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The Futurist: Create acts, not just ads

At Leo Burnett, we believe that it is only by gaining a deep understanding of people – how they think, feel and behave, and why they do so – that we can truly design creativity that engages with people and helps brands play more meaningful roles with a purpose in people’s lives.

Evidence of the effectiveness of HumanKind among our clients’ brands is abundant in Leo Burnett’s multiple wins across all categories, year after year, with: Malaysian Creative Agency of the Year (AOY), Malaysian Digital AOY, Southeast Asia PR AOY, and silver for the inaugural Southeast Asia Specialist AOY at the Campaign Asia Agency of the Year 2014 awards.

Moreover, Leo Burnett Malaysia also won the Overall AOY, Brand Consultancy of the Year, Creative AOY, Digital AOY, Direct Marketing AOY, Event Marketing AOY, PR AOY, Mobile Marketing AOY and silver for Social Media AOY at  A + M’s Marketing Agency of the Year Awards consecutively in 2014 and 2015.

Among the many initiatives, Leo Burnett Worldwide’s Cannes Predictions was created in 1987 with the aim to raise the level of creativity of its people. This prediction has a 84% accuracy in identifying the winners year after year, and is a good barometer and indication of the trends for the industry in 2015 for the years ahead.

Brands are making the world a safer place

Brands seize the opportunity to couple creativity and cutting-edge tech to serve a higher human purpose. For example, Samsung changed the way people drive with “safety trucks” where a wireless camera was built into the front of a truck, which then transmitted a view of the road to a video wall of four monitors at the rear of the vehicle, helping drivers behind the truck see what hazards may lay ahead.

Screens on steroids

The proliferation of screens demand more content from marketers and challenges them to develop new ways to connect with audiences. This year’s submission demonstrated high levels of interactivity that set the path for two-way screens of the future. Honda’s “The Other Side” transformed the passive activity of watching YouTube into an engaging experience. During the course of the film, viewers discovered that pressing the R key would reveal a hidden narrative beneath the surface. This campaign deftly conveyed the dual personalities of the car.

Stories, not storytelling

This year, we saw a host of fascinating stories, beautifully told. People love stories that are intriguing, captivating and charming. John Lewis’ “Monty the Penguin” captured the imagination of the nation with amplification and activation.

Shattering stereotypes

Marketing is widely acknowledged to have the power to shape culture. Marketing also brings forth recognition of social issues such as gender inequality or prejudice. Procter & Gamble’s #LikeAGirl ignited a cultural movement, and ultimately, boosted self-confidence in girls everywhere.

Lightning in a bucket

The summer of 2014 witnessed a global social behaviour phenomenon with the simple act of pouring a bucket of ice water on one’s head and challenging friends and family to do the same. It grew to be one of the biggest movements the internet has ever seen. The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” successfully raised $220 million for ALS research with more than 17 million videos generated.

The writer is Tan Kien Eng, chief executive officer, Leo Burnett Group Malaysia.

Read our Futurist column here.


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