Advertising Week (AW), an annual gathering of brand, creative, entertainment, marketing, media and technology industry players, has announced the postponement of the maiden edition of Advertising Week Africa (AWAFRICA) because of the rapidly developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Tosin Lanipekun, Advertising Week Africa’s Executive Director, said: “The commitment of our corporate and media partners and both the South African and Johannesburg local governments is resolute. And the thoughtful advice of our Advisory Council all point in the same unified direction. We will get there, but this is simply not the time as the world unites to fight this unique, common enemy.”
One of six global Advertising Week editions planned for 2020, AWAFRICA joins a long list of Coronavirus casualties, a list which includes a number of large-scale business-to-business events, most of the world’s major music festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the 2020 edition of Mobile World Congress, and most recently, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games.
This marks the third postponement of an Advertising Week event in the past three years due to broader global environmental and societal conditions. The inaugural edition of AWLATAM in Mexico City was pushed forward from November of 2017 to February of 2018 due to a massive earthquake. Since that time, the event has taken place three times, most recent just a few weeks ago in early March just ahead of the worldwide lockdown. AWAFRICA was already postponed from November 2019 to May 2020 due to xenophobia-fueled violence. Advertising Week Europe, which was earlier billed for March 16 to 19 was postponed till September 14, 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“As conditions on the ground allowed, we came back bigger and better in México City and that’s certainly the mandate for AWAFRICA. Our commitment is unwavering, but like everyone else we recognize the realities of where we are now and the priority for all of us is to do what we can to help end this crisis by following the new rules,” said Advertising Week Global CEO, Matt Scheckner.
Among the side events that were planned during the AWAFRICA were: live appearances by Tiffany Haddish, Steve Harvey and T.I.; a day-long Youth Summit for 1,000 with a focus on education and jobs; the launch of Kevin Hart’s Comedy in Color in Africa; the launch of ADCOLOR Africa and keynotes by a large number of of speakers including High Commissioner Tembi Tambo, Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka, National Urban League CEO Marc Morial, Acclaimed Actor, Director and Playwright Dr John Kani, Music of Black Origin Founder Kanya King, CBS Correspondent Michelle Miller, AAF COO Connie Constance Frazier, Saturday Morning Founders Kwame Taylor-Hayford, Jayanta Jenkins, and Geoff Edwards.
No new dates for the have been announced for the event.
“Africa is at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and it is just too early for us to make any reasonable forecast as to when the crisis will have been fully addressed and definitively over.” said AWAFRICA Advisory Council Chairman, Tunji Adeyinka. “As soon as conditions allow, we will be back and remain committed to bringing the sharpest minds from across the African continent together with their global contemporaries for an outstanding showcase of innovation and creativity,” he added. “The biggest message at this time is to stay safe, unified and optimistic, even as we have been advised to keep a social distance from each other. We will triumph over this virus together”
Advertising Week is a global education, engagement and event platform for advertising, brand, creative, marketing, media and technology professionals. Founded in 2004, Advertising Week has grown into a leading business-to-business event in New York City. In addition to New York, Advertising Week’s global footprint has expanded to five additional worldwide live events: AWEUROPE (London); AWASIA (Tokyo); AWAPAC (Sydney); AWAfrica (Johannesburg); and AWLATAM (Mexico City).