Creative Works: Seven Adfest winners that show off APAC's creative power

Perhaps more than any other clustered market group APAC is so culturally, geographically and politically varied that it’s very unfair to try and summarise or encapsulate something as broad as creativity into a list.

However, great work needs to be celebrated on a global level.

The annual Thai-based creative festival Adfest aims to project APAC creativity to a world-class level but it includes special awards like the ‘Lotus Roots’ award, which heralds advertising that really speaks to the cultural nuances of the country it’s targeting.

The winner of Lotus Roots this year did gain global attention, not least because it scooped up the first Cannes Glass Lions last year.

P&G’s ‘Whisper Touch the Pickle’, by BBDO India Mumbai, is brilliant because the copy doesn’t make sense to people outside India but the insight is universal. It is a great example of how pandering to a the homogenous globalisation of communications, particularly digitally, isn’t the only route to scale.

I was at Adfest last week and it was my first major event since joining The Drum to cover Asia. I’m not naive to think I’ll ever be able to fully appreciate the cultural importance of a lot of the work coming out of the region, a lot I don’t connect with or appreciate, some ads are targeted at a different age or to people with very different interests. But a good ad, with a strong, simple idea and beautiful execution, is easy to spot and is worth shouting about.

I’ve selected seven ads from the show that not only stand up as some of the best ads of the past year, but also give a nod to the incredible diversity in the region.

Hakuhodo Kettle: Suumo - 'Shell we move'

Hakuhodo Kettle: Suumo - 'Shell we move'
This idea was really simple - show that Suumo can help you find the best home by solving a problem for hermit crabs. Crabs as media, genius. This should go on to win more awards this year.
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M&C Saatchi, Sydney: Blue Ball Foundation, Testicular Cancer Awareness - 'Game of Balls'

M&C Saatchi, Sydney: Blue Ball Foundation, Testicular Cancer Awareness - 'Game of Balls'
This ballsy approach to raising awareness of testicular cancer is very smart and the sense of humour behind the idea is undeniably Australian.
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BBDO Thailand: Duang Prateep Foundation - 'Moto Repellent'

BBDO Thailand: Duang Prateep Foundation - 'Moto Repellent'
This is a great example of when an ad agency creates a solution that goes way beyond awareness or fame but actually solves the issue. Proving that advertising and creativity can do good, this is surely one for more awards later this year too.
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Hakuhodo: New Balance, AU - 'Fumm'

Hakuhodo: New Balance, AU - 'Fumm'
Another example of where the answer isn’t comms. This time the answer was a new product, an interactive shoe that turns anywhere into a playground for children in inner cities like Tokyo.
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McCann Melbourne: Melbourne International Film Festival - 'Emotional Trailer'

McCann Melbourne: Melbourne International Film Festival - 'Emotional Trailer'
This one doesn’t quite have the local nuance of some of the other ads in the list but it’s technically smart, shows off innovative thinking and was a huge success for the Melbourne Film Festival.
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Watts of Tokyo: Shiseido - 'High School Girl'

Watts of Tokyo: Shiseido - 'High School Girl'
This video is cool, subversive and surprising and the point and product stay so central to it the entire time. Rarely do you get to the end of such a beautiful piece of film and find the brand is still totally relevant.
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Leo Burnett Bangkok: Tesco Lotus - 'Taxi'

Leo Burnett Bangkok: Tesco Lotus - 'Taxi'
Perhaps the opposite of the above. The only criticism of this incredible piece of storytelling is that, much like many other branded videos, you don’t quite know why the brand is telling the story… but you are very glad they did.
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