Adrian Peter Tse
Dec 9, 2014

‘Citra Pariwara’: Indonesia’s effort to raise national creativity

JAKARTA - Now in its 27th year, Citra Pariwara, Indonesia’s creative advertising festival has had its share of ups and downs. The tides are changing however, with strong domestic and international support that has led to record submissions, greater recognition and a sense of reinvigorated creativity in 2014.

Lulut Asmoro, CEO JWT Jakarta
Lulut Asmoro, CEO JWT Jakarta

In 2010, Citra Pariwara was in trouble. The festival had been poorly managed, often running overtime until three in the morning and basic food catering had gone awry. “The only thing available at the event was warm beer,” said Lulut Asmoro, CEO at JWT Jakarta, laughing in hindsight. “But the serious problem was that submissions were low and people weren’t bothering to show up anymore.”

The creative industry in Indonesia was having serious doubts about the festival and the quality of the judging panel. This coincided with a time where Indonesian creative work wasn’t making it to the world stage. Asmoro describes it as “downhill” period when his generation had “passed the baton to the next generation” resulting in disconnect.

Realising the situation, the organising committee approached Asmoro to revive Citra Pariwara. In effect, Asmoro had to breathe new life into the festival, rebuild its foundational structure and put the annual event under the kind of spotlight that would gain attention.

“We’re not Cannes. People don’t come running to us,” said Asmoro. But with a career spanning two decades, he has the contacts to “get something going”. His first move was to use these connections and change the support network surrounding Citra Pariwara.

“The credibility of an ad festival is the quality of people you bring to judge and speak,” said Asmoro. He placed three prominent agency CEOs as chairman and another three in advisory roles. The next step was to find world class international judges and speakers. “It’s not rocket science but it needed to happen to set things straight.”

Citra Pariwara is a self-supported festival that utilises sponsorships from the connections and affiliations Asmoro has helped build around it. In addition, entry fees for submissions and tickets to the show help keep the festival feasible.

Citra Pariwara took place in late November

The 2014 festival, which concluded at the end of November, featured an international panel of judges including Lo Sheung Yan, chairman of the worldwide and Asia-Pacific creative council JWT Shanghai, Kalpesh Pantakar, regional creative director, Y&R Dubai, Rene E. Menenez, CEO at Better Digital Solutions Malaysia, Minoru Fujii, ECD at Hakuhodo Inc Japan and others.

The theme of this year’s festival was ‘return on idea’ which aimed to show that creativity and measurement don’t have to be at odds but are meant to support each other. Two-day seminars on the theme were held, featuring prominent speakers from creative, media, brand and research backgrounds.

Outstanding work came from Lowe Indonesia in the film category while Leo Burnett Indonesia was particularly strong in the radio and digital categories. Asmoro believes Citra Pariwara is an important regional and global stepping stone for Indonesian creative work.

Lo Sheung Yan, president of jury, shared a similar sentiment regarding this year’s entries. “I'm very confident that the work that wins here stands a good chance of winning in the regional or even the global award shows,” said Yan.

Regarding the atmosphere at the festival, Asmoro had this to say: “Unlike award shows that I know of, ours is very informal. We serve food, but it’s a buffet setting. So the whole atmosphere is so alive and relaxed. Of course the three bars serving free flow help too.”        


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