Staff Reporters
Sep 14, 2015

What we learned on Day 3 of Spikes

SPIKES ASIA - Here's what Campaign Asia-Pacific's team at Spikes learnt on the final day of the 2015 Festival.

What we learned on Day 3 of Spikes

1. Great work starts with being dumb, and pencils

Curiosity, said Matt Eastwood, worldwide CCO at J. Walter Thompson, begins with being comfortable about being dumb.

“It takes courage to be stupid," he said. "It’s okay to be the dumbest person in the room, to be ignorant, because knowledge begins with ignorance. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, because that’s how people learn and grow the most,” he said.

While curiosity opens the doorway to inspiration, for Nils Andersson, president and chief creative officer at TBWA Greater China, pencilling it down and then taking it beyond the page is what differentiates a truly great campaign.

“It all starts with a pencil," he said, brandishing an example of the humble writing device throughout his talk. "The simplest start point, with the right thinking, can lead to great execution.”


2. China is ahead because of data freedom

As a market, China has fewer restrictions on the use of data for marketing and as a result its use is far more developed than Western nations, said Peter Mitchell, director of global innovation at Mondelez. "There are things Google can do with data but won't do at present," he said. "But as the next generation grows increasingly comfortable with giving up personal data and with mobile targeting, the rest of the world will catch up with China."

Alimama is already keeping track not only of purchases but purchase intent, said Michael Gao, who heads Alimama's mobile business. "For example, we sell cars on Taobao and JDMall, and we started to realise that people mostly bought MPVs when they had children and needed a larger car. So, using this data, instead of a normal price promotion, we asked manufacturers to give a very good, German-made baby seat as a gift." The move paid off in increased sales.

Mondelez panel on mobile: Amobee's Ryan Pestano, ZO's Chris Harrison, Alimama's Michael Gao, Microsoft's Adam Anger and Mondelez' Pete Mitchell


3. Online participation is not a KPI

Brands, said Angela Morris, executive planning director of J. Walter Thompson Australia, need to stop using online participation as a key performance indicator: “Stop giving agencies a brief that says 'I want a participation idea'," she said. "Ask us to deliver an idea that engages people’s interest. And participation can be at the back of that.”

Morris was speaking at the Spikes Asia Think Tank, which took place on the first day of Spikes. But we only learnt what took place behind the closed-door event with 18 senior regional marketers on Friday. 


4. iOS9 ad blocking will force creativity

In general, Apple allowing users to download adblockers on iOS9 is a big deal because many people are in fact downloading ad-blockers, said Graham Kelly, 'guest chef' at Bates CHI & Partners. However, this could be a good thing for creatives as people hate bad ads, but they do like good ads and this will force the industry to get creative about making better ads. 


5. No purpose, no point

If brands are unable to convey a sense of purpose, they have little chance of connecting with millennials, according to Omincom’s APAC CEO, Cheuk Chiang. Speaking alongside Lakish Hatalkar, vice president of OTC Asia Pacific for Johnson & Johnson, Chiang championed what he termed “creative with a conscience”. They suggested creatives had to stop viewing their industries “as fluffy”, and instead believe that their work had the power to change lives.


6. If everyone likes it, something's wrong

Creative directors from TBWA Hakuhodo and Hakuhodo Kettle, dressed in Quiksilver true wetsuits, outlined the ‘no way’ approach as going against consensus-building to deliver extraordinary, polarising ideas. “If everyone likes it, something is missing,” said Takahiro Hosoda, creative director of TBWA Hakuhodo. Of course, the client has to eventually come around to approving it—but waking them up from their stupor first is important. Hosada related one instance where he sprayed a client in the face with water to emphasise a point. 


6. Re-bundling is the future of the advertising industry 

According to Havas’ global chief executive Andrew Benett, while packaging services together can make things more complicated for agencies themselves, it should result in a simplified offering for clients. “We should be able to have conversations around business challenges—let’s try and unpack that,” he said. “That’s how we should engage.” Catch the full Q&A with Campaign tomorrow. 


7. Pussy-creatives are everyone's fault

Much was said about creating 'fearless talent' at Spikes, however one talk examined the reasons behind why young creatives were such 'pussies'. First, it's important to note that the talk referred to pussies as in cats, not as in female genitalia, said Grant Hunter, regional CD for iris Worldwide, who said his wife had objected to the title.

Singapore in particular, he said, has created a culture of complacency and entitlement. Other reasons include the industry's overemphasis on award wins and not enough on the development.

Agencies, said Ed Cheong, creative director for iris, should stop focusing so much on the "shiny stuff" between January and April. " All work should be potential award-winning work and award-winning work shouldn't be set apart from real work."


8. Networks must embrace independent creativity

Or have it forced on them, said Reed Collins, CCO at Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong. Drawing insight from Hollywood's massive studios, Collins pointed out that even the best oiled blockbuster film-making machines have art-house studios producing B-grade movies. "Creativity will find a way," he said. 

This matters, said Collins in an interview with Campaign, because content created not just for entertainment's sake or products ask the most powerful questions. "They don't feel a need to tie everything up with a nice bow at the end, and thus they are thought-provoking."

Collins, speaking at Spikes Asia 




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