Monthly Archives: November 2013

Work: Shapers of society

2013

TXTBKS, Smart Communications, DDB DM9 JaymeSyfu

Our team in the Philippines was awarded both the Mobile Grand Prix at Cannes Lions and Spikes Asia 2013 for its Smart Communications TXTBKS campaign.

The campaign aimed to ease the backpack burden of young students by converting textbook content into SMS-sized chunks, loading those SMS-based textbooks onto SIM cards and delivering the SIM cards to students

They helped redefine the category by looking at mobile not as a device, but as a way to deliver meaningful content to people through wireless technology. Their innovation is literally changing the lives of people in places where the latest mobile technologies aren’t even available or affordable.

Secret Fishing Spots, Hutchwilco, DDB Group New Zealand

Hutchwilco are New Zealand’s oldest manufacturer of life jackets. The only problem is their customers keep dying. Because fishermen don’t tell anyone where they’re going when they go fishing. No matter how good we make our lifejackets, if no one knows where they’ve gone the likelihood of finding them if they get in trouble is close to impossible. We came up with Secret Fishing Spots, an iPhone app that allows fishermen to log their secret spots, without giving them away to everyone.

DDB Group New Zealand’s work focuses on being either hugely entertaining or hugely useful. Technology stories must be based on emotional truths, not just technological gimmicks. This proved to be the success of Secret Fishing Spots.

2012

I’m Amazing, McDonald’s, DDB Group Hong Kong

To make the joy of McDonald’s Happy Meals once again relevant to the Hong Kong families, the idea was to create the most amazing McDonald’s store in the world, designed by kids for kids and, in the process, re-connect families.

McDonald’s and DDB worked with one of the top schools in Hong Kong to kick-start the design process where kids were invited to design the McDonald’s restaurant of their dreams.

The 20 most popular designs voted publicly online were brought to life at the first ever McDonald’s Restaurant in the world that is designed by kids for kids.

2011

Musical Styles, Star Hub, DDB Group Singapore

Our campaign for StarHub Music Online, uses innovative RFID technology to engage youths to music at fashion outlets, and won the prestigious Cannes Gold Lion. This was a smart and technically challenging project involving 14 creative talents and 8 technologists working as a collaborative team. The innovative use of digital technology signposted a new kind of creative excellence for the industry.

2010

Green Pedestrian Crossing, Environmental Protection Authority, DDB China Group

DDB China Group was globally acclaimed with our ‘Green Pedestrian’ campaign for the China Environment Protection Foundation, which won more than 15 awards including a Gold Lion

– the country’s second Gold in the history of the award show

– as well as Spikes Asia, Longxi awards, China 4A awards, UK Green awards, International AME awards, AdFest and International Andy awards.

Reflections by Linda Locke: What will never change

In which the author contrasts a bygone agency structure with today’s high-pressure environment and highlights the one thing that hasn’t changed in 40 years.

40 years is a long time and in some ways nothing has changed and in other ways so much has changed. From television and print as the dominant medium upon which entire corporations such as P&G structured their research and benchmarking standards, we have these media reduced to pale shadows of their former selves. Industry players have had to move from catching eyeballs in fixed focussed mediums, to a fragmented audience that is often viewing multiple screens whilst blogging, tweeting, or chatting on Facebook.

Instead of the TV set and its channels we have moved to cable, Apple TV and now arguably YouTube—probably one of the most watched channels on the planet. We have moved from content created by the few for the many, to content created by the many, seen by so many globally—often free of charge—on phones, tablets, computers and TV screens whilst sitting or on the move. As testimony to the power of YouTube a man who decided to film himself doing a jig everywhere he travelled for a laugh became an internet sensation, leading to him becoming the star of a global Visa campaign—you guessed it—doing his jig all the way through it.

Within the agency structure we have moved from a robust model, the cornerstone of which was the trilogy of creative, media and account planning and management, to the splintered structure that saw 80 per cent of the revenue move out as media agencies became businesses in their own right.

