Last week, Leo Burnett held the quarterly Global Product Committee (GPC) in Singapore with worldwide chief creative officer Mark Tutssel at the helm. Kicked off 20 years ago, the company positions the quarterly conference as a business tool for honing talent and sharing best practices within its network. In this tête-à-tête with Campaign Asia-Pacific, Tutssel touched on issues of technology and regional challenges, but every topic led back to creativity.
What is the purpose of the global creative review?
It started about 20-25 years ago as an internal way to share the quality of work. It was the first collaborative process and became very potent. People wanted to participate actively and it turned into a really great business tool. It brings together best-in-class thinkers and helps maintain a standard.
The primary objective is to make sure the results are great and that it is both inspirational and stimulating. The relentless focus on the quality of work creates a community, shared vision and standard.
What value does the GPC add during a pitch process?
It really demonstrates quality. Nobody knows brands better than clients. Few years ago, McDonald’s CMO Andrew Hipsley was privy to one of these sessions and he was completely blown away. We then created a bespoke McDonald’s GPC and evaluated the team’s output in APAC. No doubt, there is a direct correlation between higher creativity and better business effect. The more educated your clients are, the more stimulated they get.
Critique Leo Burnett’s Asia operations. What do you think needs to be done to grow the agency even more?
Australia is perhaps one of the most creative countries in the world. Asia is one of the most important regions and we’re seeing Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Mumbai, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne and Sri Lanka contributing significantly. India is important as is China. Some of the smaller offices are doing well too.
Going forward, I think APAC and Latin America will stimulate the industry on a global footprint. Within the Omnicom-Publicis network, Leo Burnett is in the top five agencies. The agency has 98 offices as opposed to Ogilvy’s 450. All this comes back to the GPC, which really acts as a source of energy.
What are your predictions for the industry in 2014?
The industry is moving and calibrating itself. Social media is far more important. Social media will grow but it needs a “social spine.” Social tools have given us a borderless canvass – ideas grow and spread themselves across the globe. Story telling is still the core but it is no longer linear because people are platform hopping. Ideas will become more valuable because that’s the primary asset of a business. Branded content is going to be big. Berlin is the next big thing for content creation.
As for brands, multinational brands are seeking a global voice with a local accent. People used to move from the west to run APAC business units, now companies are looking for local leadership.