At the close of the second day of Spikes Asia, I asked James Mok, the newly minted APAC region executive creative director for DraftFCB and Sandra King, the group sales and marketing director for Fairfax New Zealand for their views on the festival so far, and why they think the New Zealand industry should care.
I wanted to know how James, in his new region-wide role, viewed advertising across the region and what that means for people in our industry in New Zealand. Does this mean more cohesive, homogenous advertising across the region?
"I think homogenous advertising is the last thing you'll see from the region. Asia is a region, not a nation. I believe my role will be an opportunity to empower the people in our agencies around the region to deliver the best work they can, based on what's right for their individual cultures. Homogenous advertising across Asia is not likely to be effective. There are several countries in Asia that have very well established advertising styles - I'm thinking in particular of Thailand, Japan and India that have a very strong sense of self that comes through in their work. Great advertising is built around creating a intimate connection with your audience. Its hard for an ad that isn't anchored by a cultural insight to do that. The best work in New Zealand already does this."
King agrees. "The value of participation in a festival like Spikes Asia is being inspired by the different ways different people respond to advertising. Beyond the inspiration, it is about getting to grip with some of technological leapfrogs other APAC region countries are experiencing, particularly around mobile and ultra-fast broadband. While culturally it may be jarring for New Zealanders to see so much work that is largely outside their frame of reference, I believe they need to seize the opportunity to grasp what is happening within the region and to apply that to their work in New Zealand. The world's future is most certainly in Asia. Working smartly within the region is a growth opportunity for our industry - one that goes beyond the finite world of New Zealand advertisers. Singapore admittedly doesn't have the glamour and sex appeal of the French Riviera. However, I believe that Spikes Asia, which is growing rapidly, offers something more important. It offers a competitive advantage."
- Nicola Igusa is communications and marketing manager at Fairfax.