Whilst profitable as a business, the loss of media placed a heavy toll on the creative agency’s revenues and the agency’s flexibility in how it could support client businesses affordably. As pressures grew on marketing department budgets, so in turn marketing directors put pressure on their agencies and agencies became more and more squeezed for profit. What made it worse was clients continued to expect high creative standards for less cost, as one client said to me, “We expect first-world creative at third-world prices.”

In addition, as digital has grown from a niche category to be as important as TV once was, it has created more demand on the agencies as they have had to staff up to meet demand or find themselves partnering with experts in the field such as digital producers, Facebook strategists and writers and PR companies able to work across the online and offline platforms. All at unprecedented speed.

What has not changed in 40 years is that human beings will always respond to deeply human stories. Stories whether in print, on the web or on cable TV or in experiences created by brands that surprise, delight and engage. These stories, underpinned by incisive insights and powerful ideas, will always be at the heart of memorable human engagement and allow a brand to be meaningful and resonate in the lives of human beings.

Linda Locke is CEO and creative director of Godmother Consulting.

Private Views: The advertising that moved us

mescallJohn Mescall, ECD, McCann Australia
The impossible brief: your top six pieces of work from Asia over the past 40 years. So I gave myself a single criteria that helped me narrow it down a little: select work that really has a strong sense of place. Why? Because I admire work that really reflects its country of origin, but still has a strong universal appeal. For me, at least, these six do this admirably.

thorsantisiriThor Santisiri, Chairman, NudeJEH
The best ads are the ones with the power to influence people. They make millions laugh or cry, especially the competitors. If they happen to please a few judges, so much the better. After almost 40 years in the industry, only a few stay fresh in my mind.


 

Nissin | Hungry (1993)

Santisiri: While every creative in Asia was looking to the world for inspiration, the Japanese were looking in. Nissin cup noodle ‘Hungry’ was so fresh, illogical and Japanese that most people could not forget it after seeing it just once. It showed us Asians back then that we don’t need to look too far to find inspiration and originality.

Mescall: I wasn’t long into my career when this spot came out. It was so freakishly weird to me, but so awesome. I think I was muttering “Hungry? Cup-O-Noodle” to myself in a bad Japanese accent for weeks. It was the first time I truly realised that an ad only needs to make emotional sense, not literal sense. 

Hungry (1993)
Client: Nissin
Agency: Hakuhodo
Creative director: Susumu Miyazaki
Art director: Onuki
Copywriter: Tomomi Maed

 

Singapore Airlines | A great way to fly (1972)

Santisiri: ‘Singapore Girl’ has been running for over 40 years — an invaluable asset to the brand. During its first 10 years it won many awards worldwide. It was a dream account for every creative, became one of the most respected brands in Asia, and even improved Singapore’s harsh and unfriendly image. What more could you ask for from an ad campaign? 

singapore_girl

A great way to fly (1972)
Client: Singapore Airlines
Agency: Batey Ads
Creative director: Ian Batey
Copywriter: Ian Batey

 

Smart | TXTBKS (2013)

Mescall: This is not an ad, which is why I have chosen it. It is a great creative solution to a very real problem, and a perfect example of what our industry is capable of when it frees itself from the restrictions of finding media-led solutions. 

TXTBKS (2013)
Client: Smart
Agency: DDB DM9 Jayme Syfu
Chairman/CCO: Merlee Jayme
ECD: Eugene Demata

 

Samsonite | Heaven and Hell (2011)

Santisiri: Great insight, great idea and great execution working beautifully together in one ad. How often do you get to see this?

