AKQA: How to stand the test of time

SPIKES ASIA - In a simple yet enlightening presentation, Rei Inamoto, chief creative officer of AKQA, discussed what it takes to make a lasting impression.

Rei Inamoto
Rei Inamoto

Inamoto began his Spikes Asia 2014 seminar by pointing to cultural and architectural landmarks that have stood the test of time, such as the Pantheon in Rome and Horyu-ji temple in Kyoto, and the first Nike Air Jordan shoe. By contrast, he said that he had "a nagging feeling that most of what we do in the advertising and marketing industry is quite ephemeral". What can the sector learn from outside sources to make its work more meaningful?

To answer that question, Inamoto listed numerous further examples, including how Audi managed to stage a lasting comeback at Le Mans, the creation of the Pompidou centre, how the Nike Air Max trainer became the icon it is today, and how soil became a celebrated soup ingredient. All had three things in common, he said: the people behind them were relentless and fearless, and the end result was unforgettable.

In short, Inamoto’s advice was:

  • Think what you can do differently in the next 180 days, and follow it through.
  • You have to first be fearful in order to become fearless. "If an idea doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, you may as well not do it," he said.
  • Ask if the world will miss what you plan to create if it didn’t exist. If not, don’t do it.

Campaign’s observation: It’s encouraging when the marketing industry draws inspiration from things that are bigger than itself. A more outward looking gaze can indeed lead to more creative work and stronger brands.

This article originally appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific