Interview: Kidlat juror Tay Guan Hin on Philippine creativity

JWT Asia’s Pacific regional executive creative director Tay
Guan Hin is no stranger to Philippine shores. With his
exceptional creative reputation and willingness to teach
and share (even with clients), he’s quickly growing his own
fan club in Manila.

This March, he’ll visit Boracay—and judge the Kidlat
Awards—for the first time, before preparing for his next
stint as the president of the Outdoor Lions in Cannes.
Because he’s in such high demand, Adobo spoke to him
and asked him to start sharing.

You’ve worked closely with Philippine creatives. What have
you learned about the way they approach brand challenges?


Quite often than not, we all approach briefs the same way. Question
the truth; investigate consumer’s insight, and hopefully come up with a
creative brand solution that’s fresh in your country.

However, the work is judged globally because of the phenomenal
spread of social media. This effectively raises the expectation of good
work, no matter which country it comes from. Instead of solving a
marketing issue, it’s better to give consumers a new experience. An experience which
allows them to play with your idea. This experience usually creates
an emotional bond that ultimately builds more affinity to your
client’s brand.

Aside from radio, what other categories can the Philippines

Never underestimate Print. Philippines still does some good print and
poster work which they can own.

Outdoor is one of the few media that also has tons of potential.
Perhaps it’s good to focus on a category that gives you the best
chance of winning. Instead of improving the work, a better strategy
is to enter work in the right category which stands a better chance.
If you have one particularly strong piece of creative that could fit
across a number of categories, how you package the same work to
address different requirements will definitely increase your strike

Which Asian countries should we watch for in 2010?

It’s good to be aware of which countries are doing well. But it’s
equally important to watch out for countries that has the potential
to explode. Lately, good pockets of work seem to be coming from
Indonesia and Vietnam. Before we compare each country’s creative
output based on award shows, it important to understand why they were
so successful in the first place.

The strongest creative work coming out of each country largely
originates from their own culture. For example. Bruce Lee from Nokia
in Beijing. This work could not have come from any other country as
it taps on the well-know Chinese personality and therefore was
relevant to the market.

During the recession, award shows sold themselves as
celebrations of creativity that works. What do you think of
Kidlat being unabashedly “pure creativity”?

I think it’s a refreshing change and fantastic that Kidlat
can hold its ground and not give in to what’s happening in the
world. It also acts as a source of pure inspiration which the
creative community so desperately needs. We are so caught up with the
complexity of each job that we sometimes forget why we did it in the
first place. Focusing purely on creativity allows the jury the
freedom to judge on one aspect.

Personally, different judges come with different expectations.
Effectiveness and creativity can conjure huge debate, and if we don’t
have the proper facts on the table at the time of judging, it’s
impossible to make a call.

After the judging at Kidlat, what do you look forward to doing
in Boracay?

First trip to Boracay. Heard it’s beautiful. Can’t wait to hit the beach.


To get a chance to chat Tay Guan Hin up in person, come to the Kidlat Awards in Boracay, from April 12-14, 2010.



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