Staff Reporters
Sep 29, 2017

Live from Spikes Asia 2017

Cyborgs, blockchains, musical Oreos, a drag queen, AIs, gender-equality warriors, and much, much more in our liveblog from the festival.

Live from Spikes Asia 2017

Liveblog-style coverage of Spikes Asia 2017 from our editors at the festival. 

Greetings from Spikes Asia 2017! Our editors from Singapore, Hong Kong and India have gathered to cover the festival in words, pictures and videos. Tune in here for brief accounts of what we see and hear, click to see longer pieces and follow all our updates on Twitter. And by all means look for us and say hello if you're in the building. 

Posted at 15:30 Friday by Olivia Parker

In one of the most well-attended talks of the day, a team from Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living (HILL) ASEAN presented their recent findings on millennials by dividing them into two groups with two distinct patterns of behaviour. Both millennials born in the ‘80s and those born in the ‘90s feel that a significant gap exists between the two generations, they revealed.

'80’s millennials, said Ampa Theerapatsakul, strategic planning director at Hakuhodo Bangkok, use the internet for showing off to the world. They use Facebook to post special memories, like a virtual album, and they care a lot about how they look in social media posts. This insight led Hakuhodo to create ‘Telebeauty’ a 2016 campaign for Shiseido in which virtual makeup was projected onto a person’s face via an app so that during video calls, for instance, an un-made-up ‘80s millennial could appear perfectly composed. 

Having grown up in an analogue age, ‘80s millennials are able to draw a distinct line between virtual life and real life.

By contrast, ‘90s millennials don’t see a difference between their online and offline worlds, said
Devi Attamimi, executive director of strategy at Hakuhodo Network Indonesia. “Both for them is the real world. Posting on social media is like a natural habitat.” ‘90s millennials also prefer to share unfiltered, natural photos in the actual moment that they happen, said Attamimi, giving the example of one ‘90s millennial interviewed by Hakuhodo for the report who couldn’t even wait until after the interview was over before she posted a photograph on social media.

Online shopping is another area in which the two generations differ. Half of '80s millennials think online shopping is the best way to find a good deal, but many still like to go to physical stores to touch and feel the products. 90s millennials, by contrast, do much more online than offline shopping - and they also review products religiously. “90s feel it is their responsibility to share with the world what they think of something.” said Attamimi. 

Posted at 14:30 Friday by Faaez Samadi

That’s the message from Ian McKee, consultant and founder of Vocanic, which he sold to WPP three years ago. Find out more about it in our story.

Posted at 13:10 Friday by Olivia Parker

The advertising and marketing industry should be the experts people turn to for definitions of ‘growth’, not bankers or economists, said Ogilvy & Mather’s APAC co-CEO, Kent Wertime, given that growth is what clients are effectively buying from agencies.

Wertime called for a reframing of discussions about where growth will come from in future, branding the term ‘BRIC’, first coined over a decade ago by a Goldman Sachs economist, a “largely obsolete” notion. He also wants to retire the “now slightly condescending” label ‘emerging markets’, particularly in reference to trillion dollar economies like China, India and Indonesia that have become central parts of the global economy: “Who are we kidding! These are leading markets”.

Ogilvy's 12 velocity markets

Brands need to have “a sense of urgency” if they want to reach the next billion middle-class consumers highlighted in 12 ‘velocity’ markets—including eight in Asia—that Ogilvy identified in its 2016 ‘V12’ report, said Wertime. “Velocity is about more than just economic growth; it’s the daily pace of change of life, social structures, public sentiment, understanding what’s on their minds,” he said. Even consumers think their lives are changing faster than ever before.

Wertime made the point that agencies must also be bold enough to talk with their clients about the elements driving this velocity, including growth in education (especially among women); shifts from a minority urban to a majority urban landscape; and the lowering price of technology.

Posted at 13:00 Friday by Robert Sawatzky

People are literally falling in love with voice activation for a few key reasons and brands are already seizing the opportunity.  That was the message from the Innovation Stage this morning in a session hosted by Beijing Linglong and J. Walter Thompson.

Half our search on mobile will be voice activated by 2020, said Lo Sheung Yan, JWT’s APAC Creative Council Chair, citing comScore.  Why?  Because voice assistants (VAs) helps us perform tasks with ease like a digital butler and ease the cognitive load on our brains since voice inputs are more easily processed in our heads than text.

