For nearly four years, Professor John Doody Chacko was relentlessly focused on hosting the IAA World Congress in Malaysia, often monopolizing social gatherings with the topic. His fixation even drew concern for his family's endurance. Despite warnings, he persistently pursued support, eventually finding success with the event held in Penang. Supported by various entities including the Penang State government, the congress marked a significant milestone for Southeast Asia. This dedication of MARKETING magazine acknowledges John and his team for their efforts in showcasing Malaysia on the global stage.

The Journey to the Congress

The journey faced significant hurdles, especially with the 2020 pandemic bringing global disruptions. The congress, originally set for 2021, was delayed three times. Despite these challenges, the IAA Malaysia team didn't give in to adversity. They pushed through the difficulties, emerging stronger and ensuring a successful outcome.

“When we embarked on this journey to bring the world to Penang, many doubted our capabilities. After all, we are a small state, a nation, and a small association in Malaysia, tasked with hosting a world congress that has previously graced the grand stages of iconic cities such as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, Beijing, Dubai, Moscow, and most recently in Kochi, India. But we dared to dream big, fueled by the burning spirit of our team and the boundless potential of our collective efforts” - John D Chacko

About Theme RE-CODE

The congress theme, "RE-CODE," originated from brainstorming sessions in Malaysia and has since garnered widespread acclaim across ten countries. "RECODE" aptly reflects the congress's mission to innovate best practices, reimagine brands, and transform the world positively.

Delegates & Speakers

The 45th IAA World Congress in Penang saw 1036 delegates from 35 countries, with over 400 international and 600 Malaysian participants, alongside more than 70 speakers over three days. Attendees included industry leaders and innovators from prestigious organizations such as the United Nations, Google, Meta, and BBC News, encompassing a range of sectors from media and education to government and creative agencies.

Meta Dinner at Kebaya Dining Room

The pre-congress festivities at the 45th IAA World Congress, sponsored by META, commenced with a momentous kick-off dinner. Distinguished leadership teams from the IAA and ANA, alongside the ANA’s CMO Global Growth Council, gathered for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and shared experiences. Guests enjoyed a delightful culinary experience, sampling Penang’s famous Nyonya cuisine, adding local flavor to the international gathering.

Congress Sessions in a Glance

The 45th IAA World Congress spanned three days, each with a unique theme. The opening day focused on "Sustainability for Growth, with Good," starting with a UN perspective on how sustainability drives brand and business success, and discussing the shift towards a regenerative economy for societal benefit.

The second day centered on "Creativity with Tech for Better Life," examining how technology enhances creativity in branding and business, with insights into AI, machine learning, and other technologies aimed at strengthening business-audience relationships.

The final day, aligning with International Women's Day, emphasized inclusivity, exploring the role of innovation and technology in promoting gender equality and inclusivity, with a continued focus on the impact of AI and technology on business evolution.

Some Highlights

At the 45th IAA World Congress, notable sessions included:

- Caroline Yap from Google Cloud on Generative AI, highlighting its role in automating tasks and generating insights, with a focus on responsible AI use.
- Dr. Kieran Chacko discussed AI in healthcare, particularly its impact on cancer care, emphasizing AI's transformative potential for health systems and society.
- "The Great AI Debate: Betterment vs Threat," moderated by Milan Agnihotri, explored AI's benefits and ethical concerns, from job impacts to healthcare advancements.
- Petal Ads' session on transcending geographical boundaries showcased smart-device marketing's future and intelligent advertising.
- Meta's presentation revealed their AI investments for creative marketing, demonstrating new content creation tools.
- iFlytek introduced AI-driven translation solutions, enhancing attendee experiences by breaking language barriers.
- A session on education's role in marketing's future stressed preparing professionals for industry changes.

These highlights reflect the congress's focus on AI's transformative role in marketing, healthcare, and beyond, alongside discussions on ethical practices and the future of education.

IAA Compass Awards

The biannual IAA Compass Awards recognize leadership excellence and volunteerism within the IAA global community. 2024 IAA Golden Compass, Honorary Life Member, Champion, Young Leader and Executive Director Compass Award winners were announced by Diane Slade, IAA Vice President Awards, with 21 honorees from 12 countries receiving recognition. Penang Governor Tun Dato’ Seri Utama Ahmad Fuzi Bin Haji Abdul Razak presented prestigious awards to winners from Australia, China, India, and Malaysia.

Diane Slade stated, "The IAA is primarily a people organization, and these Awards recognize and pay tribute to our outstanding volunteer members for their many achievements and services to advance the IAA globally. They contribute their leadership and commitment to the marcoms community with vision, passion, energy, and action."

The 45th IAA World Congress ended on a powerful note, celebrating inclusivity beyond diversity alongside International Women’s Day. This final day highlighted progress and emphasized the importance of understanding female consumers' needs. The focus shifted from simply recognizing the importance of women to understanding their specific needs and preferences. Ultimately, the congress called for the marketing community to adopt a more inclusive approach and unlock its full potential by recognizing the significant role women play as consumers and creators.