This is the second in a four-part series by Spikes Asia 2015 jury presidents in the run-up to this year's festival.
When defining creativity, our tendency is to look for things that are out of this world. The latest, the most advanced. Something so intricate. But for me I reach back to the basics, the foundation of what is great. And it always starts with the idea that moves the viewers through insight not just by the latest or the greatest technology.
For me it’s really all about how technology touches humanity and brings us closer. For example, hybrid cars were developed to make the environment better and produce energy that’s sustainable. Giving back to the nature we have destroyed. It should never be technology for technology's sake only. It needs to connect people the way it used to: the warmth of watching television as a family, a road trip that leaves amazing memories, a long-distance telephone conversation that brings loved ones closer through a meaningful dialogue that lingers for days. These innovations truly touched humanity and brought warmth through technology.
The Mobile category is still a new breed in our award shows, but soon it will be become a standard category where it will be like the traditional media. Once we forget that it is a mobile category we can then begin to create ideas that truly reflect our everyday lives. We carry our phones everywhere we go. We use them every minute of our lives. They have become one technology that is almost part of us. Each phone is a true reflection of one’s lives. It contains our history, our loved ones, our plans and our interests. This little device has all of our life information in it and more.
The more we become familiar with digital and mobile, we will have more cutting-edge creative—the idea being the main focus rather than the technology. At the moment there are lots of mediocre communications in the mobile category. They are not really expanding the usage of the mobile. It’s no longer just a phone. It’s a camera, a video recorder, a magazine, a book, a newspaper, a television and a computer. Everything is in this device. It’s amazing what you can do with your phone now.
‘Google Cardboard’, for example, is a simple cutout cardboard. You insert your phone and voila, it turns into a homemade virtual-reality device. After debuting at Google’s 2014 I/O conference in June, Google shipped more than 500,000 Cardboard units by the end of the same year—largely thanks to low price and wide availability. Google has launched a software development kit to help people create even more VR applications. It is the most inexpensive virtual-reality reader out there, giving mobile new possibilities to change behaviour and have a great impact on consumer life.
Meanwhile, ‘Clever Buoy’ demonstrates the power of the Optus network by developing a piece of breakthrough shark-detection technology. The smart ocean buoy detects sharks in the water and sends instant alerts to lifeguards via the Optus network, protecting the lives of both people and sharks. It’s not technology for technology’s sake, but for our—humans’ and animals’—sake.
These two pieces of work exemplify cutting-edge technology and push the boundaries of what we can do in this category. They ended up taking home a few Cannes Lions this year. Ultimately, they make our lives better, safer and more pleasurable with the smart use of technology. This is what all of us in the industry want to achieve.
Wain Choi is global ECD of Cheil Worldwide
Spikes Asia, the region's biggest festival of creativity, returns this year from 9 through 11 September at Suntec Singapore. The Spikes awards will be presented on 11 September at the Ritz Carlton, with an afterparty, sponsored by Leo Burnett, at The Clifford Pier at Collyer Quay.