Matthew Miller
Feb 26, 2021

Purpose, laughs, and boppable tunes: Spikes jury members assess this year's entries

SPIKES ASIA X CAMPAIGN: Presidents and members of several Spikes Asia juries share the top trends they spotted in the jury Zoom rooms, with video examples.

Purpose, laughs, and boppable tunes: Spikes jury members assess this year's entries

panel discussion on Wednesday afternoon at Spikes Asia X Campaign took viewers on a visual journey through this year's crop of Spikes Asia entries, with four jury members (most of them jury presidents) identifying trends they spotted and sharing relevant video examples.

The shortlists for Spikes are out, and the winners of the gold, silver and bronze awards will be announced bright and early Monday morning (March 1). You'll have to wait until March 4 to find out who won the Grand Prix awards and special awards. 

The participants on the panel were (L-R in picture below):

  • Joakim "Jab" Borgström, worldwide chief creative officer, BBH (president of the Innovation jury)
  • Emily Bull, managing director and founder, (president of the Entertainment and Music jury)
  • David Guerrero, creative chairman, BBDO Guerrero (served on the Film, Print & Publishing, and Radio & Audio juries)
  • Vanessa Ho Nikolovski, chief client officer, APAC, Weber Shandwick (president of the PR jury)

The comments below have been lightly edited for clarity.

Trend: Innovation for good


More and more companies today are actually doing great things to help people in society, help people in general. And I think I've seen several projects this year that are doing that.

Example: 'Donation dollar'
Client: Royal Australian Mint
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne


I love this idea. It's very simple idea. It's so small, but also so big. ... This coin is made to be given. It's made to go on and on and back into society and encourage people to donate and give it. ... How many times in your life do you have an opportunity to actually design a coin, and put it out there for millions of people to see? So I'm a little bit jealous about that.


We had utterly brave, bold work that shattered myths and reached really deeply into marginalised communities. 

Example: 'Sperm positive'
Client: New Zealand AIDS Foundation
Agency: DDB New Zealand


At such a human level, the work was creatively presented, and was just such beautiful work. And the power of that, that deep humanity, that emotion, made this a terrific case. 

Trend: An increase in entertaining and long-form work

Bull (speaking of the Entertainment category):

We definitely had content for purpose. But there was a sharp increase in fiction work. And that was in contrast to a decrease in documentary-style work. ... The narrative work was really strong. Five or eight years ago there was no fiction work, and to have it dominate now is a huge change. ... Malaysia was really strong there, they had some really great creative flair in their storytelling. And Thailand had us giggling with crazy humour. 

Example: 'The sauce bowl'
Client: Maepranom chili sauce
Agency: Sour Bangkok


One of the things we loved about it was just the just the ridiculousness of it. And I think it was in contrast to some of the work with purpose. ... The visuals and the escapism and the humour, we just absolutely loved it. And that visual of wiping the chilli sauce on her face and eating the chicken drumstick, it stays with you.


"It's really interesting to hear from Emily about the Entertainment jury, and I think we saw that echoed very much in Film as well. There was a lot of purpose-driven work, but there was really an increase, I felt, in entertainment and longer-form videos. We're seeing six-minute, eight-minute, 15-minute videos. ... I think we want escapism, we want narrative. There's a yearning for narrative that takes us through ideas and builds strange brand worlds that we can dive into. And the more successful ones of these, I think, allowed us to forget, for a moment, at least at the beginning, that we were entering an ad. They created something intriguing in its own right.

Example: 'Band'
Client: RC Cola
Agency: GIGIL Manila


[This ad and another in the campaign] weren't really that agreed on in the jury, but I want to mention them because I do feel that there's something that struck a popular chord here. ... This is a very popular hit. And I think it's just a sign of that broader trend of people wanting some weirdness.

Trend: Proactive thinking leads to new biz opportunities


[In the Innovation category] there were several ideas that are ideas for products or services that are born inside the agency, and then turn into products that actually have been generating new revenue streams, new business models and new opportunities for the agencies in general. ... Maybe it's better than pitching, because instead of pitching against five or eight other agencies, you create something great as an in-house product, and then you get the call from the potential new client. 