Heaven and Hell (2011)
Client: Samsonite
Agency: JWT Shanghai
CDs: Yang Yeo/Elvis Chau/SheungYan Lo/Hattie Cheng/Rojana Chuasakul
Copywriter: Marc Wang

 

Carlton Draught | Big Ad (2005)

Mescall: There aren’t a lot of ads that launch online and pretty much immediately have the whole agency gathered around, watching it two or three times. This is one of those ads. The fact that it’s part of a proper, long-running campaign that celebrates the utter ordinariness of the product just makes it even better. I love brands that are not afraid to take the piss out of themselves. 

Big Ad (2005)
Client: Foster’s Australia
Agency: George Patterson Y&R
Brand: Carlton Draught
Creative director: James McGrath
Copywriter: Ant Keogh

 

Adidas | Vertical Football (2004)

Santisiri: I wish I’d been in Japan to see the billboard in action. It encapsulated the idea of ‘Impossible is nothing’ in a jaw-dropping way, appeared on almost every news network globally and gained millions of dollars’ worth of free media. A real triumph for creativity.

adidas_Vertical_Football_06

Vertical Football (2004)
Client: adidas
Agency: TBWA
Creative director/copywriter: John Merrifield

 

Toyota | Bugger (1997)

Mescall: Funny, earthy, honest, memorable, irreverent and likeable. Sums up the Kiwi attitude to advertising, and life in general, in 45 seconds. A great spot. 

Bugger (1997)
Client: Toyota
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand
Creative director: Kim Thorp
Copywriter: Howard Greive, John Plimmer

 

Chivas Regal | Chivas Regal (1993)

Santisiri: You’d have to be mad to launch a prestigious brand of whisky by insulting the young audience and being so arrogant as to not even show the label. But it was calculated madness. The idea, the copy, the layout and what was left out all added up to the most valuable asset of the brand: a clear personality. The bold move took Chivas Regal to a position of brand leadership overnight. 

chivas8

Chivas Regal (1993)
Client: Chivas
Agency: The Ball Partnership
ECD: Neil French

 

Kamoi Kakoshi | MT Ex Taipei (2012)

Mescall: This is a lovely piece of design-led thinking, but it’s in my list as representative of the broader design sensibility of the best Japanese work. Subtle, graceful and intelligent, it shows a respect for its audience that can only be admired. 

Masking-tape

MT Ex Taipei (2012)
Client: Kamoi Kakoshi
Agency: Iyamadesign Tokyo
Creative director/art director: Koji Iyama

 

Black Cat | Black Cat (1997)

Santisiri: Whoever did this must have studied the rules of dos and don’ts on whisky advertising hard just to break every one of them. Then put a great idea behind it with a sense of humour. It took Thailand by storm. Almost everyone with a sense of humour regardless of their social class tried the whisky. The campaign hurt the brand leader so badly they eventually bought Black Cat and suffocated it. Another triumph for creativity.

Black Cat (1997)
Client: United Winery and Distillery
Brand: Black Cat Whisky
Agency: Results Advertising
CDs: Suthisak Sucharittanonta, Pachaya Rungrueng

 

Tourism Victoria | Run Rabbit Run (2007)

Mescall: Maybe a little hometown bias here, but this is one spot in a long running campaign for Tourism Victoria that is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest tourism campaigns the world has ever seen. Always witty and always charming, just like the average Melbournian. 

Run Rabbit Run (2007)
Client: Tourism Victoria (TV)
Agency: Mojo & Partners Melbourne
Creative director: Darren Spiller
Copywriter: Steve Jackson

Asia’s creative journey: Three leaders reflect on the rapid evolution of Asian creativity

David Guerrero
Chairman/CCO, BBDO Guerrero Proximity Philippines
Reflections on the Hong Kong-Singapore rivalry, quirky ads that set the tone of the region and the exciting rise of new markets

Piyush Pandey
Executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy South Asia
Asia no longer eyes the West for inspiration, but is producing its own solutions to local conditions and exporting them globally

Tay Guan Hin
Regional ECD, JWT APAC
Creatives have plenty of inspiration to draw from award-winning, innovative and intelligently humorous homegrown work

Asia’s creative journey: Tay Guan Hin

Creatives have plenty of inspiration to draw from award-winning, innovative and intelligently humorous homegrown work, writes Tay Guan Hin

Creativity in Asia has gone through a remarkable transformation over the years. When I first started in Singapore, most of the TVCs were adapted from the West and we looked to Madison Avenue for inspiration. I vividly remember newspaper ads that looked like they came from England. All but a handful of creative directors in town were Caucasian.

