The Economic Times
Jaipur, November 11 2003
What Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pervez Musharraf couldn’t quite do, where Laloo Prasad Yadav cut ass impression but not much loc, AdAsia 2003 has managed: a successful crossing of the border from Pakistan to Jaipur.
When they entered they could very well have been any other team of Indian delegates. Not until one of them stretched out his hand and said, “Hi! We’re from Pakistan and we would like to register” did anyone take notice of them. The journey from Karachi to India could have been completed in two hours but it took this first-ever delegation fully 22 hours, thanks to the no-fly zone between the two countries. They flew first from Karachi to Dubai, had a 10 hour stopover, then caught a flight to Delhi and onwards to Jaipur. But they were hardly intimidated as Saadia Shariff, senior general manager marketing print, Jang Group told us: “You are sceptical about entering India after all you hear in Pakistan but right from immigration to the other officials we sailed through.”
Of course they are great fans of India and Indian advertising and would not have missed AdAsia for anything in the world. “We had an extra long journey due to the Dubai detour, but we are happy to be in India” says Masood Hamid, general manager marketing, Dawn group of newspapers, who told us with glee that Indian movies release in Pakistan on the same day as in India, official ban or not. The 10 man Pakistani contingent of media and advertising executives was among the first to reach ADAsia for registration. “India is like a second home to me, it’s the home of my forefathers” says Ahmed Kapadia, managing director, Synergy Advertising.
And this wasn’t the stereotypical all-male delegation – the two smartly attired , jeans- clad women among them definitely caught the eye, it’s Shariff’s second visit to India, and she is excited about being here “Colours is what Rajasthan reminds me of, and I am looking forward to exploring Jaipur. I will explore all the colours here, be it chunnis, other fabrics or artifacts in the time that I am here,” she told Brand Equity. Despite the frosty official relations, clearly the people of the two countries will know a lot about each other. And this is even true for Indian advertising which they assure as is greatly admired.