Example: 'Tuna scope'
Client: Sojitz Corp
Agency: Dentsu


The unique thing about the Innovation jury is we had a Q&A of 10 minutes with [the creators of] each shortlisted entry. It was amazing to see, in this case, the tuna-loving people from the agency that had been working hard, spending so many hours over three years, to pull this off.

Trend: The power of earned attention


In the PR jury, we saw how they were really reaching across media channels and platforms, and using them in really fresh and new ways.

Example: 'The world's most reported trailer'
Client: Trigger Happy
Agency: Dentsu Webchutney


It led to a lot of conversations in social channels. And celebrities stepped into the discussion. This was a little controversial in some of the judging panels that I was on. Some folks were saying, it's just really promoting the movie, right? I mean, it's kind of self serving. But I think, looking at some of the impact there, they had some good results. ... It was clever, using the theme of the movie to really take that conversation into the public realm and try to speak directly to viewers and get them to take some action.

Trend: Finance brands embracing new realities


Something I've noticed, and I don't know if I'm alone in this, is that financial brands and banks are suddenly becoming a bit cool. They're actually doing some better work. Banks are not really about branches anymore, they're really about apps. And they need to compete in the same space. And again particularly from Thailand, there's a whole lot of really good financial advertising.

Example: 'My goal'
Client: TMB Bank
Agency: Ogilvy Bangkok


I like it because it is quite a restrained, disciplined film, compared to some of the work we see from Thailand. It's so pure and single-minded. I like it.

Trend: Effective use of culture


Music was a really strong category. It was small, but it was really, really strong. And we were quite a group of harsh judges. We were really looking for music that that haunted us, or music with a hook that we could all kind of sing along on our Zoom calls and dance along with. And we definitely found that. 

Example: 'Rhythm of Korea'
Korea Tourism (in-house)


I really loved it because there were no communication points, and in an entertainment and music category that was really appreciated. It's nothing more than some wacky dancing to music with an awesome hook. And we all seriously were bopping along as we judged. And I think it felt quite symbolic of what Korea wants to represent, almost like a brand-building piece for them. We know them for K-pop, and this wasn't K-pop, but it was it was wacky, fun music set to the backdrop of beautiful Korea, and it did really well and had some really great results as well. 

Trend: How about just spreading good cheer?


We saw quite a number of campaigns that were really very positive, bright and happiness-inducing. And they were kind of orchestrated to bring collective cheer or benefit. And that impact was clear. People responded amazingly.

Example: 'Good morning world (Day 2 of 365)'
Client: Tourism New Zealand
Agency: Special Group New Zealand


What I loved was the commitment to this. It was one video a day for 365 days, and that collective buildup was so incredible. And of course they showcase all the different parts of New Zealand. Tourism New Zealand had a number of these campaigns that stood out for connecting people in really sincere, very heartwarming ways. That kind of simple, uncomplicated humanity really spoke to me.

See all our Spikes Asia X Campaign coverage:

Campaign Asia

Related Articles

Just Published

15 hours ago

Tech On Me: Is Apple renewing its focus on ...

In a busy tech week, Apple unveils new ad tools, Oracle exits from ad tech, Amazon makes a big Taiwan bet, and Musk launches a war on Apple devices, and other weekly highlights.

16 hours ago

Campaign Global Agency of the Year Awards 2023: ...

New Zealand's Special repeats as Creative Agency of the Year while The Weber Shandwick Collective was named Asia Pacific Network of the Year.

17 hours ago

Agency Report Cards 2023: We grade 31 APAC networks

Campaign Asia-Pacific presents its 21st annual evaluation of APAC agency networks based on their 2023 business performance, innovation, creative output, awards, action on DEI and sustainability, and leadership.

17 hours ago

Agency Report Card 2023: Publicis Media

Starcom shone brightly for Publicis Media agency in 2023, and the Groupe decision to award staff bonuses was well received.