Aaron Koh
Jun 24, 2016

Cannes 2016: Outdoor work too formulaic and outdated

Aaron Koh was a jury member for the Outdoor Lions, and found work from Southeast Asia lacking.

Cannes 2016: Outdoor work too formulaic and outdated

After days of judging in the Outdoor category and looking at the awards that have been given out to other categories, I truly feel that Southeast Asia is lacking a bigger presence.

It’s my first time at Cannes and it has been such an experience sitting in the jury room for 60 hours, listening to 17 different points of view. It’s educational, frustrating, exhausting and inspiring, all rolled into one. Southeast Asia needs to get out of its comfort zone and focus on brave, creative and remarkably effective solutions that, I dare say, change the world.

The Grand Prix for the Outdoor category (DB Export Brewtroluem) defines the definition of scale in every level, ambient, outdoor, film, print, PR, media, and I bet it’ll be Grand Prix in three years for the Creative Effectiveness category.

That to me is what is lacking in Southeast Asia: The ability to stretch the potential of what we are so familiar with. A lot of outdoor work I’ve seen this year coming from Southeast Asia had very similar formula to what was done three to four years ago, mostly illustration pieces that showcase a problem in a humorous way with the solution being the product. There are too many of those “headline, visual, body copy on the bottom left and logo on the bottom right” formulas.

Are we still thinking that these are Cannes Lions trends and standards? Every year, the trends and standards will change and we will not stand a chance if we don’t start believing we do.

We have defined the future of the 2016 Outdoor category with DB Export Brewtroluem and I feel that outdoor advertising should not be as it used to be. It could be in any form, not just a billboard or a poster. It should make you worried, scared and uncomfortable.

Because if your boss doesn’t like it, maybe you’re doing the right thing.

Aaron Koh is regional executive creative director for Southeast Asia at Govt Singapore

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