October 24, 2018

Now in its 33rd year, ‘Spikes Asia – Festival of Creativity’ is Asia’s biggest festival and award for the creative and marketing communications, entertainment, design and tech industries. The festival provides the region’s growing marketing communications industry a 3 day platform to learn, network and exchange ideas; it brings together some of the finest creative thinkers from across the region and around the world.

Every year, people from across the APAC region with leading-edge global ideas and creative perspectives come together in Spikes Asia. Asia’s leading thinkers and pioneers come to the festival to commemorate cultural diversity and bring splendid change in Asia. This year the festival took place on 26-28 September in Suntec City, Singapore. Over three days, more than 100 speakers brought their unique perspectives to the stage, from global industry legends such as Wendy Clark to Singapore’s home grown heroes such as Sam Lo.

Bangladesh Brand Forum, the local representative and one of the media supporters of Spikes Asia has been sending delegates to the festival for last few years. Alike last couple of years, delegates included winners of Young Lions & Young Marketers Competitions this year. Young Marketers received an exclusive training from Young Marketers Academy at Spikes, whereas the Young Lions Competition winners participated in the Young Spikes Creative Competition. However, the Bangladeshi crowd in the festival this year was quite bigger than ever. A good number of representatives of different agencies, who submitted their works for awards, visited the festival, along with many more creative professionals.

The following parts of this story will share a glimpse into the festival, with excerpts from the sessions, experience of the delegates, and story of the winning works. 


The festival was action-packed to say the least. The highlights of the festival were the seminars that resonated with what matters in Asia Pacific and brings together the elements that make the region so exciting and so unique. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from some of the most innovative, revolutionary and disruptive minds from Asia Pacific. They took deep dives into the hottest topics and biggest challenges facing the industry right now. Over 80 content sessions took place simultaneously across the 3 days and five stages.

Sessions of the In-Focus Stage tackled practical industry challenges and presented workable solutions for everyday issues, looking at everything from new agency models to the role of data and tech in communications. The audiences were offered with high value content and featured clear take-away learnings that can be implemented in their own creative work. Following are some of the glimpses of the thought-provoking topics.

HP, PHD and DataXu: Converting Offline Sales Lists into Digitally Primed and Qualified Leads

The session was taken by Todd Martin, Digtial & Media Marketing Director, APAC & Japan, HP; Vinitra Chaudhuri, Business Director, PHD Media; James Samson, VP and General Manager – APAC, DataXu. The session revealed how a technology company, a media agency and a data partner collaborated in new ways to convert an offline corporate sales list into digitally primed and qualified leads.

BBDO Singapore and Visa AP: Leadership Against Creativity

Conducted by Samantha Kennedy, Regional Director, BBDO Singapore and Freddie Covington, SVP, Marketing & Cross Border, Asia Pacific, the session talked about clients’ business success and

the role of agencies in it. Moreover, how leadership helps facing clients’ challenges and removes the barrier in creativity have also been focused.

Isobar Asia Pacific: Why ‘New & Different’ is Better than ‘Better’

Sandipan Roy, Chief Strategy Officer, Isobar Asia Pacific, conducted this insightful session about digital disruption, innovations of businesses and brands and the key principles around pioneering change.

Established experts from within the creative community, and those beyond, gathered in the sessions of Inspiration Stage. They shared career insights, lessons learned, creative processes and words of advice for moving the industry forward. It was also the place to discover new ideas, new ways of thinking and new approaches to driving creativity and creative communications. Following are the insights of some key sessions at the Inspiration Stage.

DDB WORLDWIDE: How Bravery, Belief & Being Underestimated Fuels Brands, Agencies, Careers

In this session, Wendy Clark, CEO, DDB Worldwide focused on how the three B’s have been helpful for her career, her agency and brand clients- Bravery, Belief and Being underestimated. She shared her views on what having impact means for brands, what the agency of tomorrow would look like and the secret to a successful career in advertising. She drew out some examples regarding these 3 B’s.

Bravery – She mentioned Stayfree’s #ProjectFreePeriod initiative for women in India’s sex trade conceptualized by DDB Mudra. This was a brand braved stigma around prostitution to help train sex workers on their period days, their only days free from work. “We cannot afford to accept the status quo,” said Clark.

Being underestimated – “Use being underestimated as fuel. In those moments it’s game on!” said Clark, on the support of McDonald’s flipping its iconic golden arches into a W in recognition of International Women’s.

Belief – She talked about Marmite Gene Project campaign that allowed haters to bash the product and the lovers to laud it.

