I have just finished chairing the PR Jury at the 2014 Spikes Asia awards in Singapore and I can reveal that… Japan is the new Australia! Well, it is in terms of creative entries and breakthrough campaigns. Work from Japan for Dole Bananas, P&G and Honda was outstanding this year but we saw entries from trade associations, prefectures and tyre companies that was stunning too. And often we saw Japanese agencies using bold design motifs and innovative technology solutions to creative challenges. Very refreshing.
And of course Australia and New Zealand were punching way above their GDP weight as usual. There was a disappointing showing from Southeast Asia and the usually strong creative markets of Thailand and Vietnam took a year off it seemed. India was strong in public affairs and reputation work. NGOs and charities were strong as they always are on small budgets but with the benefit of easily emotive subjects to work with. But some of the best work was for classic consumer products and services where we know the communication has to work so much harder.
And there was a lot of bravery around… a couple of times, the jury looked at each and other and saluted the clients who bought these programmes. It’s one thing to present them as an outsider… it’s another to put your career out there and buy it and back it in organisations that are naturally risk averse.
I strongly advise anyone interested in our craft to spend some time looking at the winning cases when they are announced on Friday evening because there is much to learn from them and a real shot of inspiration.