November 1, 2019 Spikes Asia 2019 Participation Report

Mitsuteru Miyano
Video Dept. Manager / Producer

I participated in Spikes Asia 2019 held between 25-27 September. Held annually in Singapore, Spikes Asia is the largest advertising communication festival in the Asia-Pacific region.

While the event is mainly targeted at the advertising industry, content is also useful for B2B companies that are focused on expanding into Asian markets. As we're currently receiving an increasing number of inquiries about overseas promotional work, especially around brand presentation (for example, the kind of value a company generates), I felt that participation would help address such client requests.

From this perspective, in this Column, I'd like to introduce topics that were of great interest.

Progressive Gender Portrayal: The What, How And Why Now - Julie Bramham, Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo India

This session introduced “the movement to express diversity through the elimination of stereotyped portrayals of people.” An overview is as follows.

  • At present, creative content that performs well at awards events, such as the Cannes Lions, tends be male-dominated, this hasn't changed for 10 years.
  • However, according to data, 66% of women won't watch video content in which a negatively-stereotyped character appears. This highlights the gap between traditional advertisement themes (with stereotypes) and audience psychology. This gap is almost nonsensical, especially considering the percentage of women who are consumers.
  • From now on, content will have to equalize the ratio of women to men. In addition to this, it will become important to express the diversity of people - such as skin color and figure proportions. In Hollywood, 40% of the leading roles will be taken by women, furthermore all four of Marvel's next productions will be directed by women. This is a significant global movement and will likely become the norm.

I believe gender-based themes will soon become mainstream in Japan too – these are issues that must be considered for overseas projects as well as for those undertaken domestically.

Don't Let 'Purpose' Ruin Our Industry - Toshihiko Tanabe, Creative Director, Dentsu Inc.

This session was centered on the theme of whether “corporate messaging was consistent with company stance”, to illustrate several examples were introduced.

  • There are an increasing number of brand campaigns and corporate messages on themes such as the global environment, minorities, and poverty. However, even when companies/brands share messages with the world, if they are deemed superficial the messages will likely end up being ignored or even counter effective.
  • Companies need to send consistent messages - they must be a continuation of past values and, likewise, must remain consistent in the future. Societal trends and corporate personnel changes should not affect long-held stances.
    • example:IKEA「ThisAbles- The Project」→ based on extending their vision to “create a better everyday life for as many people as possible”, IKEA has developed furniture that is easy to use and comfortable for people with disabilities.
      IKEA ThisAbles- The Project - YouTube
    • example:Closure of Patagonia Japan stores on 21 July 2019 – day of Japan's House of Councillors election → Patagonia, which is committed to environmental protection, has implemented a campaign to vote for the planet, and, in line with this initiative, they have decided to close their own stores on election days in each country in which they operate so that employees are able to vote.
      7月21日(日)閉店:私たちの地球のために投票します。 – クリーネストライン
  • When companies and brands do seek to change their stance, their new message should be clearly presented and then consistently implemented.

I feel it's also necessary for companies to disseminate information that clearly highlights how trustworthy they are.

Is WTF the New Marketing Model? - TikTok, McDonald's Japan and TBWA/Hakuhodo

In this session, “WTF” as a new marketing driver was introduced along with examples.

  • What is WTF?:WTF is a driver of consumers. It is based on the following.
  • WISH:people have a desire to make the world better
  • TRY:relatively, people have fulfilled lives but have a desire to challenge something better
  • FUN:fun, easy participation is important (even if unintentional, people seek to imitate)
  • In today's world where the use of data is growing enormously, the conventional marketing concepts of NEEDS and WANTS are fading as new models emerge.
  • Going forward, especially for Generation Z and Millennials, WTF is anticipated to be one of these new marketing drivers.
    • example:TikTok Ads - PR Promotion Project “#BPM100 DANCE PROJECT” → promoting cardiopulmonary resuscitation to a wide range of generations through dance and music entertainment content
  • Future content marketing should be founded on quality UX considerations (such as how much emotion to contain). To build brand equity and strengthen relationships with consumers, companies and brands must consider not only content but also what kind of story they want to tell.

This is not only relevant for B2C campaigns, but also relates to recruitment activities. Furthermore, I felt such an approach is also very-much applicable to Japanese companies. From the perspective of corporate growth, nowadays having a suitable approach to reach younger generations is a significant matter.

In Closing

Participating in this event provided much opportunity to learn about trends and success stories from across Asia -including taking the values of companies and services and learning how to make them appeal to consumers. Based on this, I hope to further support the future promotional work of our client companies.

For more information on our services, timeframes and estimates, as well as examples of our work, please feel free to be in touch.