Captivating high-tech Japanese work for whisky giant Suntory may also appeal to judges at this year's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity after sweeping regional awards this week at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival in Pattaya, Thailand, a resort town south of Bangkok.
In "3D on the Rocks" by TBWA Hakuhodo, Tokyo, a Suntory-made device allows consumers at selected bars in Japan—where whisky drinkers take their giant-sized ice cubes seriously—to select an image that is rendered into a 3D ice cube.
In a second Suntory campaign, called "Hibiki Glass," Suntory and Hakuhodo Inc., Tokyo, created the world's first interactive whisky glass by blending traditional Japanese design with innovative sensor technology reflecting the four seasons. ("Hibiki," which means "harmony" in Japanese, is one of the best- known blended whiskies in that market.) Interacting with the glass, by touching it, tilting, drinking, swirling the ice cubes creates experiences that represent different seasons and incorporate audio and visual effects. The glass projects images like cherry blossoms in the spring, and summer rain, with accompanying sounds, to convey the blending of the seasons.
Here are three other jury favorites from AdFest, as the festival is better known, that could follow up their Adfest Lotus awards with Cannes Lions trophies in June:
A hilarious spot by Tokyu Agency, Tokyu, called "Three Seconds Cooking Shrimp Flying Cannon" promotes Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo's high-speed internet service. In a laboratory-like kitchen, two women don goggles before demonstrating the explosive procedure for frying shrimp really fast, including shooting half a dozen out of a cannon.
In an online video called "I Hate Thailand" by Leo Burnett Group Thailand, Bangkok for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, a disgruntled foreign tourist who has been robbed finds his life transformed when he meets up with friendly locals.
"Gift Box" for The Salvation Army and Crown Relocations by Leo Burnett, Hong Kong, is a simple yet brilliant packaging execution that makes it easy for local residents to donate unwanted items when they move to a new home. When cardboard boxes are packed, the lids can be flipped to read either "Keep" or "Gift"; the "Gift" boxes are delivered straight to the Salvation Army, reducing waste and helping low income families.
This year, AdFest drew 3,295 entries, up slightly from 3,253 in 2014. Suntory was named Advertising of the Year, after winning multiple Lotus awards for "3D on the Rocks" like Best Use of Experiential, and "Hibiki Glass", including the Grande Lotus Roots winner. Apart from the winners, much of the work fell far below jury expectations.
Film and Radio President Bechara Mouzannar, chief creative officer for Leo Burnett, Middle East & North Africa, noted no top prize was awarded for the film category and said that creatives in Asia should focus on storytelling, rather than imitating dated western advertising ideas. "Having judged this category at AdFest last year, I feel the overall quality was a step backwards from last year," he said.
Normandy Madden is senior VP-content development, Asia/Pacific at Thoughtful Media Group, and Ad Age 's former Asia Editor. She was a judge on the branded content and media juries at AdFest.