Neil French and Harmandar Singh.

It was a rare treat for the advertising industry in Malaysia to be inspired and entertained by so many leading creative names. All the advertising men (and one woman) who took the stage have garnered many awards in their careers. The Creative AllStars event held at the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur on 22nd July 2014, was organised by Marketing magazine (the home-grown one) and Harmandar Singh, the publisher, should be proud to enticed such an esteemed bunch. Of course, for the older members of the audience, it was Neil French, the exWPP Global Creative Head, who was the star attraction. No doubt, he now has more young fans since his appearance there. Throughout the day the focus was on creativity. Over 280 delegates attended.

Ted Lim

Ted Lim, Chief Creative Officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia suggested that if locally the writers and art directors wanted to get into Cannes, which he has judged, they must be prepared not to just take a brief but make a brief. He added that the best ideas stemmed from human insights and that the team had to write and rewrite, draw and redraw, shoot and reshoot. There were no shortcuts.

Graham Kelly

Graham Kelly, Regional Executive Creative Director of Isobar, himself an experienced judge at many shows, gave the audience hints on how to win at Cannes. He named categories in which there was less competition. He also recommended that if one entered the same work for different categories, the entry video must be edited differently for each. He railed against clichés in the entry documents and the overuse of the word ‘storytelling’. He even saw ‘transmedia storytelling’ popping up.

Farrokh Madon

Farrokh Madon, who was the IAS Creative Director of the Year, spoke of the old days when award shows did not figure highly in the business. “In the whole Mad Men TV series, Don Draper, the top creative man, is seen only winning one award,” commented Madon. Then came a time when everyone wanted to win a Cannes Lion. And now it had to be a Grand Prix as all the new categories have made Lion awards quite common.

Ronald Ng

Ronald Ng, Chief Creative Officer of BBDO/Proximity Singapore, spoke of his career struggles and played down his creative talent. He puts his success down to working hard.

There were other speakers and panellists during the day, but they are too numerous to highlight. It was left to Neil French to close the show. As expected from such a super raconteur, he delighted the audience. After a day where many speakers highlighted the recent Cannes awards, French did not hesitate to slam the event. It was, he said a money making machine and these days full of clients instead of agency creatives. One never knows how serious French is in his provocative statements, but you can judge for yourself because next month ‘Marketing’ will have the video up on its website.

Neil French
Panel Discussion
Allein Moore, International Editor of AdAsia.
Panel Discussion