Terry Savage

Now in its fourth year, Spikes Asia (as a reborn entity from Campaign magazine’s own award), has matured nicely. It had a shaky start. Some will still remember being charged for coffee in the first year and the bare stage at the awards ceremony, but Terry Savage and his team have built this event into an important three days in the advertising calendar. The registration and back-end worked well. The coffee flowed all day and there were plenty of places to sit and network. The transition from speaker to speaker went seamlessly.

The event attracted 1,800 delegates from twenty seven countries. The entries to the awards numbered 4,860.

Because of renovations to Singapore’s Suntec Conference and Exhibition Centre everything – seminar, forums and exhibition – was all in one hall which did mean sounds spilling over. Indeed one speaker stopped his presentation to ask if the music could be turned down but to no avail. By next year, presumably this will not be a problem.

Rei Inamoto

The quality of speakers was excellent and there were a variety of topics to satisfy all delegates. As might have been expected, many presentations dwelled on the effect digital is having on creative and marketing ideas. Consumer involvement was discussed by several speakers. Story telling must be integral said some, while others suggested this approach was already on its way out. Rei Inamoto, Chief Creative Officer of AKQA, went as far as titling his talk “The Future of Advertising isn’t Advertising”, echoing the underlying feeling that our industry is undergoing seismic changes.

Several agency speakers felt advertising could use its power more frequently to encourage changes for the better in society and several examples were shown including the work by Lowe in Colombia with a Christmas campaign to entice the guerrillas to give up arms and return home for the festival.


Eugene Cheong, Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, who was one of the Jury President, gave a simple but effective list under The Eight Habits of Highly Creative People.

It might be worth listing them here:

(1) Courage

(2) Idealism

(3) Curiosity

(4) Playfulness

(5) Candour

(6) Intuition

(7) Free Spiritedness

(8) Persistence

He also mentioned “bravery”. A word that came up in presentations earlier from both agency and client speakers.

Eugene Cheong
Kentaro Kimura

Kentaro Kimura, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Executive Creative Director and Account Planner for Hakuhodo Kettle, pulled of a stunt that required some courage. In his “creative alchemy” presentation he held a dialogue with two white coated lab assistants appearing on a video. Superb timing by Kentaro and the AV assistants for Spikes made it work.

Three valuable days and, from conversation AdAsia had with delegates, they all seemed well satisfied. Some, of course, were rather hung over on the last day from the agency-hosted parties which are an enjoyable but wrecking feature of this event.

The Spikes Awards 2012

Title: Languages Agency: Y&R Malaysia

While the delegates enjoyed the three days, the judges had spent a long, hard week earlier looking at the entries for the Spikes Asia 202 awards.

There were some excellent pieces and one can witness how digital, mobile and activation have become major categories in shows such as Spikes. However, there was still some nice print work around – do look at the wonderfully illustrated Penguin book ads created in Malaysia by Y&R and the simple Volkswagen ads from DDB Sydney, Australia.

Title: Bikers-Police Agency: DDB Sydney, Australia

The winners can be seen on http://www.spikes.asia/winners/2012/

The Marina Bay Sands, currently the coolest venue in Singapore, staged the awards ceremony in its Grand Theatre. The bare stage mentioned earlier was, on 18th September this year, replaced by an imaginative, colourful, scaffolding-type of structure. A nice touch was the illumination by a coloured light of the trophies themselves, beckoning the ambitious young talent seated below.

Design Gold winner - DDB Group
Left to right: Tay Guan Hin, Regional Executive Creative Director of JWT Southeast Asia and Eugene Cheong, Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific.
Network of the Year - BBDO

All the major advertising cities in the region appear to have won something so there were happy faces all round and the celebrations continued in the Avalon nightclub afterwards.

While the awards are no doubt very important to those who win, the strength of Spikes is really in the seminar programme and the quality of the speakers. There are many award shows and AdFest competes for attention in Asia Pacific but Spikes offers much more than that fleeting moment of glory.

The Spikes have been smoothed and the show has matured nicely. All who attended will probably want to return in 2013.

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