Every year at the start of our awards programme cycle the geek in me is always curious to understand why particular campaigns impressed the juries, the key trends and insights they showcase and also to see which one of the regions – APAC, North America, Latin America, Europe, MENA and the UK – is really setting the standard for work delivered in the media and marketing space over the last 12 months.
As we all know the last 15 months have been, and still are, traumatic around the world and when we opened our APAC 2021 programme in October 2020 it was with trepidation and caution. We had been speaking to the region throughout 2020 and the signs had been mixed, but what we did know was Asia was ahead of the curve in terms of the pandemic and brands and agencies had started to find successful ways to operate from keeping supply chains operational to different home working environments by the time Covid had gripped the rest of the world.
This became more obvious when the four juries hunkered down for five hours each and debated, presided over and discussed the shortlisted entries. Before they started each session each judge – senior brand marketers and agencies – revealed what they were looking for from each of the campaigns and interestingly nearly everyone suggested they were looking to see how these campaigns had contributed to wider society and local communities and not simply the product or service they were advertising, and how they had used data to drive their campaigns.
Once the judging started it soon became clear the aforementioned was something that could be seen running through most of the shortlisted campaigns. For a few years now the industry globally has been waxing lyric about creating campaigns giving back, but a lot of it has been talk and only a few brands have really done it effectively. It swiftly became clear the pandemic, which has changed consumer behaviour, culture and thinking – quite radically in places – was the driving force for this transformation in the media and marketing campaigns implemented over the last 12 months across the APAC region.
Yves Briantis, vice president marketing APAC, Colgate Palmolive, one of the jury chairs commented: “Some of the brands had to push their thinking to the limit because of budget restrictions, but this also made marketers think in a more authentic and purposeful way by creating campaigns curated to change the world and make it a better place. A level has now been set for marketers that I hope stays.”
Immersing themselves into these changing consumer mindsets brands and agencies set about resonating with the current situation in a manner which didn’t feel like they were taking advantage of a desperate situation, but indeed helping people get through it. This was evident in campaigns including OMD New Zealand’s Unite against Covid-19 work, Initiative India’s India Gate Basmati Rice: #Shareameal – We are hope campaign, DwiSapta Media Indonesia’ Belagar Di Rumah Aja Campaign by Ruangguru, OMD/Fuse New Zealand’s The Unsaid – Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency -which brought tears to the judges eyes – and Mindshare India’s Career from Home – Beyond the confines of Her Kitchen campaign.
Believing the above to be the case another jury chair Siddartha Butalia, chief marketing officer, Air Asia said: “The consumer demographics for brands have changed, the landscape has changed and the behaviours of consumers engaging with brands is very different and the work in APAC really reflected this.”
What also underpinned these and the rest of the campaigns was a rise in the level of creativity. For a few years now the industry has been learning how best to harness creativity and data and it was clear in Asia the trimming of budgets as a result of the pandemic had clearly driven a new level of creativity not seen for quite some time.
Butalia added: “One of the trends was the actual use of data to make an impact. We have been talking about data being the new gold for years, but now it was clear in these campaigns we are at a stage of maturity and finally know how that data is used to effectively drive advertising and creativity in the marketplace.”
Briantais added: “The brand work was remarkable as was their assets and it was very impressive to see local brands doing fantastic work with limited budgets gave me lots of ideas for my brands with bigger budgets.
These trends combined with clear innovation has really set the bar for the rest of the awards programmes around the world and it is clear it will take one hell of an effort around the globe to beat the work, which has been produced across APAC. APAC really is leading the way when it comes to media in 2021. It will be fascinating to see what regions can step up to the challenge. Watch this space…
To see a full list of winning campaigns click here