November 3, 2017


Spikes Asia, an annual festival that brings together the creative communications industry under one platform in order to network and exchange ideas. This year, once again, champions of Bangladesh YouthFest 2017 were leveraged by Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF) to participate in Spikes Asia. Bangladesh YouthFest is an initiative of BBF that aims to motivate innovation within the youth of our own country and exposing them to a platform like Spikes Asia will only cater their creative and innovative brain. Along with the winners of Bangladesh YouthFest 2017, the winning teams of Young Lions Competitions Bangladesh 2017, another initiative of BBF organized in association with Cannes Lions, were to participate in this year’s Spikes Asia, Festival of Creativity.

While the winning teams from YouthFest were to attend the knowledge sharing sessions/seminars in the Spikes Asia to enrich their overall experiences, the two winning teams from Young Lions Competitions Bangladesh 2017, were to participate in Spikes Asia’s Young Spikes Competition itself. In this competition, the two teams from Bangladesh made the whole country proud by bringing back two awards. The Bronze was bagged by Magnito Digital (Tasnim Noorin, Md Mahmudur Rahman), while Grey Dhaka (Farah Yasmin, Maisha Binte Siddiq), grabbed the Gold. Another notable mention goes to Ikigai Design Dhaka, another representative from Bangladesh who participated individually and won the Silver in Spikes Design.


Incepted in 2014, Bangladesh YouthFest is a big opportunity for young adults from all over the country to showcase their creative skills and talents. After magnificent domestic displays, the 5 champion teams earned themselves the chance to travel to Singapore to be part of Spikes Asia 2017. By doing so, they have been able to enrich their experiences at one of the most prestigious affairs of the continent.

Taking place at Suntec, Singapore, the event started on 27th September and spanned a total of 3 days, until the 29th. Always aiming to bring together many great critical thinkers from all over the word, the event had no lack of the finest brains there were to offer. The ceremony was graced by many prominent people, including the likes of Dentsu Inc’s Creative Director Noriaki Onoe, Artist Moon Ribas, and Islam ElDessouky, Head of Integrated Marketing Communications at Coca Cola Middle East, to name a few. The representatives from Bangladesh were able to listen to them talk and gather knowledge. Some key themes were prevalent throughout the event. For example, marketing, branding, advertising and public relations. Besides the seminars and workshops, there were also games and different activities to test the creative outlets of the spectators. Exhibitions of creative work from all over Asia adorned the event and several networking sessions made the 2017 edition of Spikes Asia bright and beautiful. As “Team Betelion”, one of the 5 champion teams from YouthFest ‘17 put it, “The 3-day-long festival opened our minds to new thoughts and ideas. It exposed us to other students from different places and expanded our world. The entire event was filled with immense happiness and an everlasting sense of positive thinking.” 

Our winners also made sure to explore the city and learn more about the culture of Singapore. They made sure to visit the landmarks that make the city famous. Starting from the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the wonderful Gardens by the Bay, to, far away destinations such as Sentosa Island, the S.E.A Aquarium and even Universal Studios. After all, there’s no limit of things to be done in Singapore.

Tousif Ibn Haque Chowdhury, a member of Team “Word of Mouth” described the event as “Awesome” and said that the best thing he has learned from his time at Spikes Asia was to find the problem one is passionate about, and work hard to solve it. All the participants had been grateful to Bangladesh Brand Forum and the other organizations who helped them realize their dreams and give them the chance of such an enthralling experience.


Coming to the participants of Young Spikes, the two teams Magnito Digital and Grey Dhaka, also documented similar stories of enjoyment and learning from their short, yet, worthwhile trip to Singapore. Both of the two groups were given a scenario by a charity or non-profit organization, and were tasked to come up with a feasible, sustainable and full-proof campaign in order to solve the problem in the scenario. The best campaign overall would win the competition. These scenarios were very difficult to tackle, and they were also real-life situations that were currently affecting the lives of many people. Hence, by coming up with a solution to each of these problems, not only were the contestants able to learn how to think critically in order to solve large-scale issues, but they actually helped improve the lives and living styles of people.

Team Magnito Digital and Team Grey Dhaka represented Bangladesh with pride, but it goes without saying, they were up against some stiff competition. The competition was also contested by 14 other agencies from renowned organizations such as Cheil Worldwide, Geometry Global, Leo Burnett, McCann, PHD Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi etc. from Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and more. Each of these teams had to create a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation summarizing their campaign, including full details about how it would be launched and executed, using at least three media channels (for example, Facebook, Instagram, Television.) The teams then were to present all this in front of a panel of expert judges taking no longer than 5 minutes of time.


Magnito Digital ended up winning Bronze in the Young Spikes Competition; in the Digital Campaign category, to be exact. And the scenario they were given to deal with was from Thailand. The current situation in Thailand happens to be that immigrant children are facing stigma at school. From their teachers, other parents and even their peers. While primary education has been made free to all children in the country, the rule also applies to immigrants. This system has been met with a lot of distaste by many of the local Thai people, who aren’t very open minded to new possibilities or welcoming new people. Raising the question “Why should my taxes pay for the education of people who don’t even belong in this country?” They believe that these immigrant children are a threat to the Thai-born children when they grow up and look for jobs. And because of this, the immigrant students are never welcomed in the school. Always under the pain of being bullied and falling victim to social out-casting, they cannot perform in school. Indeed, drop-out rates within Immigrants are very high.