VAs also help fulfill our cravings for more intimacy. Yes, you read that right. Kantar research in China found that 29 percent of users admitted to having sexual fantasies about their VA. Research for a Microsoft voice product in China called Xiaoice found that a quarter of users said “I love you” to it at some point.

So given these trends, how are brands entering the space? Enter the LingLong DingDong. Yes, you also read that right. The Beijing Linglong Company is a joint venture between Chinese voice-recognition technology specialist Iflytek and e-commerce giant It grossed US$18 billion last year in revenue.

Its home voice assistant, the DingDong, can work with brands like Bosch to carry out IoT commands to activate washing machines. Vice-president LV Fang outlined how the company has developed a hotel-room concierge service called Golden Keys that can help luxury hotel guests do things like order hotel services and make restaurant and entertainment reservations in town. Brands can pay to rank more highly among recommendations. 

Nestle has worked with Linglong to create the Nestle VA, a product that comes with a list of recipes, health and nutritional information to help Chinese families eat well (with Nestle products of course). To activate, users say “Nestle Nestle” in yet another exercise of brand reinforcement. The product, which will be available next month, will retail for an affordable RMB 299 (about US$45). Or, it can be given free to consumers who buy Nestle milk powder in bulk (with built-in commands to have more milk powder easily delivered). 

The Nestle voice assistant in China

How far will the Linglong Dingdong go to provide intimacy and love?  Thankfully not as far as one might think.  But they have created a VA called Bibo that dispenses simple health information to help comfort sick users and nurse them back to health, reading health information off wearables and providing voice-activated drug delivery services. 

Sooner rather than later, they’re betting, VAs will become inseparable members of our families.

Posted at 11:06 Friday by Matthew Miller

Posted at 10:55 Friday by Faaez Samadi

Finding the sweet spot between increasing product sales and growing your brand equity takes a lot of work. But when you get it right, it tastes so good. Just ask Bryan Rakowski, marketing director for biscuits equity (hands down the best job title at Spikes Asia) at Mondelez, producer of Oreos.

The company’s China-created Music Box, which saw consumers purchase Oreos that play music through a personalised speaker, was the blood, sweat and tears of many months’ effort, failures and most importantly, lessons learned.

It’s easy to drive sales alone, Rakowski said: you lower prices and offer more, like an Oreo multi-pack. “But when you play with the value equation, you can argue it has an adverse affect on equity when you train users to wait for a promotion,” he said.

Creating a home-grown Asian Oreo jingle was brilliant for brand equity, he said, but didn’t do much at all for shifting product. Creating a laser-etched Oreo Vinyl that played music like a regular vinyl was fun and innovative, but not scalable. Cue the Music Box, with massive results. Keep your eyes peeled for a full story later with more insights from Mondelez agency partner VML China.

Posted at 10:16 Friday by Matthew Miller

Have just posted a report on a panel discussion from yesterday that featured three marketers who also served as Tangrams jurors. What made the greatest work great? Find out, plus hear a very candid tip about what makes jurors annoyed.

>> Tangrams jurors: Need for localisation is not a debate

Posted at 9:04 Friday by Matthew Miller

Good morning Spikes Asia. Welcome to Day 3. Here are the final three shortlsts:

Thursday September 28:

Posted at 18:16 Thursday by Matthew Miller

Capping day 2, the Spikes Asia Masters of Creativity stage was graced with the presence of Gigi Giubilee, aka Gianni Gurnani. Gigi/Gianni is a drag queen by night and creative at Isobar Hong Kong by day. Despite her outlandish appearance and the fact she started her performance with a 5-minute dance/lip-sync routine that left the audience delighted (and in some cases frightened), she came with a very serious message for the industry. Watch our Facebook Live recap of the day to find out what that message was—and see Gigi herself make a surprise cameo appearance.

Posted at 17.05 Thursday by Faaez Samadi

Live streaming is booming, yes, this we all know. But it’s becoming annoying to consumers, because of—surprise surprise—brands getting in the way, rather than on board.

Don’t take that from us; take it from Meabh Quoirin, co-owner and CEO of Foresight Factory. Brands are increasingly committing the advertising sin of co-opting, which hyper-connected and super-cynical consumers are getting very bored of.

