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Asia leads US on creative innovation

News, 19 April 2017
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SINGAPORE: Asia is leading the world when it comes to creative innovation while the US is falling behind, according to a senior agency creative.

In an interview with Mumbrella Asia, Pelle Sjoenell – BBH's global creative chief – revealed his belief that Asia has moved from being a copycat of other regions to leading the globe when it comes to creative innovation.

"On a creative level, Asia is ahead now because they don't have the history and the years and years of advertising – the rules are not set. The clients are not serving history as much," he said.

"They are saying: 'The market is exploding. What do we do?' And they are rushing to it with innovation. I would say they are leaving the 'copycat' worldview behind them."

Sjoenell noted that the US, known as a global hub of advertising, is falling behind its Asian counterparts, with platforms such as WeChat – which Sjoenell calls "the best digital platform on the planet" – adding to the gap.

"The US, even though it is a big market, is behind in so many ways. It's like (comparing) two countries: one half is an ancient, medieval country and the other is light years ahead of the rest. But in Asia in particular, innovation is going to win over simplicity," he explained.

"There's a lot of inspiration available because every market is so different," he added.

"So for Nike, people run very differently in Thailand than they do in the Philippines, and that makes the markets a great creative starting point. Whereas in the US, there's a lack of inspiration because these stories have been told so many times."

In a tangentially related development, Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, has announced it is investing $100m in setting up a digital innovation centre in Singapore – its first outside the US – which will focus on supply chain management, e-analytics and e-business.

Data sourced from Mumbrella, Straits Times; additional content by WARC staff

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