Shawn Lim
Aug 5, 2022

Spikes Asia Academy: Co-deans on what to expect for the inaugural year

Spikes Asia Academy 2022 will see new-world industry professionals hold talks culminating in a project or hackathon where participants have the opportunity to apply skills they have picked up.

L-R: Uma Rudd & Calvin Soh
L-R: Uma Rudd & Calvin Soh

Spikes Asia, the region's oldest and most prestigious award for creative advertising, has launched the inaugural Spikes Asia Academy, a three-day (four hours per day) immersive bootcamp for young talent to learn how to future-proof themselves in this new age of creativity.

The programme entails talks and Q&A sessions with new-world industry professionals under the three content pillars of Biz Problems, Creative Skills and Ad Platform. 

This will culminate in a project or hackathon where participants have the opportunity to practice the new-world skills they picked up.

Campaign Asia-Pacific spoke to co-deans of the Academy: Calvin Soh, founder of One Kind House/One Kind Idea; and Uma Rudd, founder and executive creative director of KVUR, to find out what participants can expect.

How will Spikes Asia Academy teach young talent to future-proof themselves in this new age of creativity?

Rudd: A lot has changed after the pandemic regarding how the world behaves, how brands behave, and the concerns people face.

In the past, a brand works by looking at what problems consumers face and how to position their brand to solve them. For example, what is the best way for consumers to brush their teeth if it is a toothbrush? What is the best model for a segment of a brand’s target audience to use if it is a computer?

However, consumer behaviours have changed, and we see trends like how more people are comfortable working from home.

That means tools and devices being created now have changed. We want to help people in advertising and branding look at consumers’ problems and how they can solve them. 

For example, what are some of those problems that have changed? How has it changed? We want to talk to people in advertising who are content creators to understand the needs of the brands, the behaviours of consumers today and how they can create useful tools.

That means day one of the academy will focus on understanding the problems from the brand perspective, identifying consumers interested in Web3, new tools in the industry and how the industry can use these tools.

Soh: When I left the industry, I realised I was in an advertising bubble, and you do not see how fast the disruption is within the business world. 

As technology moves at an exponential pace, businesses will move faster than advertising, which many people do not realise. One of the most straightforward ways of seeing that change is the questions I ask students whenever I give talks.

I will ask how many have ad blockers, and half the classroom will raise their hands. My next question to them is, how many have paid for premium subscription services so that they don't see ad ads? Again, half or three-quarters of the class will raise their hands.

That is the summary of the disruption that is happening to the industry. Do beer marketers go to a bar and pay not to drink beer? Why are they in the beer business? 

This means we are training people to dislike ads. We need to change that by ensuring the skill sets they learned are designed to help them understand the disruption and work around it.

How has the programme been curated for young talent to learn and practice new world skills? 

Soh: There are a lot of existing programmes that teach copywriting and direction, but they do not address disruption in the industry. The content pillars of 'Biz Problems – What’s Next?', 'Creative Skills – What’s Next?' and 'Ad Platform' will help participants understand where the following change disruption is in industries like banking, social media, or startups. 

Many young advertising people stay in their bubble, so they do not come up with great ideas. A great idea has to sit within the giant bubble of understanding business, changes in consumer behaviours and the latest trends. Business leaders like us are well placed to tell them exactly where it's coming and what's next, allowing them to prepare for the next disruption.

It is the same for platforms and marketers. With all the latest development in the industry, it is not why agencies like TBWA are hiring a chief experience officer. No clients are willing to pay marketers to design a different experience, whether it's customer experience or an experienced designer within the agency. 

Talent today needs different skill sets because they are no longer just writers, for example. So as a result, careers will be disrupted, and a large chunk of advertising will be taken over by AI because while we are still in the business of creativity, we are not just creating advertising ideas anymore, but business ideas.

Rudd: When we curated the content pillars, we based them on what has changed and how marketers can survive. 

The biggest thing that has changed, for example, is travel. People now have to look at Covid-19 entry requirements of countries, the number of cases in the country etc. There is also monkeypox at the moment, so people must consider if it is still safe to travel.

Day one of the academy will see the leaders from brands talking about their environment, and day two is getting ready to survive in their chosen business environment. After that, we will discuss the tools and how marketers can use them.

Calvin has mentioned the skills required today, and when you look at creators like Nas Daily, they are creating and dishing out content more than ad agencies. Why? Because they know how to make content in a way that is not traditional but addictive. 

My children love the content that Dhar Mann creates. While they laugh about his range, they still watch it because life lessons can be learned. Dhar Mann is sponsored by many brands and makes a lot of money from his content. Marketers must look at how we create and reflect on how we create.

It is no longer about the traditional big-budget advertising films. Today, it is about creating an experience before looking at the big ideas. So that is what we are going to focus on in the academy.

Spikes Asia Academy will offer practical, actionable, specific advice to advance your creative career and transform your projects. Be part of it now.

Campaign Asia

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