“Live streaming has exploded because is the new authentic,” she said. “But it’s been hijacked by brands with big budgets employing famous bloggers to push their branded messages. That’s a sure way to irritate your consumers, if your brands feel fake.”

The opportunity is huge, Quoirin said, as live “can be captivating, but it needs to be done on the consumer’s own terms".

An overwhelming majority of consumers “are looking for brands reflecting their own identities,” she said. “It can be uncomfortable territory for brands, going off-script, not controlling where the content is produced, or how. But they can learn so much more about what appeals to live-streaming consumers.”

So the message is: if you’re going to play, play nice. Don’t trample. 

Posted at 17.00 Thursday by Olivia Parker

“There is a great synergy between literature and service design” said Michael Mitchell, brand strategy director at Sapient Razorfish, as he prepared to take the audience through a series of lessons he thinks marketers can learn from literary greats, from Shakespeare to Kurt Vonnegut.

Mitchell quoted this line by the American author James Baldwin, for instance: “For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard”. Getting stories heard is at the core of consumer centricity, Mitchell said—and only by listening can brands create experiences that connect with people in a meaningful way.

Michael Mitchell brings a literary lift to Spikes with Kurt Vonnegut's 'shape of stories' theory

If Baldwin’s version of empathy is listening to our consumers, Shakespeare’s is reflecting the world as it is, holding the mirror up to the audience, Mitchell went on, quoting a speech in which Hamlet addresses a group of actors with the line: “hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.” Making sure we’re always holding up the mirror to our audience is a key part of understanding who they are, said Mitchell. “The opportunity is to turn that reflection into real understanding.”

In a third example, Mitchell played Kurt Vonnegut’s famous presentation of ‘the shape of stories’, in which the author maps the course of various classic plots—boy meets girl, for example, or the Cinderella story—on a ‘good fortune versus ill fortune’ graph to reveal the ‘shape’ they follow.

These stories also look like our consumer journeys, said Mitchell, which can likewise be plotted, with equivalent highs and low points. ”Every up and down is an opportunity to help consumers,” he explained. “It’s about an empathetic journey that understands their pain points along the way.”

Posted at 15.55 Thursday by Olivia Parker

Predictive analytics will be big in an AI-led future, said Francesco Lagutaine, chief marketing and experience design officer at insurance firm Manulife, speaking on a panel of representatives from three brands that are all already using the technology. “Between IOT and AI you’re going to be surrounded by real-time predictions,” said Lagutaine, giving the example of a person receiving a SMS saying they’re about to get hit by a car, and should take a step backwards.

His fellow panelist Siva Ganeshanandan, APAC director at Adobe Experience Cloud, said that he was “nervous, not negative” about a future dominated by AI—but confirmed he does not think computers can learn to be creative. “In the context of marketing, computers today can already produce creative,” he said, giving examples of machines making music or producing artwork. “But is that being creative? No.” At a brand level or a campaign level, he continued, a person still needs to determine strategy and that takes insight, which is fundamentally human.

Passion and creativity will be the last bastion of humanity as computers continue to develop, the panelists concluded. We are “way further” away from seeing machines that are able to replicate these qualities than ones that can learn intelligence, said Neil Stewart, head of agency, APAC at Facebook. “At the core of humanity and creative is unpredictability,” said Lagutaine, something that is completely counter to the way AI functions.

Posted at 15:40 Thursday by Robert Sawatzky

Coming off a 10 percent rise in first half profits globally, M&C Saatchi is feeling pretty good right now given the current climate, the agency’s Asia CEO Richard Morewood told Campaign at Spikes.  He feels it’s a validation of their independent business model, diversifying away from traditional advertising into design, CRM, PR and other marcomms specialisations.  Much of the ad business is derived from local clients, not the large FMCG firms than have scaled back their spending.

M&C Saatchi, whose local offices all own equity in the firm, still has a long way to grow in Asia, with five offices in the region currently.  Morewood is working on building the regional business and would like to see two or three more offices by the end of 2018, he told Campaign. Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are obvious targets, he said. Finding the right talent and right opportunites are tough though, since M&C tends to buy at the startup level and slowly build. 

Posted at 14:25 Thursday by Matthew Miller

PHD's regional head of strategy Chris Stephenson spoke with Moon Ribas, a self-described "elective cyborg". Ribas, an artist, has a device implanted in her foot that vibrates in tandem with a worldwide network of seismographs. The process of adding and becoming used to this additional sense, she believes, has made her more empathetic and more in tune with the planet—and ultimately more human rather than less.