Copywriting in those days was much stronger than art direction. Especially long copy ads, which Neil French was most famous for. French helped put Asia on the map, thanks in big part to his witty personality, which played a key role in winning the many local and international awards he brought back to the region. But over the years, more Asian creatives began to find their voice and assert their influence.

The Thais made their very distinctive mark in the 2000s with ads like the Smooth E mini-series and the Bangkok Insurance spots ‘Tire’ and ‘Tornado.’ These TVCs have a unique Thai flavour that’s absolutely crazy, with a wry sense of humour. Thanonchai Sornsriwichai from Phenomena, who made those ads, was the Gunn Report’s world’s most awarded director from 1999 to 2010. He uses his heart to capture all the Thai nuances. Another Asian who also captured the heart and soul of the audience is the late Yasmin Ahmad, who revolutionised the way Malaysians view life. She managed to explore and search for the Malaysian identity through controversial themes, creating work that resonated at home and at global awards shows. It’s interesting to note that both directors, from different cultures, managed to infuse their personality and how they see their country into their work, creating a distinctive voice.

The fast-growing list of Asian ‘firsts’ over the past few decades tracks our region’s creative rise. Singapore received Asia’s first D&AD Black Pencil back in 1990 for ‘Glasses’ a public service TVC done by Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore. Japan won its first Cannes Lion Grand Prix in 1993 for a really funny stop-motion animation film created by Hakuhodo for Nissin Cup Noodles. In an interview with Campaign India in 2012, Sonal Dabral said this campaign influenced much of the humour in Asian ads, from Japan through to Thailand and even India. It set the bar for “bizarre, but quirky and intelligent humour” that could be seen in later ads in key parts of the region, he said.

This proves one great ad can truly influence the way creatives think for many years to come.

We have always had strength out of Australia, the ‘Western’ part of the Asia-Pacific region: In 1977, Australia made history by winning the first Cannes Lion Grand Prix from Asia-Pacific for the campaigns ‘Yugoslavia’, ‘Greece’, ‘Italy’, created by George Patterson Y&R for the Overseas Telecommunications Commission. It is also fitting that this year, Australia created history yet again, by winning five Grands Prix and 18 Golds, three Silvers and two Bronzes for McCann Worldgroup Melbourne’s ‘Dumb ways to die’. Over the years, I’ve found the work out of Australia inspiring. The laid-back attitude of the Aussies makes them spontaneous, and that’s something I’ve tried to take on board.

Manila also created history this year, by winning its first Grand Prix in the mobile category, normally dominated by more developed markets, for a campaign for wireless services provider Smart Communications that used old analogue mobile phones as a teaching tool. It was such an emotional triumphant victory for a country I care about so deeply. Smart Txtbks, by DM9JaymeSyfu, edged out hundreds of other campaigns for brands such as adidas, Google, McDonald’s, and Nike. Rei Inamoto, the chief creative officer of AKQA and the Cannes jury president said it best: “This Grand Prix may not be the sexiest and shiniest piece of work, but it surely is the most beautiful idea I’ve ever seen.”

So has Asia finally found its own voice? A distinctive tonality that clearly indicates where we’re from? I think we are getting there. I’m very proud of where Asia is today. Great ideas can now come from the most unexpected places. Every year, new markets break their own record. It’s our time for growth and continuous experimentation. Fast-emerging markets like Indonesia and Vietnam present exciting opportunities in the future and I’m sure their time to shine is just around the corner.

