Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Jul 3, 2015

Cannes 2015: Wain Choi on 'Look at me' versus vanity work

CANNES - In a one-to-one video chat along the Croisette last week, Cheil's global vice president and executive creative director Wain Choi spent some time with Campaign Asia-Pacific recounting the thinking behind the award-bagging 'Look at me' work, and more.

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

Key takeaways from Choi:

  • Choi, who is behind the 'Look at me' campaign that collected a Gold Lion for Cyber, said the work was a result of Samsung wanting to start delivering a different message from product-centric communications a couple of years ago. Samsung as a company is not just about technology but about giving individuals a launchpad through technology. That was the genesis for the campaign, one of the projects of that new direction, he said. The stories of children with autism are real ones that are happening, and so there is "a human truth to what we've done". The same campaign will be launched in America and Europe as well.
  • One piece of work that jumped out to Choi was the Ogilvy Paris 'Together' campaign for Coca Cola that won gold in the Press Lions. The concept of negative space between the two hands forming the classic Coke bottle shape and showing no product except for the bottle cap was "really brilliant, pretty awesome, nicely art-directed, and a great way to show different nationalities coming together", he said. The message of 'sharing happiness' was also true to what the brand has been saying for decades. Another piece that Choi liked is #Likeagirl by Leo Burnett, which has "so much depth and meaning to society".
  • Differences between Asian and Western creativity lie only in the nuances. Great ideas are great ideas wherever they come from. Thailand was amazing in terms of having "their own colour" for a while, but this went away for a while. "Everyone is now watching everyone," he said.
  • The work that comes out from China seems to be in a state of "confusion", he said. It wants to be Western and reflect Chinese advertising at the same time. If only there is a bit more confidence in the Chinese market, the core of what makes China great will not be buried under a "luxurious facade or mask" but would be amplified.  
  • Choi admitted that agencies, including Cheil, are guilty of trying to generate "vanity work" that is going to win by persuading the judges rather than the true targets—the consumers. This is not real work that will change the fabric of culture when you fall into that trap of navel-gazing, he said. "We get so wrapped up in winning that metal... and we're just talking to ourselves". That is still the dilemma with award shows, that they are "a show" for those in the business, not for ordinary people riding the subway or taking the bus. That feels very futile, and is going to hurt the business in the end. "Maybe we should try to do work that really matters," he beseeched. "Do work that is more meaningful rather than chase the statues or fill the trophy cases".

Catch up on Campaign Asia-Pacific's Cannes coverage at and coverage by the entire Campaign global team at


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