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Is advertising in Hong Kong a dying industry?

Packed with around 400 industry executives, last night’s HK2A Annual Dinner 2013 at Harbour Grand Hong Kong taught us some invaluable lessons on advertising.

From the past to future forecast, some local advertising veterans were invited to share views on the ever-changing advertising industry in Hong Kong. And the views were many and varied.

Jeffery Yu, CEO of Publicis Greater China, said good advertising should not focus only on involvement and engagement, but should also be able to reflect the insights of the era.

“A good insight is crucial to good advertising,” he said.

“Those insights may come from account service or clients, and the advertising must be able to show its understanding of how that era was being shaped.”

“In all the years working in the industry, one thing I found most interesting is when the society is changing, it also provides the biggest opportunities for us to make good advertising.”

He picked HSBC’s TV commercial in 1994, “The fisherman”, as the best example.

“It was the age near the handover to mainland China. The insight is simply that Hong Kongers are unbeatable.”

For Kitty Lun, chairman and CEO of LOWE China, it was the ICAC TVc series which best represent the zeitgeist.

“Fifteen years ago ICAC was looking for something educational,like the apple-themed TVC back in 1982.”

“But 15 years after they started to look for something less preaching instead. That was during the time when audiences love watching gangster movies, so the TVC also brought in some gangster background to resonate with youngsters.”

Back to the present, Iris Lo, MD and ECD of DraftFCB Hong Kong, described the ad world of today as the “age of integration and creativity”.

“A good TVC is no longer sufficient as it’s a whole new world of digital now. Micro-movie, for instance, is believable to be staying on trend in the future.”

She cited Canon’s campaign “Photo Kidictionary” as example.

“This campaign tells us the fact that next generation will be the age of creativity, where more innovations and channels are needed.”

“Hong Kong, however, is in lack of creativity, lagging behind the mainland China even Taiwan,” she added.

Asked if advertising in Hong Kong was dead and being replaced by PR, digital, celebrity endorsement and customer experience, Lun said this is not a new subject but she remains optimistic.

“Advertising might be getting less important and the market pie slices would be thinner. But as we are looking beyond advertising to content, I believe with some insightful strategies and creativities, advertising in Hong Kong will not die in the foreseeable future.”

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