CAMARINES SUR – After months of preparation and anticipation, the 22nd Advertising Congress (AdCongress22) formally opened Wednesday as industry leaders challenged over 2,000 delegates to take on fresher perspectives in their “attack” on the ever-dynamic changes and trends in the advertising world.

Advertising Board of the Philippines (Adboard) Chair Andre S. Khan said in a press conference that with major countries experiencing economic downturns, the advertising industry is gearing for real hardship next year.

“Based on the number of pitches that the industry went through, there were less pitches for new business this year than last year,” Khan said.

“Because of what’s happening in Europe and the US, this coming year may be a little more difficult because major economies are undergoing downturns and this affects the Philippines. But on the other end, we feel there is no better time to invest in your own business and your own country than now because the peso has remained strong,” he added.

The advertising industry has changed and evolved, especially with the advent of digital technology.

AdCongress22 Chair and Philippine Daily Inquirer President Alexandra “Sandy” Prieto Romualdez said, “Our businesses and our jobs have changed dramatically in the last few years along with the rules of consumer engagement. And to stay in the game, we can no longer play by the same rules. So it’s either we let the game change us, or we change the game.”

With quite the thought-provoking theme, “Change the Game,” this year’s Ad Congress hits the ground nary Camarines Sur into one of the primary tourist destinations in the country, CamSur Governor L-Ray Villafuerte said that CamSur is ready to take on the challenge of hosting this year’s Ad Congress.

“When I presented to the AdCongress22 committee a few months ago, I told them that I had planned this event as a personal commitment and vision that someday we would host the Ad Congress. Today is the fruition of our vision. We built two convention centers in five months and CamSur is all set and ready to welcome the delegates,” Villafuerte said.

Meanwhile, the opening of the multimillion peso trade exhibit dubbed as “TRADEX22 RUGAME?” featuring hundreds of booths with the country’s leading brands showcasing their best products and services also opened Wednesday.

This article was published in the November 16 issue of the Manila Bulletin.