‘Greed and shortcuts’ blamed for why there is ‘so much crap’ advertising in Asia

Silk, Dabral,

From left: Silk, Dabral, Tay and Soh

The large quantities of low quality advertising in Asia can be explained by a “restlessness” among creatives to succeed and the dominance of speed over quality in agencies, a panel debating “creative bravery” at Spikes Asia has suggested.

Sonal Dabral, chairman and chief creative officer of DDB Mudra Group India told a panel chaired by Campaign Asia’s editorial director Atifa Silk: “There is a restlessness among creatives to achieve fame fast without really understanding the consumer or the client’s product.”

“Greed and shortcuts” are partly to blame for why there is “so much crap” advertising in Asia, he said, adding that pressure to meet tough deadlines has placed an emphasis on speed over quality.

Tay Guan Hin, regional ECD for JWT Southeast Asia, said: “We shouldn’t be wasting our time on small stuff that wins awards. As creative people, we have the power to change people’s attitudes and behaviours with big ideas.”

Calvin Soh, the former creative head of Publicis Asia Pacific and now founder of Ninety Nine Percent, has just come back from the SXSW conference in Las Vegas. He told delegates at Spikes: “The start-up community truly believes it can change the world, they’re truly optimistic. The ad industry needs to embrace the same sense of optimism,” he said.

“Is our industry brave enough to stay ahead of the curve, or do we want to hold on to the past and say nothing else matters? Look at Kodak and Nokia. The same thing could happen to us.”

A new breed of creative entrepreneur is bypassing advertising altogether, putting the future of the industry under threat, Soh suggested.

“If you have a truly great product, you don’t need to advertise. Google and Facebook achieved success without any advertising,” he said.

“Only bad prostitutes advertise,” he added.

The panel held up Samsung Insurance’s Bridge of Life anti-suicide idea, Coca-Cola’s Sharing Can and Smart Textbooks for Smart Communications as examples of the best work in Asia currently.


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