The task given to Magnito Digital and the other contestants in this category was to come up with a campaign that would help solve or minimize this problem. So that immigrant and Thai students can all go to school and enjoy free education without having to face any sort of prejudice.

Since the category here was Digital Campaign, Magnito Digital decided to make the use of social networks in order to bring the youth of the country together. They came up with a campaign they called ‘Heroes of Thailand’, which was aimed at the millennials throughout the country. In this campaign, the millennials were key. The hashtags #HeroesOfThailand and #YouAreMyHero were to be made viral for quick initiation of this project and to raise awareness as well. The concept was that each millennial would take the responsibility of one immigrant child who was facing any sort of taboo going to school. There would be seminars for these millennials to attend, in which they would be taught to basically convince their school and other parents as to why immigrant students should be able to attend his/her classes without any fear of discrimination. In the process, becoming a “Hero” to an immigrant child. The campaign also showed how it is possible to partner up with the Thai tourist embassy in order to get funded for this project to take place, as well as partner with the Uber-like taxi service GrabTaxi and the convenience store chain 7-Eleven for support in this venture.


The other winning team at Spikes Asia’s Young Spikes was Grey Dhaka, who became the first team from Bangladesh to win Gold. They did so in the category of Integrated Campaign. The problem they were given to deal with was briefed by the NGO, Habitat for Humanity. This organization seeks to build, rehabilitate and repair simple, decent, affordable homes in sustainable communities. Habitat Young Leaders Build, or HYLB, is a movement of theirs where the youth take a stand to build homes and communities while speaking out for decent shelter and in the process, raise funds and awareness of the poverty housing situation. The task that Grey Dhaka were given was to design an integrated digital communications campaign for next year’s HYLB movement in order to reach certain goals like a target number of mainstream and social media impressions, a target number of registrations on their Facebook group and make the hashtag #HabitatYLB go trending across social media platforms and ultimately make the movement viral among the youth.

How Grey Dhaka team set out to make this campaign was interesting – they decided to stay in the area of health. Their brainstorming was that since today’s young crowd is all about health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, why not provide them with a fun and helpful way to do this? After some research, they found that one hour of shoveling dirt actually burns the same number of calories as an hour-long run! Therefore, they came up with a genius idea for the campaign, “Burn to Build” with an eventual target being the message spreading amongst the youth that helping to build homes for those who need it is as easy as burning calories.

They utilized platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to show in their campaign how they can be used to bring young people together, not just figuratively but literally as well. After much evaluation, the jury saw that Grey Dhaka got three things (on which the competing campaigns were judged on) absolutely perfect – research, idea and evaluation. They appreciated how the idea was so simple but so brilliant and loved the campaign design as a whole. Grey Dhaka struck Gold with this idea and this campaign is set to be launched by Habitat for Humanity soon.

Both teams Magnito Digital and Grey Dhaka also did not settle with just work. They journeyed around the city, checking out all the beautiful spots Singapore had to offer. One thing they noticed specifically was how the city was so clean and organized. According to Team Magnito Digital, they found that it was impossible to get lost in the city or even feel unsafe for a little while. They observed how even the smallest of businesses had their own branding and appreciated how friendly everyone was, including the taxi drivers. Quoting one half of the Magnito Team, Tasnim Noorin Brotee, “This trip to Singapore, although a short lived one, allowed us to start thinking bigger.”


The other team from Bangladesh was Ikigai Design Dhaka, who won the Silver for Design in the “Rebrand/Refresh of an Existing Brand” category. The product they entered in the competition was the previous year’s Bengal Classical Music Festival. Their concept was to visually showcase what happens to the soul when listening to classical music. They wanted to appeal to a much larger, global audience, not just the region of Bengal or South Asia. To do this, Ikigai developed a generative system which showed the statue of a musician (playing his instrument) unraveling and being illuminated in accord with 378 ragas, which are essentially building blocks of classical music. As each raga is tied to a specific time of day, the lighting of the statue reflected the different times of the day, and musical notes and interval sequences manipulated and unraveled the 3D figure spontaneously while staying in perfect synchronization.

This clever idea and brilliant execution was welcomed with a lot of praise. Not only from Bangladeshi locals, but also all over the world. This project allowed the organizers, Bengal Foundation, to take the annual event to a different height. With record attendances and spectacular reviews across international media, the event brought music lovers and classical music maestros together in one of the biggest shows of the world. In fact, Bengal Classical Music Festival became the largest classical music festival in the world! Thanks in a huge part to Ikigai Design Dhaka and their brilliant project.

All in all, it would be an understatement to say this year’s Spikes Asia event included some of the most impressive entries to date and of course, proved to be a massive success for the country of Bangladesh. With a prize in each of the Gold, Silver and Bronze sections, the representatives of the country, Grey Dhaka, Ikigai Design Dhaka and Magnito Digital, respectively, waved our flag high and mighty throughout the event and painted Singapore red and green.

As the participants themselves said, they would be now be looking to use the obtained skills and knowledge from the event to help make the country a better place. Not just by making things and products that will improve our state of living but also improve the mindset of our people. Critical thinking, along with creativity are two things that can’t be bought, they have to be acquired, and it is our duty to put such valuable skills to good use.

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