Staff Reporters
Sep 10, 2015

J. Walter Thompson brings Think Tank to Spikes Asia

SINGAPORE - For the first time this year at Spikes Asia, J. Walter Thompson and Spikes Asia partnered to present Think Tank, a one-day, closed-door event held on Wednesday for 18 senior regional marketing directors from a range of global and regional companies.

Tom Doctoroff
Tom Doctoroff

Think Tank has been a fixture of Dubai Lynx since 2013; this is the first time it was held in Asia.

Said Terry Savage, festival chairman, “The JWT Think Tank is exactly the sort of initiative that helps the industry address the complexities of the world we live in today. The opportunities to deep dive and question the way forward in a unique forum such as this is an invaluable addition to the Spikes program.”

The session, moderated by Elena Sukacheva (below), managing director of Global Content Solutions and Global Events at The Economist Group (pictured below), focused on digital marketing. 

Speakers included Angela Morris, executive planning director of J. Walter Thompson Australia, and Alastair Leathwood, executive director of TNS (below), who unveiled “Participation – Beyond the Hype,” a report based on a big regional survey on online participation. The two later presented the survey results during a Spikes seminar session

The bottom line, said Morris, was that brands need to stop using online participation as a key performance indicator: “Stop giving agencies a brief that says 'I want a participation idea'," she said. "Ask us to deliver an idea that engages people’s interest. And participation can be at the back of that.”

Tom Doctoroff, CEO of J. Walter Thompson Asia Pacific, laid out the fast-changing content world, while underscoring that the basic tenets of advertising remain; even today, or maybe especially today, content needs to be true to a brand idea and ultimately change buying behaviour.

Google’s Mike Glaser (below) talked real-time marketing and mobile devices. He shared graphs that showed online searches spiking right after TV commercials aired during big events like the Super Bowl in the US, urging marketers to run online campaigns concurrently to catch those spikes.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s Steven Kalifowitz (below) noted that people are spending seven out of every eight minutes on their smartphones in apps, not browsers, so ads need to be targeted at apps too.

Christina Andersson, managing director of Hyper Island Singapore (below), discussed re-organizing business teams to be more agile to get ahead in a digital world.

Finally, Neil Stewart, head of agency, APAC, for Facebook (below), warned marketers against “lazy targeting, creepy targeting” on Facebook.

Just as Indian television has become overrun with ads that turn off viewers, he said, Facebook sometimes serves up ads that irritate users because they already use a certain product or service.

One marketer who attended Think Tank, Pallavi Chopra, senior brand director of India’s RedBus said the session was “enriching and worthwhile.

“We’ve all been talking this digital language, but the conversation is often about the tools," Chopra said. "What I found interesting at this session was that the whole focus was on communication.”

“We were thrilled to have so many clients engaged in debating the fundamental questions of our industry as we strive to align timeless marketing truths with the possibilities liberated by new technology," said Doctoroff. "We look forward to expanding this platform in the future."

Editor's note: As this was an invitation-only session closed to press, the information above was provided by J. Walter Thompson.


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