Last week saw CR stage our first event in Asia – Click Singapore, which brought together speakers from China, Japan, the UK and the host country to discuss the future of digital creativity
Staged at Dempsey House – part of what was once a British Army barracks but that is now a complex of restaurants, bars and shops – Click was a one-day conference covering all aspects of online advertising.
Probably the most hotly debated issue of the day was how to sell digital work to clients, with our audience anxious to hear the advice from our international speakers. Their answer? That for a client to buy digital work requires a great deal of faith and trust. They may be used to a world where they can buy a guaranteed audience of x million for a TV spot at an alloted time – digital work often requires the audience to come to it. If it’s good enough, people will want to view it, but, although agencies can help via PR, seeding and so on, an audience cannot be guaranteed in the same way that it can on TV or in the press. Secondly, you are dealing with technology that often has to be built first before a client can get a true idea of what it looks and feels like. Tom Sacchi of Unit 9 explained how they draw up schematics and simple animations to show clients each step in the process, but even this requires a leap of faith to truly ‘get’ what the final work will be like.
From left to right: CR editor Patrick Burgoyne, Daryl Arnold of Profero, Benjy Choo of Kilo Studio, Mateo Eaton of Mindshare SIngapore, Nicolas Roope of Poke and Tom Sacchi of Unit9 discuss the problems of selling digital work
Sacchi also stressed that “people think digital is quick and cheap – it’s neither”. He stressed that it takes “small steps” to sell innovative digital work to clients, so that trust builds cumulatively. Nic Roope of Poke reinforced this, stressing that Poke’s work for Orange was only possible because it had been working with the client for some time, pushing things a little further with each project.
With the day interspersing individual presentations with panel discussions there were plenty of other discussion points – on education, on ex-pat versus local talent and also on the future for digital agencies. Here, the prevailing view seemed to be that so-called ‘traditional’ agencies will continue to develop digital capabilities while specialist digital shops will continue to benefit from their ability to innovate and lead technological development. Those looking vulnerable, our panel thought, may be the digital arms of traditional agency networks who are finding themselves squeezed between the main agency on one side and the small digital specialist on the other. All were also agreed that ‘digital’ agencies will no longer need to describe themselves as such – they will just be agencies. Daryl Arnold of Profero’s take was that his agency is positioning itself as an organisation that uses technology to help businesses solve their problems – so this may or not involve any visual communications.
In Nic Roope’s presentation, he showed a piece developed by Poke for the Design Museum’s Super Contemporary show charting just how much change there has been on the digital scene in London
Roope (above) also showed BakerTweet, a very nifty device installed by Poke at the Albion bakery across the road from its offices. As the below film explains, BakerTweet is a wall-mounted box that sends a message to Albion’s Twitter followers, alerting them each time a fresh batch of croissants, rolls or whatever emerges from the oven
One of the other more intriguing presentations came from Daryl Arnold, Profero’s global CEO. He talked about Factory, the centre for young creatives that the agency has recently opened in Shanghai (and which we alluded to here). Factory has a restaurant, event space, recording studio, digital studio and pop-up retail space, housed on the ground floor of Profero’s Shanghai building.
They offer young creatives in Shanghai the chance to come in and collaborate with one another using Factory’s equipment. They also bring in visitng VIPs such as Jimmy Choo and Quincy Jones to speak to and work with the young talent.
However, Arnold revealed that it has not been as easy as you may think to attract people to the space. Thanks to the one child per family rule, he claimed, young people in Shanghai have grown up with a huge sense of entitlement and, in some cases, expect opportuitites to be handed to them rather than having to strive for success. As an example, he revealed that Factory had set up one young musician with the chance to work with Quincy Jones in their recording studio one evening. She didn’t show up, explaining that she had deciced to have dinner with friends instead.
For more on Factory’s activities, check out the website here
We had some great feedback from the day and hope to return to SIngapore next year for a bigger and even better event. Next stop, Click New York on October 1 (info here).
Also, at Click SIngapore, Mattias Hansson of HyperIsland talked about how the school’s unique approach delivers such great results
Droga5 Sydney’s Sudeep Gohil explained how the agency comes up with its ideas
Morihiro Harano, Creative Director of Drill Inc in Tokyo
With CR’s Patrick Burgoyne, Johan Vakidis, Executive Creative Director, AKQA (China), Dirk Eschenbacher, Executive Creative Director/Managing Partner Asia Pacific, Tribal DDB and Richard Bleasdale, Regional CEO Asia Pacific, Iris Nation
Thanks to all our speakers (complete list here) and to everyone who came along. Thanks also to Yong Ping Loo for the photos. See you next year