PHD believes a growing trend toward cyborg-isation will impact not only creativity but also the media industry as a whole. We'll have more on this in a video post-Spikes.

Posted at 14:15 Thursday by Matthew Miller

A panel discussion hosted by Dentsu Aegis Network on gender diversity described how the media industry can intervene in a negative cycle in order to help shift perceptions and behaviours.

"It's not just that women are under-represented at the top, it's that women are dramatically under-represented in upwardly mobile roles," said Zoe Kinias, associate professor of organisational behaviour at Singapore's INSEAD. This happens because under-representation in the C-suite influences the mental models we all hold of what characterises women and men as business leaders, which in turn influences opportunities to ascend in business, which in turn influences representation—a negative cycle that is difficult to break.

Turning that cycle into a virtuous one requires action on many fronts. DAN is launching an unconscious-bias training programme, starting with the leadership and rolling out to everyone across the region, according to Joanna Catalano, CEO and president of iProspect APAC. But Kinias acknowledged that it may not be realistic to cure everyone of unconscious bias. That's where organisational structures and checks that prevent those biases from translating into discriminatory actions are critical. "We can inoculate ourselves," Kinias said.

Johanan Sen, head of strategy with Dentsu X in Malaysia, said the creative side has a responsibility to take part. "I work in creative strategy, which is about unpacking narratives," he said. "I think the depth at which we're having these conversations, the way in which we're breaking these narritves down...that is shifting and changing. It is now a business imperative to have those conversations, and you see more questioning of stereotypes."

When creatives don't properly dissect stories and stereotypes, he said, you get things like the recent Watsons campaign in Malaysia, which although it was based on a traditional story, touched off a controversy for showing characters in blackface.

"No one bothered unpacking that fairy tale to see if it holds up for this generation," Sen said.

"We have a moral responsibility to change these things." added Sean O'Brien, APAC CEO of MKTG and Posterscope.

Unconscious bias: The graph shows where men and women fall on a scale of 'more masculine' versus 'more feminine' traits when it comes to being "agreeable". Are you surprised how many men align with supposedly "feminine" traits and vice versa?

Posted at 12.05 Thursday by Faaez Samadi

Don’t get us wrong, the visual impact of an AR or VR experience is obviously critical. But the other side of that equation is more so, according to Rene Bokhorst, technical director at MediaMonks.

Given that the creative production house is responsible for the largest AR experience in the world to date, it’s probably worth listening to his advice on, well, listening.

“Our sound engineers say that 60 percent of a well-designed immersive experience is the audio,” Bokhorst said. “You have to bring it to life with sound.”

As much attention needs to be paid to audio as the visual element of an AR experience, which was the mantra MediaMonks applied to the Into the Wild project. The agency created a 10,000-square-foot virtual rainforest at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum to raise awareness of deforestation, in partnership with WWF, Google Tango and Lenovo.

More than 43,000 people have experienced Into The Wild since its launch in February, with 5,000 visitors donating to the WWF’s cause.

Victor Knaap, head of MediaMonks, said the project demonstrated the size of the opportunity AR has to grow faster than its cousin VR.

“What makes it way more scalable is that the device is already in your pocket, your mobile phone, and can be turned into an AR device," Knapp said. "It will move from experiential to essential.”

Knaap added that the global AR market is projected to be worth more than US$165 billion by 2024. Marketers, take note. 

Posted at 12.00 Thursday by Robert Sawatzky

One of the busiest pockets of Spikes by day is the Havas Café, where delegates flock for the best coffee. That’s where Campaign caught up with Vishnu Mohan, CEO of Havas Group India, SEA and Havas Media APAC. 

Since uniting creative and media divisions under a single P&L in March, Mohan said clients are appreciative of the new structure. “There’s no point not to leverage all our assets for the client” he said. Much of his role recently has bee in integrating the creative and media businesses.  “Both sides have retained important nuances but we now have unified processes,” Mohan said.

Of the general slowdown in ad spending affecting Asia, Mohan feels it has more to do with macro-economic factors than any industry-specific issues around extra scrutiny and transparency.  He remains bullish on Asia’s emerging markets like Indonesia and India where youth and social penetration rates are high. Growing Havas’ footprint in India will be an objective in the months ahead.

