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Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity 2018 has kicked-off for three days of learning, inspiration and networking. Our MD and EP of China, Asia, MENA Laura Geagea reports from day one for Campaign Brief.

 

DAY 1:

 

Spikes Asia has finally arrived!

 

With this year’s Festival of Creativity theme being ‘Where Inspiration meets Innovation’ we’re definitely in for a treat.

 

Creativity is always a big topic and it’s all around us. We’ve become very aware of the impact it has on our work and also on our businesses. It’s at festivals and meet ups like Spikes that we have an even stronger realization that we are all trying to boost creativity in the best way we can, to utilize it not only to make great work, but to increase profitability, impact and of course quality in our campaigns.
A packed three days started early on Wednesday at the quite amazing Suntec Convention Hall.

 

Delegates, Press, Jurors and all attendees have three stages to choose from, the Inspiration stage, the Spotlight stage and the In Focus stage.

 

Most of us waiting to see who will be lucky enough to take home a Spikes Award (or two…) by Friday evening!

 

I made my first stop of the day at the In Focus stage to listen to Lisa Ronson, CMO of Tourism Australia & Chris Coller, Global Strategy Director at UM. A quick overview of UM & Tourism Australia: Brand Australia – is Trojan Advertising the Future?

 

I went on to the Inspiration stage where Brazilian born Aline Santos, EVP Global Marketing and Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Unilever was talking about stereotypes. Definitely one of the big topics in our industry and the world today.

 

Her talk titled, Unilever: #Unstereotype – Fighting Stereotypes to Unleash Creativity, covered a tool that Unilever created to help you unleash your creativity.

 

Santos blame laziness for not changing stereotypes that already exist and that are harmful in advertising. She calls for a change to a more authentic, progressive advertising that will actually represent the world we live in today.

 

Sharing personal stories about growing up in Brazil and having her two life path options as “be a teacher or be a housewife”, Santos never knew there was more.

 

She went on to question why people aren’t represented properly in advertising (and media). The issue, she says very confidently, is our laziness. And so, we come back to the #unstereotype tool which is something that Unilever started two years ago. Everyone was instantly excited about it and wanted to take part in it. The initial idea was to want to shake the stereotypes we work with. Make sure our insights are rooted in real truth and not just because of gender ideas. But that also we are portraying the responsibilities of someone rather than their personalities and aspirations in our stories.

 

#Unstereotype calls for a more diverse, less critical portrayal of people.

 

And ideally something with more authenticity to it, not only to create an authentic society, but an inclusive society.

 

The traction this movement got was amazing. Santos can say very confidently that doing un-stereotyped advertising isn’t only good for society, it also brings tangible results. And that’s where it gets more interesting for businesses. Every time you show something that people are not expecting, you get more impact and more traction.

 

The numbers go something like this:

 

~ 25% more impactful with consumers.
~ Drives purchase intent by 18%
~ Improves credibility of your brand by 21%

 

It’s pretty obvious that this is a win-win situation. Good for brands, good for society! Santos truly believes in the #unstereotype movement.

 

We need to unleash creativity and the potential of our brains. Leave stereotypes aside and unleash humanity.

 

Next up on the In Focus Stage was Simon Cook, VP Creative Excellence, from Cannes Lions. Cook walked us through the new arenas that leaders in technology and marketing are forging for themselves and get the attention of consumers and customers, cheaper, faster and better than before.

 

This is a shift that the Cannes Lions team, as well as the industry, is trying to adapt to and slowly getting used to.

 

But Cook’s message is quite clear: “We want to keep it about creativity. At Cannes Lions we want to position ourselves as campaigners for creativity. For change and for good in the world.”

 

The idea is to make something that people keep at the forefront of their minds. Brands have subsequently realized that they can elevate their sales numbers and profitability if they elevate their creativity and the output of their work. Again, it sounds like a win-win situation. Outputting better work profits your brand but also touches a larger public and potentially, if you’re lucky, puts you in the running for a Cannes Lion!

 

Rob Reilly, Global Chief Creative Chairman from McCann Worldgroup took the Inspiration Stage. His talk is titled, ‘Creativity is the only way to survive’.

 

Wearing a ‘Stay Crazy’ T-shirt, Reilly really feels like Asia is the last place where we can really experiment. Running us through a few Asian campaigns with a couple from Thailand who has been doing particularly well this year in the industry, Reilly also makes his way back to the fantastic Fearless Girl Campaign on Wall Street.

 

He gave the audience insights into how the campaign came about and the decision to place a little girl with her hands on her hips – and it all stemmed from it being relatable. McCann wanted to make sure girls, and anyone else who wanted to, could mimic it on social media. Not only to give the campaign traction, but also to give the public this idea that you have a champion that you can identify to.

 

The impact that Fearless Girl has had on the world is obviously something we’ve been talking about in the industry for a little while now and not only has it won quite a few awards, but the business results are very important as well.

 

You want media to write about your campaigns, this is part of what allows us to do more work like this because it’s successful. “It’s not about the awards ONLY, it’s about doing good work that moves business. That’s how you create more creative currency,” says Reilly.

 

Dentsu Singapore’s four steps to creating purposeful content and why it matters, was later held by Udara Withana, Head of Strategy and Jatinder Sandhu, Creative Director. They walked us through the four key elements of bringing purposeful work to life. How collaboration versus isolation can help you create more purposeful content and how that should be the one of the main aspirations, albeit also one of the main challenges when doing new work.

 

A pretty awesome first day! Everyone’s getting ready to go off to the infamous Gem Bar for Campaign Brief Asia’s Legendary Party! Tomorrow morning’s start will no wonder be a bit slower than today.

 

Thank you, Spikes Asia, for an exciting first day, looking forward to Day Two!

 

This piece was published by Campaign Brief on 27 September, 2018.