In accordance with the Festival theme of “Transforming Creativity”, this year’s Independent Agency Showcase brought two players from China and Cambodia, introduced by Julian Boulding, founder of thenetworkone.
Georg Warga, founder and ECD of Goodstein in Beijing, talked about how the agency helped Volkswagen transform a creative inspiration into the award-winning People’s Car project.
Lundy So, founder and ECD of ComZone and Spikes Asia’s first-ever speaker from Cambodia, showcased two works that the agency did for a local telecom company and a local beer brand. He also shared how the agency stays flexible, fast, and focussed to bring local insights to the creative work.
During an interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific after the seminar, the speakers shared their insights on working as independent agencies.
To compete in Cambodia, a country without any international network agency, So said that ComZone focuses on creative, while most of the independent agencies in the country focus on execution.
“Doing advertising is challenging in Cambodia due to a price war,” he added. “Brands look for good work, but they scale down budget. This is more about a creative mindset.”
Warga said that for Goodstein, it’s more about collaborating in China, rather than competing. “For an advertising agency, ultimately, it’s to have your own client, but you need to team up with others to deliver the best stories,” he said.
Speaking of the possibility to join an international agency network, both Warga and So prefer to stay independent.
“We are cost-effective, straightforward and flexible,” So said. “We know the local people and the market. We can talk in their language. If there is an opportunity to be under a network, it all depends on its system and the agency model.”
“You have your heart in it,” said Warga, who has worked at Ogilvy and Proximity, among others, during his career. “You wouldn’t want it to be controlled by someone else.”
Boulding agreed. “If you build something valuable, you want to own it,” he said. “Buying and controlling are very disruptive forces. However, the possibility of collaboration is much more interesting. Plus, you should value people, instead of valuing an agency, which is difficult.”