Posted at 09:21 Thursday by Matthew Miller

Good morning, Spikes Asia! This morning we have three new shortlists:

In case you missed it last night, here's the winners of the Tangrams Effectiveness Awards, and our editors' Facebook Live recap of yesterday

Wednesday, September 27:

Posted at 16.45 Wednesday by Faaez Samadi

It may not be the most surprising thing to hear that the youngest female world champion in MMA, One Championship’s Angela Lee, isn’t what she would call “a girly girl”.

But she was speaking in the context of personal branding, and her own has been meteoric as the face of the biggest Asian sports property in the world. As someone who does her talking with her fists and feet inside an octagonal metal cage, it was a surprise when Shiseido came knocking for her to be a brand ambassador.

“They are a big new sponsor that we’ve taken on, and a new venture for me. [As an MMA fighter] I’m not who you would correlate with a beauty brand,” she admitted.

But she found common ground with Shiseido’s current ‘Find your strength’ campaign, which resonates with her for obvious reasons. “It’s a really good campaign, and I’m proud to be selected for it,” she said.

As for personal branding, One Championship’s most marketable star said she “doesn’t fall into any specific category” and, while understanding the importance of branding, isn’t giving it too much thought right now.

“I’m just enjoying everything, doing what I love,” she said. “I enjoy relating to my fans through social media, as they see a different side of me.”

One thing that is top-of-mind right now is food. Currently in a strict pre-fight routine, Lee said she could kill for a pile of satay and some noodles. The irony being, she probably actually could. 

Posted at 16.40 Wednesday by Olivia Parker

Walking down the street in Jakarta you’d have the sense you were in a developed country, said Keat Soh, executive creative director at Dentsu Indonesia, setting the scene for his talk on cutting-edge technology in this emerging economy. Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest population and tenth largest economy—but the daily reality for many people is about trying to stretch their earnings to provide for their basic needs and those of their families, said Soh.

Addressing society’s problems on minimal budgets calls for a special variety of innovation, he explained: innovation that “hacks the system” and constantly finds ways to get more for less.

Soh cited the example of a clinic in Java that uses rubbish collection as a form of medical insurance, allowing patients to come for visits twice a month as long as they collect US$50 worth of garbage in exchange.

Keat Soh of Dentsu Indonesia

In another instance, Dentsu helped combat the growing problem of fake news in Jakarta by harnessing the power of users on Waze, the GPS community app for real time traffic information. By asking Waze users in Jakarta to verify breaking events on the spot, 80 percent of stories were identified as fake news in two days, according to Soh.

Another campaign aimed to battle child abuse in Indonesia, which frequently affects children who are adopted. Along with Yayasan Sayap Ibu (Mother's Wings Foundation), Dentsu launched a policy of sending mynah birds, which repeat words and phrases they hear, to the new foster home of every adopted child to try to catch any problems early on.

“Indonesia is fraught with opportunity and every day presents a new challenge,” said Soh, who said clients often come to the agency with brief that they want resolved “tomorrow, and for five cents”. Solutions often have to be found in loopholes in the system, he said.

“The least you can do when you have no money is to try your best and not give up,” he said. “Frugal innovation actually is the way to go.”

Posted at 16:42 Wednesday by Prasad Sangameshwaran

Raj Gupta, chief strategy officer, Asia Pacific, for MEC (soon to be rechristened Wavemaker after the merger with Maxus is completed), spoke at Spikes Asia about 'Brand momentum in the age of algorithm'.

According to him, understanding the purchase journey is the key to unlocking brand growth.

"However, as brands exposed to us, there is a positive or negative bias. The media touchpoints and other influencers have a holding effect on how we behave later," he said.

For instance, nearly 50 per cent of consumers have a stronger idea of which brand they going to buy before they go out shopping for that category. Citing several cases of the "priming stage", he pointed out how consumers search lesser, put lesser filters while researching the brands that were higher in their consideration set. For instance, in the FMCG category, building a priming bias can give a nine times higher boost in influencing consumer choice.

Depending on where you are located, the priming bias can be different for different categories and countries and can change according to the competitive scenario in every market.

One of the most important things is in building distinctiveness in the priming stage, he said giving examples of the tyre category where Pirelli has a huge priming bias, where young consumers pick up and convert quite easily.

