PATTAYA, THAILAND — As creatives and industry trailblazers gathered at ADFEST 2023 last February 23 to 25, Gerety and adobo Magazine took to the main stage to delve into the “secret” ingredient that turns entrants into winners.
Entitled “Gerety Talks with Adobo Magazine: What makes work award-worthy?,” the panel discussion was moderated by Angel Guerrero, Founder, President, and Editor-in-Chief of adobo Magazine. She was joined onstage by Pannarai “Goya” Juanroong, Executive Creative Director of Cheil Worldwide Thailand, Hansa Wongsiripitack, Head of Marketing of The 1 Central Group, Hà Nguyễn Thị Hải, Chief Executive Officer of VMLY&R Vietnam, and Prerna Mehra, Creative Director and Head of Design of MullenLowe MENA.
The session began with the women exploring the value and importance of recognizing creative work through awards. Goya shared, “[Awards] help increase the standard of the industry, and award-worthy work can inspire creative people to continue learning and growing by studying those cases.”
“Awards, for me, set a benchmark for creativity. They recognize the hard work creatives do on a daily basis, and it’s important to celebrate a job well done! Awards show brands how effective advertising can be,” Prerna said. “Awards also attract new talent and encourage new generations to join the business. If we will not have new people join the industry, there will be no future.”
Going further into the conversation, the panelists dissected what separates award winners from hundreds of entrants. They used Vice Media’s “The Unfiltered History Tour,” conceptualized by Dentsu Webchutney, as a case study that exemplified creative excellence.
“The Unfiltered History Tour” is a secret tour of the British Museum’s stolen artifacts via Augmented Reality. However, instead of adding dog ears to a selfie, the same technology was reengineered to scan and identify life-sized 3D artifacts in differing light conditions throughout the day, to showcase first-ever visual depictions of scenes of colonial crime without the Museum’s knowledge.
When visitors used their smartphones to scan the museum’s stolen artifacts, the relevant filter was activated via geolocation. They heard native experts narrate the true histories of how they were stolen, as first-ever visual depictions of scenes of crime formed a contextual overlay over the artifact in real-time using Augmented Reality (AR). While the British Museum’s narrative portrayed the colonies as helpless in the face of British aggression, AR in smartphones were used to tell history from the perspective of the colonies, as formidable foes who fought to save their cultural treasures.
The campaign won two Grand Prix and two Gold metals at the 2022 Gerety Awards.
Talking about the elements that made the work award-worthy, Hà said, “There are two things I love about the campaign. Firstly, how the technology is used very smartly in the campaign. This tour, which is carried out via Instagram filter, makes use of AR, which is not a new thing, and the tour is activated when a user scans the object with their phone. The mobile-based tours really help users immerse themselves in the ‘unfiltered’ history of the artifacts, and they learn the true stories from native experts. Secondly, we learn about a global topic but with a very direct and personal experience.”
In the follow-up discussion, the panelists also tackled brand purpose and advocacy in creative work. Goya shared, “These are key ingredients to make the work impactful as long as the purpose is relevant and meaningful to the consumer. As you might see now, consumer behavior is developing.”
Prerna added, “It is often said that Gen Z will not support brands that don’t state their purpose when, in fact, Gen Z often buys based on value rather than values. The world suffers from climate change, but it affects Gen Z the most. They want brands to be conscious of their future, the future of the planet we live in, and contribute in purposeful actions.”
Hà agreed, “Today, consumers expect companies to not only sell products but also to take social responsibilities seriously. More and more brands are creating campaigns that reflect their values and social responsibility initiatives. Also, they demand transparency from companies, which has led to increased scrutiny of the marketing practices of brands. The more honest and transparent the campaigns are, the more trust companies can build with consumers.”
The panelists further explored technology’s influence on the quality of craft and execution. Although they acknowledged the digital transformation happening in creative agencies, they were adamant that technology and innovation can’t take over human creativity. While there are more tools and data available now, these can’t replace the work creatives do because of the latter’s unique perspective and fundamental understanding of human experience.
“AI learns from the data of the past, and that past can be as recent as yesterday, which means it has been done somewhere in some way,” Prerna shared. “We are in the business of ideas. We think of things that have not been done before and that is something that these tools will never be able to replace.”
Concluding the session, the panelists shared insights on how the presence of women in juries can shape the judging experience. Hansa emphasized, “Creativity is genderless, but context can be influenced by various factors including gender.”
“Women are bringing a new perspective not just to the creative industry, but everywhere,” Prerna enthused. “Women are more empathetic than men, and we can get into the shoes of the audience with much more ease. To reach out to the gender on the rise, we need more women in the creative fields to talk to them, understand them, and cater to their needs — to bring new insights and more profound meaning to our work.”
To wrap up the panel discussion, she asked audiences to watch Mullenlowe MENA‘s campaign, “Fixing the bAIs,” which demonstrates how AI can revolutionize the world, if done correctly to consider gender representation.
adobo Magazine is an official media partner of ADFEST 2023.