Magz Osborne
Sep 6, 2011

INTERVIEW: Lowe and Partners’ Michael Wall to speak at Spikes 2011

SINGAPORE – Ahead of a presentation at Spikes Asia 2011, Global CEO at Lowe and Partners Michael Wall, tells Campaign about letting the agency’s creatives - and its work - do the talking.

Lowe & Partners global CEO Michael Wall
Lowe & Partners global CEO Michael Wall

At Spikes 2011, Wall will be speaking alongside Lowe Philippines’ executive creative director Leigh Reyes. Their topic will be: ‘For the many not the few – populist creativity in Asia.’

Wall is quick to point out that Reyes – and the network’s creative work – will be centrestage. “Still in advertising the emphasis tends to be about creativity for the niche audience; at Lowe we are demonstrating that real work for real clients is also award-worthy and award-winning.”

The agency has proved that this year, particularly in Southeast Asia, with a number of wins at Cannes and One Show, and most recently Lowe Vietnam being shortlisted for the Jay Chiat Awards – for clients Unilever and Nestle.

Asked about the network’s apparent creative resurgence, Wall says the irony is that the agency has always had a good capability in Asia, “We had not done enough to remind the competition, the agency and our clients of that.”

He feels now that everything is in place. It is time to make sure “that the whole is better than the sum of the parts.”

But, he cautions that the agency won't be becoming complacent on resting on its laurels. "There’s a lot more we can do. In Asia, we have to put ourselves out there in terms of new business.”

On the topic of clustering, grouping markets by maturity, rather than geography, Wall says the network tends to take an "econometric" approach, rather than a strictly "economic" one.

“Lowe is well-placed in Asia, and in Latin America, with strength in emerging markets.” The network’s IDEA communities, he says, are proving apolitical as well as fluid and dynamic.

“There’s no need for rigorous demarcation,” says Wall. “We work very much based on client need rather than imposing our structure. We prefer to think of it as a healthily pragmatic approach – more control where necessary, or more decentralised.”

Asked for his opinion about the global economy, and the fallout in Asia, Wall says that the advertising industry’s biggest foe is uncertainty. “We are an industry reliant on client calendars, on certainty, on launches. We rely on a go-to-market structure, but uncertainty leads to paralysis which impacts the rhythm of our business – that’s the key worry.”

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