AdFest Winners Highlight Asian Work to Watch for at Cannes

From Australia, Catch 'Mimeisthai' For TEDxSydney, and China Has Some Winners Too

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There are a few things delegates can rely on at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival, held this week in Pattaya, Thailand.

Mimeisthai at TEDxSydney
Mimeisthai at TEDxSydney

First, Japanese and Australian agencies will dominate the interactive category at the three-day festival known as AdFest. The Grande Lotus for interactive this year went to the Clemenger BBDO, Sydney installation Mimeisthai for TEDxSydney, but Dentsu and Hakuhodo picked up their share of awards as well.

AdFest, with 1,146 attendees from around Asia and 3,507 entries, up from 2,819 last year, is a good time to preview Asian work that may do well at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June.

"Mimeisthai" was a spoken-word machine inspired by the TEDxSydney event's theme "Real. Live. Now." It captured delegates' conversations and used an algorithm to bring them to life as graphic art on the main screen.

Second, one of the top winners will be a hilarious Australian beer ad. This year, that honor went to Carlton Draught for Beer Chase Beer Chase by Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne.

"[It's] a really good, really funny commercial where guys [who] have done a bank job are later in a bar with police, sizing each other up," said Grand Jury President Graham Fink, chief creative officer of Ogilvy China. "The guys start running down the street in classic car chase, but running, still holding pints."

Third, China is an up and coming player, with strong performers this year like Senior Rebels by DDB China Group, Beijing, a spot about not leaving the fun of owning a Volkswagen until too late in life. That won a Film Lotus silver. Shanghai is now the fourth city at AdFest by number of entries, following Tokyo, Mumbai and Bangkok.

Another AdFest winner that could do well at the Cannes Lions festival is the animated spot, "Dumb Ways to Die," for Metro Trains by McCann, Melbourne.

"This spot addresses a difficult area. Most agencies would go for the shock factor and show kids with horrific injuries, or maybe go the emotional route of friends and families who've lost loved ones," Mr. Fink said. "What they've done is come at [train safety] with a completely fresh angle. They created a song and made it quite funny using black humor. It's perfect for that target audience. It's notoriously difficult to get to young consumers with a public service ad."

The AdFest Agency of the Year award went to Taproot India, Mumbai, and Leo Burnett won Network Agency of the Year. Leo Burnett, Melbourne was also awarded the title Direct & Promo Agency of the Year, Hakuhodo, Tokyo was named Interactive Agency of the Year for the second year in a row, Film Production House of the Year was awarded to Illusion Co., Bangkok and the Advertiser of the Year award was Diageo.

Normandy Madden is senior VP-content development, Asia/Pacific at Thoughtful China, and Ad Age's former Asia Editor. She was also a jury member of the Effective Lotus category this year at AdFest.
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