Tay Guan Hin is regional ECD of JWT APAC

Asia’s creative journey: Piyush Pandey

Asia no longer eyes the West for inspiration, but is producing its own solutions to local conditions and exporting them globally, writes Piyush Pandey

It has been an Asian growth story for the past two decades, driven by the dragon and tiger. As Asian markets have opened up and advertisers have pounced on the large market potential, we have seen creativity being unleashed.

In India, three factors have driven the creative boom in advertising. First, creative talent has become democratised. No longer are creative people necessarily ‘convent-educated, English-speaking’ ladies and gentlemen. The emergence of talent from small-town India has given the work an earthy flavour and local charm that endears it to real consumers. Second, the confidence of society is also seen in the creative output. There is no need to copy global ideas blindly, but the confident Indian is comfortable developing a local idiom without fear; being unapologetic about our values and way of storytelling. Indian advertising is often expressive, even to the extent of being over-the-top in emotional content. Third, a culture of being adaptive rather than adoptive has stimulated us to create our own models of creative expression. We have learnt and borrowed the best practices of technology and film-making from the developed world. Films made in India today are of a higher quality than two decades ago, though not yet on par with the best of the West, often due to limitations in budgets and scale.

However, Indian creativity has worked to create solutions for the local market that have not been necessary in the West. Rural activation is one such example developed locally for the media dark areas of the country in the 90s. Unilever pioneered it and today is rolling it out in many other developing markets. The recent Cannes Lion won for Lifebouy’s ‘Roti’ campaign, in which 2.5 million individual ‘Indian breads’ were hot-stamped with the message ‘Lifebouy se haath dhoya kya’ (‘Have you washed your hands with Lifebouy’) at the Kumbh mela festival is one example.

This has led to global marketers getting more comfortable with local creativity to manage Indian markets. For example, Surf’s ‘Dirt is good’ has distinct Indian renditions of the global idea. And Vodafone retained the local advertising idea when it bought over Hutch in 2007, thus reaffirming trust in local creativity.

As the East has opened up to globalisation, Asian advertising has imbibed the technological revolution happening in the West, almost on a same real-time basis. Digital advertising is growing in India, though it has yet to see big investments in scale of work, simply because of limited reach. However, in markets where technology has penetrated, the mindset has seen enough ‘creative technology’ breakthroughs. This year, Samsung Life Insurance in Korea won a Grand Prix at Cannes for its ‘Bridge of life’ idea. The Philippines’ largest telecom company, Smart, recycled SIM cards to create school textbooks — another Lion winner this year.

As the West moves from brand promises to propositions, the East is also experimenting in that direction, in its own way. SingTel’s ‘Old phones give new life’ Cannes winner is an example. No longer is Asia lagging in adopting creative technology or strategic innovation.

The challenge in the big Asian markets like India and China will remain in managing heterogeneity in economic and cultural classes. This means addressing audiences at different levels of market evolution with different cultural orientations. Ideas not only need to span different media, but also local situations. This is about non-standardised solutions, something Asian advertising must keep fine-tuning. Similarly, to achieve global recognition, the Western world needs to be sensitised to Eastern culture so it can appreciate our creative benchmarks rather than judge us by its own cultural standards.

We need to strive to be the supplier of creative solutions by building ability to generate global expressions for ideas generated here. It’s heartening to see Asian advertising live up to the saying: ‘If you keep looking westwards you can’t see the sunrise’. We must keep aiming higher.

Piyush Pandey is executive chairman and creative director of Ogilvy South Asia

Asia’s creative journey: David Guerrero

David Guerrero reflects on Hong Kong-Singapore rivalry, quirky ads that set the tone of the region and the exciting rise of new markets

The week I started work in Hong Kong a major creative crisis erupted. Not solely due to my arrival, but mainly because my new agency’s lavish TV production set in the exotic location of Moscow’s Red Square aired at exactly the time a rival agency broke its commercial, set in the exotic location of Moscow’s Red Square. Even the moody morning lighting was the same.

