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Laura Geagea, Managing Director and Executive Producer of China, Asia & MENA at Sweetshop reports for Campaign Brief Asia from Spikes Asia 2018 in Singapore.

 

DAY 2:
As we suspected, the start of Day 2 wasn’t as bright and early as Day 1. That being said, a couple of hangovers didn’t discourage a lot of us and I made my way to my first talk of the day to listen to the Global Creative Director at Facebook, Andrew Keller.

 

Facebook: Ideas That Bring People Together.

 

The new thing at Facebook is obviously Stories. Keller compares the change to going from desktop to mobile, a little while back. So, no wonder they came in with a big bang.

 

After running us through a few campaigns for CraftBeer, Pedigree and Marathon Runners, Keller’s message about the work was quite clear. When doing work, you need to embrace your brand’s true mission, identify communities to astound and think about your larger target, instead of thinking of a synthetic target. This will enable you to reach real live communities, expand your message to the world and in his own words, “Wait for success!”

 

I later sat in on one of the pop-up sessions next to the Audio Network booth. Patrick Alo, CMO of Audio Network puts it simply: “Music is the most complex thing that your brain can take in.”

 

We obviously all somehow work with music, whether it’s our everyday craft or one of our multiple tools to create new work. And the question Alo suggests is, how do we use music to inspire us?

 

And how can it lead to creativity?

 

Quite an interesting half hour, speaking and exchanging with people at different types of companies, from music houses or production houses or more on the agency side and seeing how we all use music, not only in our work lives, but also in our daily lives.

 

The rest of the day saw quite a few speakers and topics being discussed on the different stages of Suntec. Rounded all up by Happy Hour at the Festival Bar and the Shutterstock party at Smoke & Mirrors bar.

 

DAY 3:
Not having been able to catch that many talks on Day 2, I made it to Suntec bright and early on Friday and started my day with Sudeep Gohil’s, President’s address: Creative Effectiveness Jury President. Who do you trust?

 

Gohil is the Head of Brand Strategy at KPMG and judged in the Creative Effectiveness category for the festival this year. And his question is:

 

In this day and age how do you measure trust? And where does trust come from?

 

He took the audience through the trust factors in advertising and the ways you can uphold the trust so as to not lose your viewers and make sure they connect to the story or the message you are trying to talk to.

 

The world we live in now is so much more complex than anything else we’ve experienced before, so it’s also about adapting to all these new things that are thrown at us, like fake news and obviously the different mediums everything happens around. And how you navigate all that to still get your campaigns to work efficiently and in the way you were hoping they do, if not better.

 

Next up on the Innovation stage was Tuomas Peltoniemi, for another President’s Address: Innovation Jury President: Culture + Speed = Innovation.

 

Peltoniemi, from TBWA Asia has spent the last 20 years working in creativity business and innovation and a question that often resurfaces is: What is innovation?

 

We frequently find that unlikely ideas produce remarkable outcomes. With it’s something new that’s never been seen before that has that shiny new effect that tends to work quite well.

 

Peltoniemi believes there is a misconception that Asia needs to look to the West for innovation. His argument is simple, if you look at the speed at which Asia is changing and moving you can see that we can look around ourselves for inspiration, rather than looking across our borders.

 

Asia is underrepresented in the Innovations Lions category at Cannes Lions. Overall, the number of shortlists and winners at Cannes is quite low for Asia. And that’s something he would like to see change.

 

So, it would be great to see more entries from our part of the world.

 

With Asia being the most diverse region in the world, he calls Asia to drive innovative thinking. Taking us through a few quite innovative ideas and businesses, Peltoniemi makes it clear that it’s about finding something that serves society. He starts off with the oh so convenient Go Jek app in Indonesia, which allows you to order just about anything from the comfort of your couch to be delivered right to you after a short scooter ride over.

 

Also touching on Tesco’s solution to reducing the amount of plastic in Malaysia by redesigned branded bags with a simple bar code that is reusable, but also provides a small financial incentive to get people onboard.

 

Peltoniemi says briefs should be focused on problems but should also leave room for a wide variety of solutions. Also keep improving your idea. You want to make it better and better, otherwise it will stop working.

 

Have a look at the Touchable Ink Project out of Thailand that won several innovation awards last year. It’s a very clear example of what Asia can create. The simplest of ideas that will impact lives, and shine with not only innovation, but an idea that is progressive and socially good.

 

“You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been,” Max Headroom once said.

 

Emile Rademeyer from Vandal Sydney started off his Augmented Reality talk with this quote before taking us through an overview of where we’ve been, where we are, what we’re doing really and where we’re going.

 

The Future of Advertising is Augmented Reality.

 

Not hard to believe for me after my many years in China and the very recurrent overhaul of daily life with each latest shiny AR experiences that come through!

 

So, what is Augmented Reality? Put simply it’s a good mix of Physical Reality and Digital Reality.

 

AR augments the physical world by overlaying digital content. It basically enhances human experience and has become one of the many tools we have in our very current digital world.

 

Rademeyer takes us through the different campaigns of huge advertisers like Pepsi & Coca Cola. But also, the smaller campaigns that you run into on the street on your way to work. These catch your attention enough to inspire you to donate a couple of dollars to a Cancer foundation and therefore shrink the cancerous cells of a tumor pulsing in front of you. it’s hard to disagree that AR is a powerful tool, and will no doubt be used more and more as a means of communication as people get more comfortable with the medium.

 

One word of warning though from Rademeyer, We, as the Human Race have not been the best as keeping our Physical world in the best shape possible. It’s important to try to not overload the digital world too much as it keeps growing and we keep creating. “Do the best work you can, but do it in a conscious way,” he says.

 

Matthieu Lorrain from Google picked up the AR topic a bit later in the afternoon. In his talk, Google: Right click the world with augmented reality, the Global Head of Creative, AR / VR Advertising Google talks about the challenges and solutions that are being solved as we go with AR. How it will integrate our lives? Will we all be wearing glasses in a few years to be able to experience it for longer periods of time? Will we want to be wearing glasses when most people who do just get that taken care of with surgery nowadays? Will we be able to control things with facial recognition?

 

AR is very obviously going to be on the forefront of the industry in the months and years to come. For Lorrain, it’s all about the data around us, being from the physical world, the digital world and anything in between really, and how AR matches things for us to be able to “see” them and use them.

 

The Happy Hour Drinks wrapped the day up and lead into the awards ceremony that took place later in the evening at the theatre in The Marina Bay Sands. A massive 4,000+ entries this year, with submissions from 26 countries. Great to see the reach of the festival getting bigger by the year.

 

This was followed by all of us making it to the very top of the hotel at Lavo Bar for drinks and the yummy (and quite famous, I’ve been told) Lavo meatballs with what probably is the best view you’ll get of the city!

 

I have to say that one of my main takeaways from the festival this year is how Creativity is more and more being associated to purpose. The campaigns that we see and that work with, more often than not come hand in hand with a cause, or a clear end result that will benefit society or a group of society somehow.

 

It feels like the industry is slowly, but clearly taking a stand about being more conscious of the work we put out there and making sure it’s as meaningful and as true as we can make it.

 

Here’s to hoping this only gets better over. It’s definitely something we can all aspire to!

 

Thank you, Spikes Asia, for a wonderful few days! A busy airport it will be in Singapore on Saturday morning as we all make our way back home. Looking forward to being back here next year!

 

This piece was published in Campaign Brief Asia on 1 October 2018.