In all of this, brands have to tackle the challenge of short termism, as studies indicate that more than 73 per cent of companies are short-termists. Of that, most were not maximising profits in the long term.   He said that as boardrooms were increasingly getting closer to brands, they were moving further away from the marketer. That's because boards do not relate with the language spoken by marketing. "The language of brands like impressions, salience, love, does not resonate in boardrooms," he said. Also in the age of short-termism, as boards look at the investment in brands, the effects of advertising are spread thinly into the future, rather than being seen as delivering immediate returns.

Posted at 16:00 Wednesday by Robert Sawatzky

Christian Mix-Linzer, CEO of Tracks & Fields in the Makers Lab

Christian Mix-Linzer, CEO of Tracks & Fields led the Makers Lab through the process of matching music to a brand. Using a case study of German e-commerce retailer Otto that needed the right music to match an animated film, he outlined some key lessons. “Music is subjective,” he said, “but we need to make more sophisticated music decisions.”

Some of his advice:

  • Cover the four elements of music branding when choosing a track: brand identity, audience, strategy of the campaign, storytelling (BASS for short).
  • Consider the music preferences of your audience and your client
  • But keep your options open. The client did not want vocals or famous songs, but Tracks & Fields found some songs fit well and the client liked them.
  • Famous songs are often too familiar to an audience and can distract them, but cover versions can work well.
  • Have backups and options.  T&F had two composers make different versions of the track found the client liked the choral version of the second composer.
  • Persevere. In this case the chief creative officer and film directors were dead set against a choral cover, yet a choral version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” was chosen in the end to much acclaim as the campaign went on to win multiple awards and 70,000 downloads in Germany.

“Sometimes it’s okay to take a leap of faith” Mix-Linzer said. 

Posted 15:00 Wednesday by Faaez Samadi

Today’s consumers are unpredictable, irrational and chaotic, according to Noriaki Onoe, creative director at Dentsu Inc. Luckily for Spikes attendees, he shared his top tips for making sure brands connect meaningfully and creatively.

Brands “need to be agitators to attract attention,” he told delegates, and that doesn’t just mean being shocking or controversial. Today’s consumers will see straight through that, so edgy but authentic is the key.

Reading media insights relevant to your medium is crucial, as is ensuring a social aspect to any campaign, Onoe said. “People are always searching for stories to share, so you give them stories. But leave space for participation, as it gives life to your campaign.”

Of particular importance for success with unpredictable, irrational and chaotic consumers is turning them into discoverers. Essentially, people love being the first one to share something new or cool, and that, however superficial, is a powerful drivers for brands to get hold of.

“People tend to spread the news when they think they’ve made a discovery,” he said. “Brands shouldn’t place themselves up in the clouds, they need to communicate on the ground with consumers.”

Posted at 14:40 Wednesday by Robert Sawatzky

Justin Shave and Charlton Hill from Uncanny Valley

Charlton Hill and Justin Shave from Uncanny Valley told the Innovation Stage not to fear AI. The fact that AI can ingest music, dissect it, break it down, remix it and regurgitate it in a new form does not mean that it wants to eat you. Rather, it just wants to play you something you’ll likely want to hear.

The duo spoke about how computers can isolate ‘appoggiatura’ (pangs of sadness) and ‘ear worms’ (catchy bits of music that stick in your mind) and craft new music and melodies determined by your mood. In short, one can imagine every brand will have a robot ready to be your personal DJ. 

Posted 13:30 Wednesday by Olivia Parker

Chris Chong of SumoStory and Robert Sawatzky of Campaign

“I don’t see the big industry players as competition, and I don’t think they should see me as competition either,” says Chris Chong, the founder of Singapore-based PR automation start-up Sumo Story, in conversation with Campaign Asia’s head of content, Robert Sawatzky.

Chong’s company is hoping to shake up the PR industry by providing services supported by data science, including the automated profiling of journalists and their interests and automated press releases. 80 percent of press releases may be able to be produced by AI in two to three years time, thinks Chong.

Addressing the question that his “significantly cheaper” fees might undercut the market, Chong said that his services are in fact targeting a sector that most of the rest of the industry prefers to avoid: startups. “My fees are really catered to a customer segment with basic PR needs who can’t afford them. Think of me as servicing the bottom feeders.”

