It's about perception versus reality. There’s no doubt we have some amazing creative talent in the region. The work we’ve seen over the years has been testament to that.
However, much of that creative energy has been put into proactive work [Where an agency does work of its own accord, without a brief, and then approaches a client. -Ed.], scam work, or work that is at the fringes of a client’s main campaign rather than at the heart of it.
The majority of the work produced in Asia is still conventional, and dare I say it, formulaic, with many clients addicted to creative-strangling research methodologies.
So the perception that Asia is a creative powerhouse is a thin veneer that hides the reality. The majority of campaigns ‘aired’ are predictable and safe.
So how does that bear on this year’s poor showing? Unlike the past, you have a higher chance of winning if your idea has scale, and some serious investment behind it. You can spot these ideas like a skyscraper in a low-rise suburb.
If you’re scurrying around doing proactive work on a shoestring, you’re just not going to compete. Perhaps it’s time to focus on helping our clients buy great work. It’s a painful process. And frustratingly slow. But if we don’t start now, our poor showing at Cannes might become a regular occurrence.