Jul 31, 2018

What the new director of Spikes Asia has in store for festival-goers

We speak to the brand-new festival director of the Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity, Joe Pullos, about his fresh vision for Asia’s premiere creative show.

Joe Pullos
Joe Pullos

Last year’s Spikes Asia attracted over 1,500 delegates from all over APAC and almost 4,500 entries from the creative and media communications world. We caught up with the new festival director, Joe Pullos, who explains his vision for the festival. 

What is your background and how did you get to be where you are?

I started my career in client-side marketing but later moved to media and publishing, where I’ve spent most of my career leading sales and marketing teams and have seen such significant change in the past ten years. I led trade marketing for NewsCorp In Australia for eight years where I was also the official rep for Cannes Lions and Spikes Asia, so I have a long history and great affection for both festivals. I think the close association over many years has given me the insight to understand the opportunity and vision for what Spikes will be moving forward.

I am absolutely thrilled to be leading the premier creative festival and awards show in Asia-Pacific. It’s exciting to be charged with the evolution and growth of Spikes Asia and I’m really looking forward to working closely with the creative, media and client communities. I’m committed to delivering an awesome festival for Asia, in Asia, that not only celebrates the best in creativity and effectiveness, but also delivers unforgettable experiences and speakers for our delegates.

Can you outline what you see as Spikes’ purpose?

Spikes’ purpose is quite simple, it’s about supporting the advertising communications industry in Asia to lift the bar on creative excellence across the region, so our great work and amazing talent are recognized on the global stage.

Let’s be honest, Asia underperformed at Cannes this year, which is disappointing. Therefore, the purpose for Spikes is to challenge and inspire creativity that helps Asia win on the world stage in Cannes. The role of Spikes is to champion great talent and develop the up and comers in our region who engage with our festival content and also attend our training academy programs.

What about Spikes Awards?

Celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year, and we are the largest and most recognized awards show in Asia and the highest accolade to reward and recognize great work in APAC. Our judging process is very strict, with no quota for number of awards per category so we award only the very best work; we don’t award for awards’ sake. And this year we’ve reduced the numbers on our jury teams to ensure we have the absolute best quality jurors possible.   

Why do we exist? For the following reasons! 

  • To lead the Asian advertising industry towards a better future where Asian creativity excels on the world stage
  • To move the boundaries of Asian creativity and celebrate regional champions. Spikes is an event in Asia by Asia
  • To champion regional talent, regional work and the nuances of each regional market, and to create an understanding of cultural diversity in Asia
  • To inspire the next generation of Asian talent, by challenging everyone from clients to account executives to strategists to CEOs
  • To fight for better creativity, better work and ultimately better business results

What is your vision for the festival?

My vision for Spikes is become the must attend in APAC for anyone working in advertising, not only from this region but globally. Around the world everyone is viewing Asia as the future in terms of growth opportunities and Spikes has to become the number one platform for not only creatives, but also brand advertisers, media agencies, consultancies, tech companies, and publishers to come together. This year we’re building a broader content program and speaker to attract these groups.

What does Spikes Asia offer the creative industry that Cannes Lions doesn't?

Spikes brings together the best speakers and industry experts from around APAC to deliver a content program offering regional understanding that no other festival can compete with (see the speaker list). Spikes is different to Cannes which is an international Festival. Spikes is 100% focused on APAC. The region is different and therefore the content at Spikes is built specifically to better understand the key trends and diversity of the many markets in Asia. We're about supporting Asia's creativity and Asia's talent. We can't just replicate the topics from Cannes or put the same people on the Spikes stage. They must be relevant for this part of the world, which is why we also translate sessions on our main stage into Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. 

We’ve already launched the first line up of speakers, and we’re confirming more and more speakers and sessions each day we get closer to festival. We have a great mix of client marketers, agency creatives, media agency heads, publishers and technology leaders to inspire set the agenda.

What practical changes will you be introducing this year?

Building on the program changes made last year the key focus of the festival will be on four key pillars: Creativity, Effectiveness, Entertainment and Innovation.

In 2018, here are some of the things you'll see which we’ve included based on our delegate feedback:

  • More international speakers and global content with regional relevance.
  • Focus on creating a better understanding of key markets like China, India, Japan and Korea as well as emerging markets like Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand
  • More senior-level marketers speaking on stage, attending the festival and judging the awards
  • Increased fun factor with more exciting festival design and theming
  • More networking opportunities with events and formats to make industry contacts
  • On site catering
  • Our festival app to help you plan your week, get notified of events, network with other delegates, download seminar content and even ask questions of speakers on stage
  • More content for tech and start-up in Asia via the start-up hub as we’ve done successfully at Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions

Spikes Asia, taking place this year from 26 through 28 September, is a joint venture of Haymarket Media Asia (publisher of Campaign Asia-Pacific) and Ascential Events, the organiser of Cannes Lions. To find out more, visit


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