Following a question from an audience member, however, Chong indicated that he may be open in acquisition deals in the near future. “I don’t think I can do this all by myself” he said.

Posted at 13:03 Wednesday by Matthew Miller

Al Moseley, International President of 180 Amsterdam, gave a talk about successful partnerships between brands and sports teams or leagues. 

Among truisms such as being on the same wavelength and speaking with one voice, Moseley argued that many brands approach sponsorship exactly backwards. Rather than coming into a partnership  asking 'What's in it for me?' They need to come in asking what they can do for the sport and its fans.

An example of what comes out of such thinking: Western Union, in partnership with UEFA and Unicef, created 'Pass', a programme under which every pass by every player in every match equaled a day of education for disadvantaged kids around the world.

Moseley also recounted telling HP "you are not cool" when it wanted to sponsor esports. The company had a killer game machine called Omen but no credibility in the esports sphere. The partners created a Twitch-hosted live event involving the game Smite, but with a twist: players were mildly tortured—by cold, mild electric shocks or calls from their mum—while trying to play the game. The point again: The brand had to actually become part of the culture of the sport, rather than just slapping a label on it.

Posted 12.00 pm Wednesday by Olivia Parker

Danny Searle references Fearless Girl in his talk

The one constant in 30 years of advertising has been change, said Danny Searle, chief creative officer at BBDO Asia, speaking on the Masters of Creativity stage. But lately, the sheer amount of choice available to us, whether messenger apps or TV channels, has lead to something new: confusion. “If we’re all confused, how are we supposed to get our messages out with any clarity?”

In the best works he saw at Cannes this year, said Searle, there were three constants: acts - brands showing instead of telling; insights - the research to back up these acts; and ideas, which are known to work better than facts in terms of invoking emotions.

Posted 11:32 am Wednesday by Rick Boost

Take a quick tour of Spikes Asia, with your friendly guide, Campaign marketing editor Faaez Samadi, in this video produced by Rick Boost, Campaign's video journalist.

Posted 11 am Wednesday by Olivia Parker

Jayanta Jenkins

“If you chose to inspire the world, rather than being cool, how would that look?“ asked Jayanta Jenkins, global group creative director of Twitter, opening the first session on the Masters of Creativity stage at Spikes. “Agency people probably chase cool more than substance at times.”

Jenkins went on to take the crowd through real world examples of people who have helped inspire and "realign" him as he's gone through his career, from Bob Marley to Alfred Hitchcock and James Brown, with the overarching message that “when you don’t chase cool, you end up tapping into something really authentic that connects with people.”

Posted 10:33 am Wednesday by Matthew Miller

On the In Focus Stage, where our colleague Babar Khan Javed is acting as emcee throughout the festival, Baker Lambert, global data director with TBWA\Worldwide, talked about using data to power-up creativity.

Arguing that nine out of 10 of the best ideas in creative agencies never get enough buy-in to actually get made, data can be a powerful tool to "sell-through" ideas, he said. It can also put an end to pointless and non-productive arguments with clients; Lambert cited a client who was convinced that music by '90s alt-rocker Melissa Etheridge would make the perfect soundtrack for a campaign targetting 16-year-olds, but was quickly convinced otherwise by Spotify demographic data showing Etheridge's audience.

Turning to AI, Lambert argued that it is not going to take creatives' jobs, but in fact will empower them. He cited the example of an in-house brainstorming AI system that generates questions for creatives, based on knowledge of the relative impact of different forms of media and other factors. By helping to spark creative thinking, this tool let a junior creative team beat out a group of their seniors in a head-to-head test, he said.

Posted 9:25 am Wednesday by Matthew Miller

First up, today's batch of shortlists has been posted: 

The Innovation shortlist was announced last week. 

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One of the largest independent supply-side platforms argues that as DSPs promote direct path solutions, publishers have an even greater need to rely on sell-side expertise and tools.

7 hours ago

Asia-Pacific Power List 2022: Melissa Hopkins, Optus

From innovative metrics to memorable brand-building tactics, it’s no wonder that Hopkins is one of Australia’s most prolific marketers.

7 hours ago

Publicis elevates Jason Tonelli to CEO of Zenith ANZ

Tonelli will continue to lead Razorfish until the end of the year while his replacement is recruited.