The measure of great advertising in Asia is now the same as in any
other market - Cannes, D&AD and One Show. Given Asia’s recent successes
at these events, the hardest part for me has been choosing just five
examples to make the point.
Volvo (Safety Pin)
Dentsu Young & Rubicam, Japan
Whaah! Whaah! Whaaaaghh!
The sounds of a new-born being inadvertently disembowelled by a
snaggishly enthusiastic first-time father armed with this pointy
Remarkably similar to the cries of creative people all over the world
who wished they’d thought of the idea first.
Singapore One (Benny)
Saatchi & Saatchi, Singapore
As a foreigner, you need to spend a little time in Singapore to
understand that ’upgrading’ is right up there with shopping, soccer and
self-improvement as a national obsession. (The average time it takes to
grasp this varies by nationality. For an Australian it takes nine
seconds, for Britons 11 minutes and for Americans it’s three days - wind
Before the paint dries on any kind of public works project here, it will
already have been slated for upgrading. It’s a natural extension of the
philosophy introduced to Singapore by the British. That is, anything
shiny and new is better than whatever preceded it.
Luckily, this work makes all that history seem a very small price to pay
PTT Performa Gold (Apollo)
Leo Burnett, Thailand
The Lizard is back!
This time as the accidental hero for BP in a script that would have Ed
Wood turning fits of laughter in his grave. What makes it so good are
the witty turns and changes of pace that keep you guessing so hard at
the outcome. What’s even better is that this commercial doesn’t smell
like a commercial at all, which is one hell of a head start in earning
consumer attention and retention.
It’s one for all those who thought Asian advertising didn’t have a funny
bone in its body. Or that only the British know how to do a
Black Cat Thai Whisky
O&M Results, Thailand
They do a lovely pie floater at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels in Wooloomooloo,
a lovely Devonshire tea at Lucy’s in Lower Hutt and, now, to bring in
the pan-Asian trifecta, a lovely pastiche in Bangkok. This film wraps up
every B-grade movie genre in one A-grade idea for Black Cat Thai
Bikini-clad babes dancing poolside to the mobster king’s tune, a
sycophantic snitch, monster Mercs and martial arts air moves, none of
which phase the film’s laconic hero.
Frankly, it’s a healthy sign that Asian advertising is now mature enough
to take the piss out of so much TV tripe.
Hewlett Packard (Aliens)
Saatchi & Saatchi, Singapore
Americans, not noted for their capacity to laugh at themselves, may be
the only ones who wouldn’t find this film funny. Here, the Mars landing
probe and America’s finest boffins at mission control are duped by
little lime Martians and their photo-quality printer courtesy of Hewlett
(Oh, the irony.)
Speaking of irony, it puzzles me that so much advertising for IT, itself
an intensely creative industry, offers so little in creative terms. We
are certainly trying our hardest here in Asia to remedy that.