Digitas: Tear Down the Wall (Between Creative & Content)

Scott Donation, Global Chief Creative & Content Officer at Digitas spoke about tearing down the wall that separates ‘content’ & ‘creative’, difference between an agency with a creative department a creative agency.

Havas and The Annex: What Brands Can Learn from Street Culture

The effect of street culture in the contemporary culture and the ways of brand to deal with the result were the key focuses in this session. Sam Lo, street artist & creative director, Projet XIV said, “If you stay authentic, if you stay real about the brand itself you can communicate and actually relate to the community you create for.”

“I think there’s such a thing as bad press. I think when your core audience falls off, you need to reevaluate. You need to step forward and be responsible and own that,” said Brandon Breaux, The Annex (Chicago) on Kanye West’s outrageous statements.

Through Futures Hub stage, attendees got to immerse themselves in live demos of cutting-edge technologies and heard talks about AI, AR and VR used in devices and services reshaping the industry. One of the out-of-the-box talks was by –

Pencil Technologies: Collaborating with a Creative AI

Sumukh Avadhani, Co-Founder & CTO, Pencil Technologies; Will Hanschell, Co-Founder & CEO, Pencil Technologies presented a vision of how AIs may very well liberate, not destroy, the creativity of the industry in this session. They also spoke about the possibility of human-AI collaboration and much more.

However, the Spotlight Stage celebrated new concepts and bold ideas born of individual markets within the region. Topics included local culture and design, understanding consumer behavior, APAC innovations and the evolution.

The Makers Lab stage brought the ‘how-to’ ideas to overcome challenges in being creative. However, the following light-hearted session entwined a talk and a workshop together.

Superunion (Workshop): The Unmysterious World of Ideas. The Truth About Creativity

The talk worked on removing the mythology – deconstructing the mirrors and blowing away the smoke that surrounds ideas. Moreover, the workshop put the theory into practice. It focused on the most valuable currency of a business – ‘ideas’.


The 33rd Spikes Asia awards received 4056 entries from 26 countries, in 21 award categories. 98 industry leaders from around the region rendezvoused in Singapore to judge the entries and award the work which set the benchmark for the coming year.

For the first time the Awards were subject to independent assurance by PwC, further reinforcing the high standards and rigorous processes that each submitted piece of work must pass through before being recognized as a Spikes Award.

‘Palau pledge’, won a staggering five Spikes Grand Prix awards, in the categories of Design, Direct, Integrated, Media and PR. On a country basis, Australia bagged 92 awards with Japan trailing with 67 and India with 45.

In the special award categories, Media Network of the Year to UM, Network of the Year went to BBDO Worldwide, Asia Pacific Agency of the Year to Host/Havas Sydney, Independent Agency of the Year went to Cummins&Partners Sydney and the Spikes Plam to Revolver/Will O’Rourke Australia.

Following are some of the noteworthy Grand Prix winning works. In accordance with category name(s) in the beginning.

Brand Experience & Activation – ‘Fight for Territory’ by DDB New Zealand

Creative Effectiveness – ‘The Billion Point Giveaway’ by CHE Proximity, Melbourne, Australia

Design, Direct, Integrated, Media, PR – ‘Palau Pledge’ by Host/Havas, Sydney, Australia

Digital – ‘SelfieSTIX’, for Mars New Zealand, by Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand

Digital Craft – ‘Obsession for Smoothness’ by Six Inc Tokyo/Spa Hakuhodo.CO. LTD.

Entertainment, Film – ‘Friendshit’ for Kasikornbank PCL by GREYnJ UNITED, Bangkok, Thailand

Glass – ‘Sindoor Khela – No Conditions Apply’ by FCBULKA, Gurgaon, India

Innovation – ‘Project Revoice’ by BWM Dentsu, Sydney, Australia

Mobile – ‘We Remit’  by Tencent

Music – #GiveABeat – A Song for Heart Disease Driven by the Percussion of Heartbeats’ by Propaganda India, Bangalore

The Grand Prix for Good was presented to ‘Stop the Horror’ for Go Gentle Australia by Revolver/Will O’Rourke, Sydney/Cummins&Partners, Sydney, Australia.

The Advertiser of the Year was presented to McDonald’s, with Nick Rodd, Marketing & Menu Lead, McDonald’s Asia Business Unit, present to accept the Award.


As mentioned in the beginning of this story, a good number of delegates from Bangladesh attended the creative festival. Of them, many were professionals from the agencies which submitted works. Only one work was shortlisted this year namely BATTLEBOXBD17 by Beatbox Bangladesh & the POD. Unfortunately, it did not make it to the crest.

Four winners of Young Marketers Competition Bangladesh participated in the exclusive training by Young Marketers Academy. They learned from some of the best marketing trainers, over three days.

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