When Melisa and Sharaad of Astro Awani’s Consider This show asked me about the brain drain in our industry, I suggested, “It’s more of a brain bleed!”
The number of talented Malaysians who are now shining on the world advertising stage do not live in Malaysia anymore. Not for some years now.
I see them at global shows like Cannes Lions and we catch up. But as I make my way back to KL after celebrating their wins along the French Riviera, I am saddened they are going back to New York, Beijing, Shanghai, even Singapore…
Once on a return flight home from Nice, I penned a long letter to Talent Corp and listed in detail where our “talents” have gone and what their current status were. I picked about 20 of our best home grown creative talent, but till this day I have yet to hear from them. Talent Corp, that is.
… They still think the creative economy is just stage arts, animation projects and music…
You see, as I narrated on Consider This creativity is key to the growth of the advertising industry. And in turn are the engines of a market economy.
But this understanding will never be grasped by policy makers who have yet to understand the concept of a creative economy.
They still think the creative economy is just stage arts, animation projects and music.
Before I get off this tantrum train, I declare that I am ready to sit with anyone of note on this subject to move the ball forward for Malaysia.
The pandemic is reminding us to focus our messaging and sharpen our thinking in a new age of realisation.
Stop, think and REALISE.
2021 will be about the truth mantra and to quote my favourite agency’s motto: Truth Well Told.
Meaningful connections must now have real meaning. Bullshit walks and superficiality runs. The infatuation with advertising as we knew it is over.
I am told TikTock and Instagram reels are making algorithm-aware users out of Gen Zers…someone, please save us!
Onto something lighter… the art of gifting during Christmas is not about the price of your present but the thought that went into the gift. It is personal and customised: two marketing truths that will dictate whether marketing succeeds or not.
The hard business lessons from the pandemic will also not just evaporate when we are “normalised” by the vaccine. Instead the lessons will remain as healthy scars reminding us that things never be the same….
I also hope 2021 is the year when the cumbersomeness of mobile marketing finally morphs into a real business tool.
Tripping on Tourism
The government boldly announced yesterday, “Our goal is to brand Malaysia as the Top of Mind Ecotourism Destination of the World.”
Assuming there’s a workable budget for this, and it will be a pitch, I predict the following scenarios unfolding based on my 30 years of observing Tourism Malaysia advertising pitches…
… Mysterious global experts and freshly minted Datuks will step forward to dispense world-changing ideas. In the past, one of them owned a three-man travel agency…
Since everyone says the government is the only one spending these days, officers sitting pretty in govt. advertising and promotions departments will now scale new heights of arrogance and worldly wisdom that will impress only themselves to no end.
Tenders will be called and received in lightning quick time, with agencies falling over each other to the glee of public officers.
Mysterious global experts and freshly minted Datuks will step forward to dispense world-changing ideas. In the past, one of them owned a three-man travel agency.
Instant middlemen following the food chain will pop out of nowhere offering super human skills in bridging the mediocre with the mediocre.
Everybody, including ex newspaper columnists (not me), will surface as credible contenders.
Agencies of all kinds and disciplines will reinvent themselves into bizarre new permutations to stay in the running.
Finally, are the decision makers qualified or wise enough to pick the right ideas that will make a difference?
Wisdom from the Seas…
As my fisherman friend in Dungun squats in the shallows at dawn break with rokok daun smoke hugging his face and the bliss of little waves slapping his ass, he settles down to the most important business of the day. Content after unloading his contents, he looks up and wonders, “Pitih tu lah.”
Excerpt from coming book “Tales of a Turbanned Stranger”…