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APAC The Drum Awards Brand Strategy

4 trends that shaped digital advertising in APAC in 2022


By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

December 21, 2022 | 7 min read

Members of the jury for The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising APAC give us a run-down of the biggest trends emerging from this year’s entrants, from new platform innovation to limit-pushing creativity, in-depth data and hyper-local startups.

DigAd APAC trends 2022

The biggest trends coming from The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising APAC

Earlier this month we celebrated the very best digital media and technology at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising APAC during the first-ever The Drum Awards Festival. (You can watch the reveal again here or read the full list of winners here.)

We also caught up with the judges of the 2022 show to hear their thoughts on this year’s entrants and about the innovative trends coming from the Asia-Pacific region. Here’s what they had to say...

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1. ‘Tapping into new platforms’

Fernando Sarael Jr, business director, Ogilvy: “I see a trend of tapping into new platforms such as Twitch and identifying influencers and content creators in such platforms that are relevant to both brand and target consumers. There is breakthrough work that shows a strong understanding of how the target consumers use these new platforms and how it drives the creative idea and results. This is a very promising trend as it shows that we do not just use new platforms for the sake of using something new, but rather platform innovation rooted in strong consumer understanding.

“The type of work that I liked is work that clearly demonstrates strong target audience insights and matches them with the right platform, which in turn inspires the creative idea. It shows a ’platform first’ strategic approach: starting with how the target audience uses such platforms (websites, social media platforms), identifies a key behavior pattern and leverages this for the creative idea.”

2. ‘Pushing the limits of creativity’

Sapna Arora, chief marketing officer global head of brand, OLX Group: “What I’ve seen is agencies and companies trying to use creativity and mix online/offline led by the compulsions of Covid with many of these experiments working quite well.

“The work that really resonated with me was work that used creativity and pushed the limits, not letting hurdles stand in the way of achieving what they wanted. Covid related hurdles were quite successfully overcome by some of the campaigns.

“To my surprise, many showed strong resilience and did not leave any stone unturned to implement go-to-market activities, despite market limitations. However, some entries were not very well drafted, and to next year’s entrants, make sure your reports are well-structured and represented.”

3. ‘In-depth data insurgence’

Dathesh Rao, head of brand marketing, advertising and paid media, APAC, IBM: “This year’s nominations have a pattern that I’ve noticed. One is much more in-depth data used. It is one of this year’s most potent tools and has been used well. Using a multi-layered approach to geospatial data analysis, potential consumers may be analyzed and the undesired ones can be filtered out to reach the correct audience. The use of data has seen many brands successfully run their campaigns and draw success.

“Then there are unique product integrations. This year, the brand’s ecosystem was firmly established, going well beyond simple references. The process of integrating brands is made stunningly effortless by this novel technique. And brands that have a purpose by not just promoting products but also by connecting with global issues and solving them, which is why they are so well-liked.”

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4. ‘The rise of hyper-local startups’

Hiren Desai, head of digital marketing, ASEAN and South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank: “Data is now the default. We know how crucial it is for a successful campaign, but Asia was slow to adapt due to disparity in market maturity and low internet penetration. But accessibility and affordability of smartphones have helped many countries to join the video and mobile commerce revolution by skipping the desktop era altogether. Covid only accelerated digital adoption by further boosting the APAC martech projected to grow over 17% yearly until 2026. It has enabled brands and agencies to tap into data-led planning, execution and measurement, something most of the entries highlighted.

“Increasingly, brands and agencies are partnering with established hyper-local start-ups. In April 2021, there were almost 200 unicorns (startups valued at $1bn or more) in the Asia Pacific, second only to the United States (290) and ahead of Europe (69). Some of the entries built the whole campaign around such startups providing them with specific audience reach, established user base and capitalizing flexibility of startups on offerings like loyalty points, coupons, samplings and O2O measurements.”

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