Staff Reporters
Sep 22, 2014

Spikes Asia jury presidents share their expectations

ASIA-PACIFIC - The Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity kicks off tomorrow. Ahead of that, we asked a selection of jury presidents to comment on the state of their respective categories and what they will be looking for as judges.

CW from top left: Royer, Lin, Paul, Laffey, Lo, Brain
CW from top left: Royer, Lin, Paul, Laffey, Lo, Brain

Film, Print, Outdoor and Radio
Ted Royer
Chief creative officer, Droga5

It's ironic that I'm going to give this question a horribly clichéd answer: I'm looking for work that isn't horribly clichéd. Things that we haven't seen before, in shows or in the world. Pieces that push the boundaries of impact, craft, ingenuity, and fun. We have a whole continent's worth of work to sift through, and I want to find the greatness.

Digital and Mobile
Jean Lin
Global CEO, Isobar

Time is of the essence to ensure that digital and mobile craft skills are polished in APAC and that the digital experience is executed in a seamless manner. In Asia-Pacific, we also don’t often have the luxury of time, with many smaller countries having an imminent need to deliver digital and mobile solutions to support the fast pace of growth in these markets.

Asia-Pacific (and China in particular) are also extremely TVC-focused. Clients that prioritise the importance of a 30-second spot don’t always get to great digital or mobile campaigns. It’s when digital is used beyond just communications, that the bold ideas stand out and that’s what I’ll be looking for in Spikes entries this year.

To stand for a great idea, it takes both the client and the agency to do so. We will see more great ideas in the digital and mobile space when digital is used as more than just a communications channel and when senior marketing directors are directly involved in making decisions for digital/mobile strategies and their implementation. A committed long-term partnership also helps. When these three elements combine, the bolder ideas can be supported and endorsed much easier to deliver groundbreaking work.

In the digital category, I’m hoping not to see viral video submissions that look just like a longer TVC being broadcast on a video platform.

Branded Content & Entertainment
Connie Lo, 

Chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Southern China

As a platform that celebrates the best of creativity in Asia, Spikes Asia is one that I truly look forward to. As the jury president for branded content and entertainment this year, which is a great honour and privilege, I am really looking forward to seeing some great work in this category, particularly from an Asian perspective—created for Asians by Asians.

It would be exciting to observe how the winning work at Spikes Asia would compare with work that were awarded at Cannes Lion Festival a few months ago. With the world becoming globalised and in some ways more culturally homogeneous, I am interested in how the differences in culture would manifest themselves within the branded content and entertainment category this year.

This category represents a new way of connecting; a new form of advertising that speaks to a more intelligent, sophisticated consumer. In today’s world, people are surrounded by a sea of attention-seeking content every minute, at every turn. What will it take to truly engage and entertain them? Great work represents the essence of the brand, taps into true human insights, supported with strong and original storytelling craft and amplified through an engaging social piece of content. In short, it has the power to move people.

It’s not so much about technology and numbers but about genuine human truth. From the awards jury perspective this year, I will be looking out for brands that can truly engage with me, as a person. At the end of the day, we look forward to see some truly ground-breaking ideas from Asia which will set a new benchmark for our industry globally.

Direct and Promo/Activation
Josy Paul
Chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India

I will be looking out for original ideas that inspire instant action. Contagious ideas. Ideas that create volunteers and impact our society positively. Ideas that don’t need a long case study video. Ideas that one can write as a simple text message.  Ideas that push push push. Ideas that help to change behavior and transform brands effectively. Ideas that make us proud to be in advertising. These are just some of the ideas we are looking for in the Direct & Promo Spikes entries.

The region has always been great on design, art, print and outdoor. Things are evolving nicely. Over the last few years, we've been seeing a lot more original non-traditonal responses to real world problems. Brands are playing an active role in breaking convention and exploring inventive technology to create new experiences that contribute to sales and other equity measures.

My observation is that the region is doing breakthrough stuff—remember NAB 'Break Up', 'Sound of Honda' and Lifebuoy's 'Roti'. These are interesting examples of advertisers and agencies who are doing bold new work that inspires us all.

One can never be tired of any entry. Because you never know what you can find. You're always looking for nuggets. Personally I try not to let formats blind me to the idea inside. If something looks and feels tiring the jury might just skip and move on. The jury is quite intuitive. You can feel an idea. It's animal instinct actually.

PR
David Brain
President and CEO, Edelman APMEA

I will be looking out for something as startlingly simple as Lowe’s work of last year for Unilever’s Lifebuoy in India. That was an idea that worked all the way through from brand and sales, to employee engagement and the global Unilever corporate promise of sustainable living.

It’s true that Asia-Pacific agencies sometimes play it too safe. But it is difficult to know whether to blame the agency or the client or get all philosophical and pin it on Confucian education traditions. However there is great work out there and it can be more emotionally risky than a lot of Western award winning work that in comparison often seems defensively ironic and intellectually self-referencing. From judging Spikes, AMES, PR Week and Holmes Report awards for the last many years Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and, of course, Australia and New Zealand have consistently delivered bold and emotional work that stands against the best from anywhere.

Scam entries are not such an issue in the PR category I feel. I hate multiple category entries where the ‘packaging’ campaign just gets copied and pasted into the ‘integrated’ category… and everything claims to be integrated these days. And I really hate shouty soundtracks to entry videos.

Healthcare
June Laffey
ECD, McCann Health Sydney

There has never been a more exciting time to work in healthcare. As we attract more and more quality creative thinkers to the agency side,  we are proving that although highly regulated and risk-adverse, healthcare communications can be sexy.

I feel very blessed to be working in the healthcare creative space. Every day we learn about  human suffering and triumphs, not always in the same measure. Our work is not always just about physical health, but also emotional and spiritual health that, I believe, very often go hand in hand. Creativity that touches our hearts as well as our brains may very well be the stand out at Spikes Asia.

The memorable and engaging is really what I'm looking for from the work. They are hygiene factors. There is, of course, more.

We live in the most exciting technological time ever for health communications. Creatives are using Oculus Rift, Xbox Kinect, smart clothing, interactive films and more to get the point across. We all know though, it is not about the technology, it is about the technology bringing a bloody good idea to life. And often it is just about a bloody good idea, beautifully crafted. It will be interesting to see what that looks like in the judges room.

Spikes Asia is a very welcome and important awards festival for healthcare. It represents a recognition of the importance of our creativity and craft in this space, and it will, I am sure, magnify the depth of talent in our region.

 

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