#MarketingExcellenceAwards spills: antics@play on being brand-led and play-inspired

The year 2020 marks antics@play’s 11th year in the business and it has ended it strong by bagging two awards at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Marketing Excellence Awards 2020: the silver award in Excellence in Sponsorship Activation for UnionPay International, and bronze award in Excellence in Launch/Relaunch Marketing for Grid Mobile (Grid Communications).

Believing that fun marketing makes for impactful marketing, the agency focuses on being brand-led, play-inspired and experience-driven. In an interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Winnie Pua, managing director at antics@play, said the team believes this method of exploration, discovery and creative ideation delivers marketing results and charts new grounds for both its clients and the team.

Pua added that antics@play is made up of a team of adventurous and knowledge-driven creatives and consultants, who are excited about sharing knowledge and inspiring clients, supporting clients from boardrooms to marketplaces. "We are extremely grateful to our clients UnionPay International and Grid Communications for trusting us with their brands and campaigns," she said.

What are some of the expectations your clients now have for your brand?

Pua: Increasingly, clients are engaging us more for marketing planning, brand relevance building, trends leverage and other experimental marketing.

Beyond campaigns, we are helping CMOs build plans, justifications, ideas for the boardroom. We are expected to support with data, case studies benchmarks, KPIs, and more for maximum buy-in. It is common for us to support with executive ideation and planning workshops.

Clients want us to help discover changing norms of customers, whether they are B2B or B2C, and explore how we can establish common ideals between our clients’ brands and their customers. Clients want consultancy, advisory, mutual learning and knowledge sharing.

Clients have other teams such as in-house or more production-driven agencies to support them on more straightforward or heavy-duty executions.

How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?

Pua: 2020 has seen its share of projects being placed on hold and delays to campaigns.

Maybe due to this extra time to stop and calibrate, or maybe due to this common global humanitarian crisis, we see a shift to humanization – messages and communication styles that are more empathetic, more supportive of social good. Beyond business KPIs, marketing looks to support social KPIs too.

This questioning of social responsibilities of brands by customers prove that brands, now more than ever, must communicate the value they create in terms of social good too.

How to communicate this meaningfully, to relate and inspire consumers have been exciting. The planning of human experiences (HX) and social impact have both inspired and touched us.

What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?

Pua: In the post-pandemic world, communications need to speak to the heart rather than heart. So customer insights in terms of decoding customer values will be important, whether B2C or B2B. Emotive advertising will continue to achieve greater impact.

Being brand-led, antics@play has always leaned unto research to test proof strategies and work. We intend to strengthen this further with research methodologies that are quicker or even real-time, enabling agility and adopting best practices of design thinking.

With home environment as a focus in the post-pandemic world, we will consider activities and experiences while at home. New platforms and mediums and content consumption habits will influence and drive more diverse forms of content and formats.

The antics@play team regularly shares our opinions and knowledge via antics blog; Here, we share more anticipated post-pandemic insights including marketing for social impact.

Strong partnerships with our digital and production partners have always been key to our success. We expect increased frequency of partnerships, especially in testing out new tools and formats.

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Pua: Great marketing should go beyond delivering KPIs. It should break new grounds, inspire and if I may, impact people and lives.

With changing customer needs, and technology and data as enablers, there is huge room for brands to innovate their marketing. Many clients secure experimental marketing budgets, and we co-plan areas their brands want to experiment with in 2021. From planning, implementing, tracking … these trials often yield exciting breakthrough for our clients.

The art of brand storytelling will continue to be important, as brands evolve and relate to changing habits and eras of consumers.

Besides delivering business KPIs, social KPIs and impact, excellent HX( human experience) are also ambitions marketing should aspire to.

How are you planning for 2021?

Pua: Besides agency’s 2021 planning, we have also conducted planning workshops with clients for 2021. On our radar, we are cognizant that;

  • CMOs in boardrooms continue to require data-backed marketing
  • Beyond marketing effectiveness, customers are looking forward to strong aesthetics
  • Social KPIs are just as important as business KPIs
  • Agency-client relationship will become more strategic and less on execution

Our key theme for 2021 would be innovation, on methodologies, our services as well as ideas and executions. Beyond effective and kick-ass marketing, we aim to touch hearts and evolve society. Yes, looking forward to another exciting year!