Creativity and the power of celebrity in Asia | Man About Asia

“While the west prides itself on strong strategic ideas, in the east quite often [creativity] is perceived as a copying culture, a direct response culture, or sometimes just wild and wacky, and sometimes a combination of all three," Wayne Arnold, CEO, Lowe Profero and chair of the Marketing Society South East Asia

The sixth episode of Man About Asia focuses on styles of creativity in Asia. Host Wayne Arnold begins by noting that creativity in the region is often seen as inauthentic and lacking in strategic depth. But Arnold warns that this is a generalisation that is often far from the truth.

As mentioned in the previous episode, the marketing industry in Asia is relatively new. As the creative workforce is still emerging across the region, Arnold chooses to provide tips and observations instead of hard and fast rules of play.

Arnold's first tip is “think local relevance first, global conformity second, and by locally relevant I just don’t mean about the idea but the execution of that idea as well”. Arnold explains that very successful European companies such as Media Markt have failed in China as a result of importing their “big white box” strategy.

The importance of mobile is also reaffirmed in relation to creative. “There was the old cliche that if a great idea could not be written on a post-it note then it wasn’t a great idea at all. I think that needs to be updated to say it now must work on a smartphone or even a smartwatch”, says Arnold.

The third and final observation puts the power of celebrity into focus and suggests that while it may be easy to mock the celebrity endorsement culture in Asia, it's a convention that still holds massive sway.

The next and final episode will offer hints and tips for those adjusting to Asian styles of doing business.

Each of the videos, along with their corresponding marketer vox pops, will be available on the Man About Asia hub, in association with Lowe Profero.

To catch the entire series, subscribe to The Drum YouTube channel.

The Episodes

  • Episode one, 'What Is Asia Anyway’, breaks the vast and complex region into chunks, focusing on the scale of the opportunities across Asia.
  • Episode two, 'Avoiding Air Miles Disease’, takes a closer look at the opportunities each sub-region presents and the issue of where to invest.
  • Episode three, ‘Same Same But Different’, tackles arguably the greatest opportunity, that of China.
  • Episode four, 'Social Asia’, explores the wonderful, staggering and sometimes bizarre world of social media in Asia.
  • Episode five, ‘The Talent Game’, explains why finding and keeping talent is a ongoing challenge for marketers in the region.
  • Episode six, 'Creativity & The Power of Celebrity', takes a look at the diversity of creative cultures across Asia.
  • The final episode, ‘Lost In Translation’, offers up some tips and hints for those adjusting to Asian styles of business.

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Sam Scott

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