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Thursday, 27 October 2011

We have Young Lions on the loose!

Roaaaaarrrrrrrrr! We’re excited to announce that our very own Nhung Nguyen and Minh Le, copy and art respectively, have been selected as one of five teams from a field of 30 to compete in the Vietnam Young Lions Film competition held on Nov 11, 12, 13. The winning team will be named Dec 9 and will represent Vietnam in the Cannes Young Lions Competition in France, June 2012, fully sponsored by Sun Flower Media.

From left to right, Minh Le and Nhung Nguyen

We’re cheering for them and know they’ll make TBWA and Vietnam very proud.

Good luck guys!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My Spikes Adventure

After returning from Spikes a few weeks back, I’ve finally had time to digest everything I learned and experienced which I’d like to share with you.

Generally, attending Spikes was well beyond my expectations in terms of quality and quantity: lots of great work, awesome ads guys, big parties (with weird but good music) and all beautiful memories about the local (a bit disciplined) people. All give me huge happiness for the very first time going abroad.  

#1: It's all about creativity

Never think of an idea as a thing in TVC, print ads and outdoor. If the client doesn’t buy it, it will be put the locker forever. Spikes proves that I am totally wrong. Having a chance to see the great ideas, listening to the experts real stories of the impact of the ideas, I am opened my mind and believe that creativity has the power to transform human’s behavior. One of the examples comes from Todd Thompson, CEO, Leo Burnett Australia. The idea starts with a group of normal people in Sydney wondering if we can turn off the lights for 1 hour and save the earth from global warming. Amazingly, all people are so willing to do it. At that night, lights around Sydney are off. Then, many blue chips companies and people around the world get involved. Later, the event of turning off lights for 1 hour is called Earth Hour. Again, the idea doesn’t have to be just in the TV, the press or some corner of the street. It should come to people’s real life, do something to make their life better. In Vietnam, I heard lots of comments and talks about the great ideas in TV, magazines or those of some real events. But the ideas are still too nice to be remembered or talked about. Advertising is still a separate part of life. Ideas are still in the paper and only come to life if the client nods their head. From now on, whenever I think of ideas, I keep telling myself: “Do something that moves people’s asses”. Look! One third of 80 million people in this country are under 30. Every chic wants to sacrifice the community values to express themselves, to live their lives in its true meaning. The country is more open than ever before. As creatives, we must wake up, go ahead to give our audience, our people the thing they never think they ever want.

#2: Time to open up

After introducing myself, everybody at Spikes asks me how Vietnam is doing. In the first 10 seconds, I feel so proud of it. I keep talking about the openness of people’s minds, meaning more chances for creativity, the economic growth, the friendly local people. But at the 12th second, as I am asked about the local advertising, I honestly don’t know what to say.
I and many ad guys believe that we can do more. We shouldn’t blame the conservative clients or the young market or the audience’s education. Look at the award-winning idea by Cheil Korea for Tesco- putting the shopping store into the train, making people shopping there and having the goods delivered when they come home. We should wake up. We should beat the fear inside ourselves. It’s time to face the fear of failure that asks us to give up before trying, of looking bad in front of others if you propose something new, or the fear of escaping from our comfort zone to something different.
But I won’t be pessimistic. Ogilvy and JWT Vietnam win a bronze for craft at Spikes this year. The names of some local guys are in the credentials. Am I gonna see some sparkling stars in the next 10 years? When will we have some legend from Vietnam? Is there any other way to boost the industry up? Yes, we need time. Yes, we are just growing up for about a decade. But it shouldn’t be an excuse to be not open up, embrace as much as we can. Let’s rock.

#3: Awesome people

When I write this, the first thing comes into my mind is the young guys from TBWA Hong Kong. I guess all of them are under 30 but most have a “director” or “manager” in their title. As we first meet, they just smile and say hello. But when I say Patrick is my ECD, all compliment on him and give me a warmer welcome. One cool guy with the curly long hair, always wearing a striped hat gives me his number, wakes me up every morning, takes me to the party every nite and gets me back to the hotel (just that! Hahah). He is a pro hip hop dancer who show me some fantastic move in the club but had his face turn red when I was about to film him wandering around the river.
For the first days joining in TBWA, Patrick and George kept talking about how strong our network is. And when I went to Singapore for Spikes, it is really happening. I was taken to the Singapore office, listened to Laurie Coots, Chief Marketing Officer, TBWA\Chiat Day from New York to update what is happening in the network and how to keep more updated from now on. Then we walked around the office after stepping into the old lift that broke down within 5s. It’s also lovely to talk to the 2 creative guys in the office and had a quick chat about their work. Well, the truth is there are much more pressure and energy and great work coming out from TBWA Singapore.
The last and the most impressive guy I met on the 2nd day of the trip is Thirasak Tanapatanakul, Chief Creative Officer, Creative Juice Thailand (TBWA). Although some guys in my office talk about Creative Juice in Thailand, I’m still surprised at the first time seeing him. How can such a talented guy be that nice and friendly and authentic? He’s not trying to be cool or talking about big things at all but still amazes you by every of his joke. Dressing normally, talking with a medium volume, listening rather than being dominant in the conversation, being helpful and caring about others are the characteristics I never expect from such a big guy. Just some days ago, I saw his name in the top ranking creatives in THE WORK 2010 book and look up his work again. But when we talk at the network dinner, he humbly tells me to observe the stupid things in the country and make fun of it. That’s how the Thai ads are loved and laughed by the whole world. In the night of the award ceremony, when he comes to the stage to get a Gold for Design for Tamiya Models (a wall calendar that every month can be turned into a different model) he holds up an A4 paper to say “sharing the honor with the whole design team”. That makes the whole hall laugh out loud and give him a bigger hand ever. I have got my plan to go to AdFest next year and get a drop by Creative Juice. Surely, I will see more great things from that office.

By luck and efforts, I got to be a part of TBWA, where there have been so many rewarding firsts for a young creative. From the first real shooting, the first time of getting so much support from the team and your boss (trust me, you will hardly find it in any other agency around town) to the first time going abroad and joining in a big advertising festival, all will stay in my mind and creates a firm foundation for my further steps. I would like to thank Patrick for his strong support. Without him, nothing will happen and I won’t be shaped as I am now.

Nhung Nguyen - copywriter