It was October 1990. Hong Kong was the centre of Asia’s advertising universe. The annual Spikes dinner at the Regent Hotel was the creative event of the year. And the China ‘department’ was an office down a corridor on the way to the men’s room. Singapore, from the Hong Kong perspective, was a sleepy tropical outpost where people did press campaigns for chicken rice restaurants, and for the press itself. The first of these was the legendary Yet Con Restaurant work — the small-client campaign that launched so many other small-client campaigns. And the second was the XO Beer campaign for Singapore Press Holdings, for a made-up product to sell the power of press. It led to the creation of an actual product once the idea took hold. At the centre of all this activity was The Ball Partnership with Neil French and then Jim Aitchison at the helm. There was certainly no love lost between the two cities. In 1992, Aitchison described Hong Kong advertising as “lacking ideas” and proclaimed Singapore as the “regional capital of English language print advertising”.

At that time, Japan had established itself as a major force: with quirky TV like Nissin Cup Noodles and later with the Volvo safety pin ad, which picked up a Grand Prix at Cannes.

I had always wanted to work in Manila though. After nearly five years in Hong Kong, I was interviewed by a hungover Neil French in his suite at the Conrad. Apparently, when it came to overseas copywriters of Filipino parentage, I was on a shortlist of one. So off I went to become Ogilvy Manila’s ECD, the first ‘outside’ creative to work in the country for 20 years. Luckily I was deaf to criticism, blind to my numerous errors, and dumb enough to keep going regardless. I had great support and we must have done something right because we grew the business and Neil didn’t growl at us… much. It might have continued, but then we had a great year at Spikes. Dave Alberts was judging and Chris Jaques was telling him to hurry up and find someone in the Philippines. Thus the partnership with BBDO was born. Together with Jos Ortega, I started the agency in 1998, the news announced with a nice cover picture in Media.

Indian advertising started coming into its own towards the end of the 90s. I’d already worked with Piyush Pandey on a London International Grand Prix winner for Pepsi. And then he started doing great commercials for Fevicol, starting with ‘Chicken and egg’ and later ‘Bus’.

At this point Thai advertising was the most awarded in the region, with commercials like ‘Worms’ for Unif Green Tea by Suthisak Sucharittanonta and director Suthon Petchsuwan And the campaign for Smooth-E by Jureeporn Thaidumrong and director Thanonchai ‘Tor’ Sornsriwichai. Indeed, Tor was ranked as the most awarded director in the world from 1999-2009 by the Gunn Report. However, as the growing list of categories at Cannes shows, it’s not just about TV any more. Before 1992 there was only one category. And now there are 14.

Is Asia doing well in this multi-platform environment? It seems so. China is the world’s second largest ad market and has picked up Cannes Grands Prix in two successive years. Korea has risen in the past three years to win top prizes at both Spikes and Cannes, and the Philippines got its first Grand Prix in Mobile this year.

Paradoxically, it hasn’t got any easier to win awards. But it does seem to have got a lot more important. A Lion now seems to be on the wish list of as many clients as agencies. And Spikes has gone from a meal to a festival. But it’s the geographical shifts that are most interesting to speculate on. Where will the future epicentre of the industry be? I’m personally hoping it’s on a nice beach somewhere. After all, as one of my favourite headlines goes: No-one’s last words were ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’.

David Guerrero is chairman/CCO of BBDO Guerrero Proximity Philippines

The next 40 years: More neurons, better brands

The basic human desire for liberation could lead to a much purer and more meaningful relationship between brands and people. By Mark Holden

Anniversaries are as much a time for celebration as they are for reflection. To reflect on how far the industry has come since 1973. We would all agree that the change has been significant, but the change is most startling when viewed through the eyes of a seventies ad exec.

