Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4

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Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4

Laura Geagea (above right), managing director and executive producer at Sweetshop, China, Asia & MENA reports for Campaign Brief Asia from AdFest 2019.


As tradition dictates it, we all had a nice night out on Friday evening. Kicking off at Campaign Brief’s Sunset Drinks under the afternoon sun, we all trickled down into town for a party there hosted by Geek Films. The first part of the award ceremony also started on Friday evening showcasing winners from several categories.

Needless to say, not everyone felt very fresh on Saturday morning, but I managed to get myself over to Paul Kemp-Robertson’s ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’.

Kemp-Robertson took us through a quick 30-minute overview of his book, The Contagious Commandments: Ten Steps to Brand Bravery.
Some great concepts that you can’t help but share. All of them were in the name of unconventional creative solutions.

So here is the quick version:

Part 1: Lay the foundation.
Have an organizing principle, figure out why your business exists. This is different than a purpose. Examples of brands who have done this well are Patagonia & Domino’s Pizza in the US. Check out Paving for Pizza, Domino’s priceless idea of brand building.

Part 2: Work with your audience.
How do you get your audience to interact with you? You need to align with behavior. You want to make something that will make their lives easier. A great example of this is the Pedigree selfie stick campaign that drove a 24% increase in sales and got every dog owner’s attention.

Part 3: Stay agile, take risks, experiment.
Kemp-Robertson says confidently, “What got you here isn’t necessarily going to get you there”. Test and learn and if you fail just move on, don’t dwell. Because if you don’t innovate and experiment then it’s most likely not going to work.

Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4

The next two sessions took us behind the closed doors of the judging rooms during Adfest and showed some of the winners in different categories.

Ted Lim, CCO of Dentsu Singapore led the first one. David Guerrero from BBDO Guerrero Manila moderated the second one. I sat through the first session to hear what the Presidents’ of Juries had to say and to see some of the work. Ali Brown, Ali Rez, Kate Hyewon Oh and Natalie Lam took to the stage first alongside Lim.

Lim asked each President what they had been looking for while watching the work, did they find what they were looking for.

They then screened a couple of spots, Friendshit, Kplus, Greynj United, Bangkok, was up first. Ali Brown described this as “a masterpiece of directing. Everything from the talent, to the directing. to the wardrobe. It’s a perfect example where you can see the director’s mark in every single shot.”

Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4 Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4

The Director looked at every single component of the film and the film is very strong because of it. Brown ended with saying, “I’m jealous I wish I made it!”

Next up was Project Revoice, The ALS Association, from BWM Dentsu, Sydney. This takes us through the world’s first voice-cloning programme for people with ALS. Giving back the same voice to the patients that have lost it as part of the disease.

Natalie Lam said that there was no debate over this piece of work, the Jury was unanimous. They just kept coming back to it.

The big revolution for Lam was that in the past we accepted that once something bad happened we just had to live with it. It was fate and we learned to deal with it.

But now we can change that, the power of it is that its beyond advertising.

Petal Paint, Jat Paints from Leo Burnett Colombo & Leo Burnett Toronto is a beautiful piece of work that was presented next. A very simple idea, lots of flowers go to waste every day in the temples in Sri Lanka. It was about finding something they could do it with them. A small observation that turns into a big idea.

Ali Rez liked that there is a really good story behind this one, it’s real and its part of the lives and cultures of Sri Lanka. The flowers and petals are collected and processed and turned into paint.

The Jury also talked through Deep Learning Japan, Retrip, from Hakuhodo inc, Tokyo & Six In, Tokyo. This one didn’t score high on emotion, but it was very smart and won us over with its utility and practicality. Natalie Lam says in her Jury, Interactive was all about whether something gets used or not. If it isn’t something that people want to go and check out and potentially keep using, then the campaign doesn’t go far.

The last one was the highly entertaining short but Oh so intense, ‘Akuma no kimura (demonically spicy ramen)’, Chicken Ramen from Dentsu Inc Tokyo. A seriously amazing piece of work that threw the whole auditorium complete silence. Ali Brown said that it was entered in the animation category for Film Craft

One of the Jurors was an animator and gave a lot of insight to the hard work that would have been put into it. And of course, the usual challenge for the Craft Jury is to make sure you’re awarding the craft. It sounds simple in theory. But it’s always a bit tougher when you’re looking at a piece of work and breaking it down.

Ted Lim wrapped up the 50-minute panel by asking all four Presidents what they thought the region should do better, to which Natalie Lam says, “I think they’re doing pretty well actually.” Always a positive thing to hear for our region.

Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4 Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4 Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4

I then went off to get myself ready for Adfest’s After Party at Infini Pool.

On my way back, I stopped by Locomotive’s stand – a post-production house in Warsaw who were showing Warsaw Uprising, a VR film they worked on. Definitely reminding us of the Tomorrow Today theme of the festival. We always need to be looking to the future and to new technologies.

Thank you Adfest for yet another awesome run. Always a pleasure to be back at the Royal Cliff for a few days of learning in the sun. I’m looking forward to being back next year.

Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4 Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4 Laura Geagea’s AdFest Diary: Day 4