4As Philippines hosts forum on value of winning a Lion and how creativity can impact business

The Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As) of the Philippines recently hosted a special forum on the value of winning a Cannes Lions award, what it takes to win, and how creativity impacts business performance, held last March 8 at the Ayala Museum in Makati City.

Shown in the photo are (from L-R) Reena Robles, 4As Corporate Controller and The Huddle Room Managing Partner; Norman Agatep, 4As Treasurer and Grupo Agatep President & Managing Director; Anna Chua-Norbert, 4As Trustee and DDB Philippines' Group Chief Culture Officer; Golda Roldan, 4As Board Secretary and VML Philippines Chief Executive Officer; Melvin Mangada, 4As Chair and TBWA\SMP Chairperson & Chief Creative Officer; Marian Brannely, Cannes Lions Global Director of Awards; Teeny Gonzales, 4As President and Seven AD Chief Executive Officer; Kristine Go, Smart Communications Senior Vice President; Margot Torres, McDonald's Philippines Managing Director; Raoul Panes, Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Groupe Philippines & Leo Burnett Group Manila; David Guerrero, 4As Trustee and BBDO Guerrero Creative Chair; Mike Garcia, 4As Vice President and Ogilvy Philippines Managing Partner; and the event's host, broadcast journalist Rico Hizon.

Aiming to inspire Filipino brands and agencies who wish to join the Cannes Lions awards—the international festival of creativity that recognizes the most groundbreaking work in branded communication from across the globe—the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As) of the Philippines recently hosted a special forum on the value of winning a Lion, what it takes to win, and how creativity impacts business performance.

The event took place last March 8 at the Ayala Museum in Makati City.

The forum was headlined by Marian Brannely, Cannes Lions Global Director of Awards, who was joined by Philippine winners of the Cannes Lions: Kristine Go, Smart Communications Inc. Senior Vice President; Margot Torres, McDonald's Philippines Managing Director; and Raoul Panes, Publicis Groupe and Leo Burnett Manila Chief Creative Officer.

Teeny Gonzales, 4As President and Seven AD Chief Executive Officer, kicked off the event with a short speech urging creatives to make winning a Lion the benchmark to ensure that they are always able to deliver creative excellence no matter what. "There's no need for you to win a Lion to be sure, and not every work we do will be Cannes-worthy, but if we make it our benchmark, then the work, at the minimum, will great."

Delivering the first presentation of the evening, Go talked about brand purpose, specifically how purpose should feel natural for a brand. "I think magic comes when you have the inflection between a brand and a societal cause," she said. "You can't force purpose on brands. It's either you have it, or you don't. If your purpose is happiness, then just stay true to it."

She also said it's a must to build an ecosystem around that purpose, and for it to not be merely a one-off thing. "If you start off by trying to win awards and you create one film, it's gonna win an award, but that's the only thing you're gonna do," she said. "So, it shouldn't be something you do and then leave it behind."

The second presentation, delivered by Torres and Panes, revolved around the importance of building an ecosystem of creative excellence that includes investing in partnerships, investing in a culture that promotes creativity, and investing in time and making sure it's maintained.

Torres also highlighted the importance of being consistent and always striving to improve. "You always have to remember that you're only as good as your last work. This forces you to raise the bar each time."

Meanwhile, Panes highlighted the need for creatives to be able to work in an environment that enables and inspires them. "It's always important that we create a space where people are free to be creative, to experiment, to make mistakes, to fail, bounce back and be rewarded. I think it's important that it becomes part of their natural instinct."

Brannely delivered the final presentation of the evening, where she talked about the value of winning a Lion for brands and agencies, and gave a few tips on how entrants can learn and improve their chances of winning.

"The Lions exist to help you tell that story, to help you to demonstrate these creative ideas that you have invested your time and resources in," Brannely said.

Brannely briefly took the listeners through the typical journey of a Lion winner, which goes from entering their work in the first year, learning from the winners and then polishing their work in the second year, and then finally pushing for creative excellence in their third year.

She also talked about the win rate for the awards in 2023, which was at just around 3 percent: from a total of 26,992 entries, only 2,791 or 10.3 percent were shortlisted, and from there, only 876 were awarded.

"When you're crafting an entry, your audience isn't the jury. The jury are C-roles of the world's biggest brands. They're CCO, they're creative leaders across the world, and they don't know your market. They don't know your brand's challenges. They don't know the cultural nuances that are happening in places you work."

"So the core things that you need to put in your brief or pitch are your challenges, your idea, your solution, and the impact. You need to make sure that they are on top of the list, being you're clear about them," she said. "Make it easy for them to see."

Brannely ended her presentation by underscoring the importance of keeping the creative momentum going for brands and agencies. "Creativity needs to be sustained. It's an investment of time, it's a legacy, you're building that culture of creativity that isn't a one-and-done. It really should be a sustained culture of creativity."

The event is in line with the 4As' "Get Schooled" thrust for 2024, which aims to provide opportunities for learning that will help creatives become better equipped to meet the ever-evolving demands of the advertising and marketing industries.

To learn more about the 4As and its programs, visit https://4asphilippines.com.

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