InsightPress Release

McCann Worldgroup’s Cannes Lions Ascending Asia report highlights culture, collectivism, and tech-mindset

CANNES, FRANCE — McCann Worldgroup has launched its latest Truth Central Study, The Truth about Ascending Asia, at an event held at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Over 80 clients, partners, and media joined the network to hear from guest speakers, including L’Oréal Groupe, The Times of India Group, and TikTok.

The event, the global preview of an extensive research study that will roll out across Asia later this year, explored how innovative thinking from the world’s most diverse and dynamic region can power global brands’ marketing and creativity approaches.

Cannes Lions Ascending Asia report insert

The opening panel session, “Meet the Culture Shapers,” moderated by Atifa Silk, Managing Director at Campaign Asia, featured Andy Del Rosario, Associate Creative Director at McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Sea Yen Ong, Head of Channel Revenue Partnerships in Southeast Asia at TikTok, and Partha Sinha, President of The Times of India Group. The discussion focused on the Asia-first and pioneering brand-building principles and flavors of creative social, influencer, and commerce innovations.


Shilpa Sinha, McCann Worldgroup’s APAC Chief Strategy Officer, then shared key insights from The Truth About Ascending Asia, reflecting on how Asia has been setting benchmarks of exceptionalism in economic success and technological disruption, even in the wake of significant social problems.

In an interdependent and interconnected world, the boundaries between global and Asian challenges are fading. Climate change, a new war, and growing economic inequalities emerged as the top three worries for Asians.

Despite these, there is an undeniable optimism driven by Asia’s economic growth, innovation potential, and belief in its enduring value systems: 

  • 85% believe that “everyday life will be better for a person like me in 10 years” versus Europe 52% 
  • 76% believe that Asian societies are better equipped to handle the stresses of modern life than Western societies   
  • Respondents believe that Asia will emerge as the best place in the future to: Have work/life balance, Access to global brands and products; Have an education  

Shilpa then revealed the three ways in which brands can derive inspiration from the ‘Asian Dream’ to have a more enduring impact:

Catalyse Collectivism 

Societal Cohesion and Harmony continue to be Asia’s enduring ideals. A testament to that is the naming of Mahatma Gandhi by many Asians as the person who best represents being Asian.  While collectivism is an age-old concept within Asia, new forms of “The Collective” are shaping the Asian identity beyond the country and family role.

  • What best defines me as a person: My country (48%), my local community (33%) my work or professional community (29%), my city (26%)    

Fostering togetherness and collaboration is the mandate given to brands by Asians  86% believe brands have an important role in bringing society together, and 68% believe that Asian brands should cooperate more to solve problems effectively as opposed to competing more to drive up productivity & innovation (32%) 

The concept of Unity is Unbound  

  • 83% believe that there should be an “Asian Union” like the “European Union” 
  • 67% of Asian people believe that Asians, Americans, and Europeans are fundamentally alike

Innovate “Human Tech”

Asians have a Tech-First mindset and vision: 

  • Which brand would you choose to govern Asia in place of existing political institutions & parties: Google 28%, Apple 21%, Samsung 21% 

Asians are driven ahead by Tech Thirst: 

  • 67% believe that people can fulfill their true potential only with the help of technology versus Europe 50% 

Asia is already one of the leaders in tech fields like mobile, gaming, robotics, e-com, and the like. Aditionally, Asians believe Asia is the future Tech-Titan: 

  • When asked where Asia will lead in the future, Science & Tech was ranked number one

But there is a “Techcotomy”-“optimism-exhaustion/apprehension” relationship with tech  

  • 67% believe that potential benefits of technology outweigh any known risks; but 
  • Almost 1 in 2 would like to have less tech in their everyday life in the future 
  • 56% say a future with robots frightens them (EU-67%)   

Celebrate Cultural Affluence 

Asia’s cardinal character is its culture 

  • 67% of Asians say Asia is ‘A Culture’. vs. Europe 43% 

Beyond its current and future material affluence, Asia revels in a more profound notion of prosperity: Cultural affluence 

  • 92% believe that cultural diversity is Asia’s greatest wealth and should be celebrated more 

There is varied palette of cultural riches residing within Asia, which Asian people are proud of, ranging from food, tradition, diversity, history, music and hospitality.

The event then closed with a discussion, “Building Enduring Global Brands,” between Asmita Dubey, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer of L’Oréal Groupe, and Prasoon Joshi, APAC Chairman of McCann Worldgroup, moderated by Valerie Madon, APAC Chief Creative Officer of McCann Worldgroup. This explored powering global brand platforms with Asian thinking to keep winning in culture, category and within communities.

Prasoon reflected, “Asia is a conglomerate of diversity and has much to be emulated be it the values of collectivism or humane approach to technical innovations. Beyond the material and its monetization, it’s Asia’s uniqueness as a cultural exporter which makes it imperative for us to decode and understand this non-linear region.”

Shilpa commented, “I am delighted by the overwhelming response we have received for our global preview. Asia is home to 60% of the world’s population and youth and is inspiring radical creativity for global brands. As Cannes Lions is the ultimate global stage for celebrating creativity, we felt it was the perfect platform for unveiling our Study. Stay tuned for the full Asia download this autumn!”

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