Because information is hierarchical, they would have to see the ubiquity of computing before they could understand the internet, then they could start to understand online marketing. Only then could they even begin to understand and fathom the complexities of programmatic buying, attribution analysis or real-time brand sentiment monitoring.

The concept of a small handheld device that allows video calling, location-based functionality and makes almost all of the information that has ever existed available in a heart-beat would be genuinely unbelievable.

After this moment of reflection we can start to turn our minds to projection. In the prediction game there are two schools of thought — the linear and the exponential. The linear view is that change happens in a succession of equal steps; that the change is smooth; that change in the next 40 years will be as dramatically different as it has been over the past 40 years. If this is the case we should still expect radical changes, as 40 years is a very long way away. But these changes should be just about understandable from our current primitive mindset.

The changes will be driven by the deep underlying, and mostly unconscious, human drive for abundance; to be unshackled by any physical, temporal and informational based constraints. Any technology that has been successful has in some way liberated us and allowed us to march forward to this state of abundance.

On this basis, 40 years from now we are likely to have a more direct connection to sentient intelligence (what the internet currently is) that will actually augment our consciousness. Ray Kurzweil, the director of engineering at Google, is leading a team that is looking to reorganise the internet so that it ‘wakes up’. He predicts this will be achieved within a couple of decades.

Continuing the hierarchical theme, from this point, the next epoch will be to connect our minds to this sentient intelligence. Do that and we will just sort of know stuff. And communicate by thought.

New pioneering functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research is happening that allows computers to read people’s minds, correlating the electrical activity with concepts such a car, dog or house. That’s information-out. There is also information-in work happening; scientists have recently successfully activated neural networks in order to trigger thoughts. Perhaps it will be commonplace in 40 years.

More startling will be the highly likely possibility that we will be able to rent additional neurons. At the moment we are limited to 100 billion of the little buggers, due to the limited amount of cognitive real-estate we have in and around our neocortex. That means we don’t remember things that easily, as we have run out of space. Children don’t have this problem. Kurzweil envisions that well within 40 years we will have access to billions, perhaps trillions, more neurons that are in the cloud, that our minds will be able to connect to via the 2053 version of WiFi.

And this is the amazing thing: the extra billions of neurons we currently have over, say, a dog allow us to a see a greater symmetry to the world. Where a dog sees grass and trees we see an architecturally designed landscape garden. We see beauty in art. Wonder in nature. We see subtext in conversations. What would we see if we had another billion neurons? Try a trillion neurons. According to the most credible engineers in this area, such as Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, this should easily be reachable within 30 to 40 years.

So what does that mean for advertising? Access to the world’s information has come with a value-exchange. As in ads. When faced with a choice, we will always choose free with ads. So on that basis, and if these realities come to exist, in 40 years there is a distinct possibility that ads will be delivered directly into the brain. Not as horrible popping-up thoughts, but simply having an awareness of a brand and the correct associations. That could supplement or simply replace branding. Perhaps advertisers will craft their associations and pay for inception. Sounds ridiculous, but it has to; otherwise we would be underestimating the potential for change four decades from the present.

As for response-based advertising, when an impulse emerges, perhaps brands may bid to be the first considered brand. Our extended consciousness might be able to hold our own organic impulses separate from the brand-funded ones. Sound familiar? Purchase will simply be an acquisition thought that would result in the brand, if physical, being prefabricated via advanced nano-technology within our homes.

But remember, this is all the linear school of thought’s view of the next 40 years.

The exponential view, which Kurzweil actually holds, suggests that the accelerating speed of change will hockey-stick seven years before Campaign’s 80th anniversary. This is called a singularity, where the rate of change becomes infinite. It is often referred to as the rapture of the nerds. So if this happens perhaps we will definitely be celebrating the eightieth anniversary together because we will all be one collective conscious floating within a non-temporal 11-diminensional multiverse. See you there.

Mark Holden is worldwide strategy and planning director at PHD Worldwide

The next 40 years: The emergence of a new Silk Road

A global rebalancing and ever-evolving technologies promise more complexity, but also greater rewards. By James Thompson

At the end of the 1990s, every chief executive demanded an internet strategy — even if it was limited to adding .com to the end of the company’s name. Now, as we move rapidly towards 2020 and beyond, many marketers and executives find themselves asking ‘what’s next?’

I believe we are on the cusp of something that is just as significant as the birth of the internet, but that requires rather more thought and commitment.

China has emerged as an economy that may surpass that of the United States as the largest in the world, while India is racing to catch up. While this rapid growth is exciting and represents a dramatic shift in the world as we know it, it is not the first time that India and China have been global economic powerhouses.

These countries hosted one of the largest informal networks in the world — the Silk Road — which was more of a concept than a well-worn path, but equally as intricate and interconnected as the internet. There was not one single, sign-posted road, but rather a number of arteries taking not only goods, but also ideas and philosophies from the East to the West and back again.

Over the next 40 years, I believe we will see the emergence of a new silk road that not only covers Asia-Pacific, but also ventures to the Middle East, Africa and South America, especially Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

As this network grows, it will help produce companies that may not currently enjoy a global profile, but which one day will be among the largest and most powerful firms on earth. These include companies such as Nigeria’s Dangote, China’s Chery, India’s Suzlon, Australia’s Riversdale, and places such as Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka and the new super port in São João da Barra, Brazil.

China overtook Japan as the world’s second largest economy earlier this decade and may already be the world’s greatest energy consumer. It is set to become Brazil’s top foreign investor. A recent study by Deloitte predicted that Chinese investments in Brazil could hit an average of about US$40bn a year between now and 2014, with companies throwing money at sectors ranging from telecommunications, infrastructure and farming, to oil, biofuels, natural gas, mining and steel manufacturing.

And why does a man working for a luxury and lifestyle business care about the size of ports or mining companies? Aside from the obvious fact that these changes will hopefully accelerate the advancement of many societies, providing people with the means to make choices about what and how they consume, it also transforms the way we market our products in two key ways.

Firstly, as a luxury business this zeitgeist is particularly exciting for us as we are seeing consumers across the entire socio-economic scale seeking to trade up. Premiumisation is a core strategy for the Diageo Reserve business and we are constantly innovating with our products and experiences to meet the desires of a new generation of aspirational and luxury consumers. Standing still is definitely not an option. This brings me to my second point. The flip side of this new global economy with constant technological innovation and rapid transfer of information is the risk it poses to our business — perhaps one of the biggest we face. While innovations are important to drive commercial success, they are equally as important to build brand equity and protect us in times of crisis.

Along these same lines, companies like Google are creating opportunities for marketers that 40 years ago would have seemed impossible. We no longer just understand preferences and buying patterns, but also behaviour and other activity that would have been considered personal and unattainable.

While in many ways this advancement is thrilling and gives modern marketers an extraordinary edge, it also opens a veritable Pandora’s Box with regards to ethical issues around privacy and freedom of information. I think it is still very much a grey area and one we will see evolve. But I wonder: will there be a debate over the rights of citizens in a world where marketers have powers of which individuals may be unaware, or will the ease and immediacy that the technology brings result in a willing submission of privacy? I don’t have all the answers here, but it’s an area of great interest to me.

Ultimately, what makes me excited about the new Silk Road is that underpinning these new companies, economies and societies is a complex web of science, technology and innovation which presents marketers with unprecedented opportunities and previously unimagined challenges.

It is of course, a complex web that spreads far beyond the new Silk Road and pervades all four corners of the globe. This combination will make our jobs infinitely more challenging, but also, a hundred times more rewarding. The brands we represent, the business we help shape, and the careers we will build will all be influenced by new arteries being opened up for trade, creativity, and sharing.

James Thompson is MD of Diageo Reserve Brands