The last thing the world needs is more awards: The Asia Pacific Tambuli Awards, however, is far from being just another show

Malcom Poynton.jpgMalcolm Poynton was overall jury president at this year's Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards which were presented this week at a gala black tie show in Manila. Poynton, Cheil Worldwide's London-based global chief creative officer, was taken with the show which features on the jury an impressive array of top Creative talent and top regional CEOs and Clients. Here Poynton (pictured left) describes his surprising and enjoyable experience leading the jury.

When I was approached to chair the Executive Jury for the 2018 APAC Tambuli Awards, I had to ask google to reveal all as I knew too little about it. Within seconds, I'd learned that APAC Tambuli is not your usual industry award show. For starters, it's run by The University of Asia and the Pacific. I don't know about you, but I've never heard of a show run by an academic institution.

Secondly, it's entire aim is to celebrate brands that are 'doing well by doing good', this focus coming from the University's mission to contribute positively toward a better society for all.

Thirdly, I learned that like many Asian businesses the West have never heard of, APAC Tambuli is not some rookie industry show, but a programme that's been going for 12 years, and has quietly built a strong following with both purposeful clients and agencies. After all, 'doing good' is no longer a niche, hippy crusade but a movement that fuels profits. Profits for brands as much as for people and the planet.
Today, as our tiny planet creaks under the strain of over seven billion inhabitants, we see government after government fail to keep up with today's challenges and subsequently forsake its people. It's for that reason that brands are, and have to, play a more important role in making change for the better, at both a local level and on the global stage.

Sure, there are companies out there that stick two fingers up at climate change, at the environment, at equality and health. However, we are increasingly seeing bold, forward-thinking brands who balk at public apathy and failing governments to lead the way to a better future. This kind of change cannot be achieved via some small CSR activity on the side; the core of a business has to be compellingly aligned, and by embracing all that's new in our industry; from Big Data and Tech, to Social, Innovation and yes, traditional media too.

I reckon that's about as exciting as it can get. Who wouldn't wish to change the marketing game to contribute towards a brighter future?

Look at the brands whose entire reason is to change the game for the better. From start-ups like TESLA electric cars and its sibling, SolarCity, to long-established businesses like the Co-Op in the UK with its zero waste-food programme and Intermarche's much copied Inglorious Vegetables initiative. These are the types of brands, both challenger and established that are leading the way where our governments aren't.

Unsurprisingly, they are thriving.

AdoboCBAsiaTambuli_6.jpgToday we have an abundance of data that points to Gen Z as being the most socially conscious generation we've seen. What's more, they come with spending power like we've never seen before too. So, with this generation demanding transparency from brands and actively seeking out those that positively contribute to a better-balanced world, it's crucial that we help brands take stock of who they really are by clearly defining their own brand's purpose and aligning with the times.

And it's just as important that we strive to learn from not only the brands that are doing best, but those that are doing it in the most human and creative manner too.

This was the theme of APAC Tambuli 2018 - it guided the jury and formed the backbone of the conference where UAP and Adobo Magazine brought together industry leaders to debate and discuss next steps: including the expectations some of the world's leading brands have of their agency partners, as well as the ways they are radically changing at the organisational level, so they can realise their goals. It was an inspiration to see how, at a local and regional level, some of the world's largest and most established brands such as Nestlé, P&G and Unilever have mavericks changing the game from the ground up.

With the Executive Jury made up of celebrated creative agency leads as well as clients with impressive remits, the discussions were insightful, informed, passionate and ambitious. This resulted in us awarding six Grand Prix across a diverse array of categories and companies.

From one of Australia's largest energy providers (Australian Gas Light) to the world's largest electronics company (Samsung), Japanese healthcare brand ANGFA, Australia's Queensland Police to the tireless and timeless efforts of GreenPeace - the winning campaigns are powerful examples of where we should be striving to take all brands today.

Each entry revealed a thorough and genuine understanding of their band DNA (some even publicly redefining who they are), how they used data to inform their approach, and further revealing an understanding of human behaviour, and what is takes to emotionally reach and sway consumers.

Amongst the Grand Prix winners we saw:
⁃ Extraordinary craft and timing on display in work like Dead Whale from Greenpeace
⁃ Insightful thinking by the Queensland Police and their use of SnapChat to assist finding missing people during the critical first-24-hour window
⁃ The seeds of changing hygiene habits for kids in ANGFA's washable book
⁃ The power of capitalising on a daft government position on clean energy to reposition one of Australia's largest utility brands
⁃ The refreshingly low-tech solution from the Afghanistan Ministry of Health for tracking immunization in a mostly rural developing nation
⁃ And a deep commitment to building a more equal and progressive society in India with Samsung's Tech School campaign.

Malc on stage.jpgThe work came from global networks including McCann, Dentsu and Cheil Worldwide with Gold winning agencies including local shop IdeasXMachina Advertising along side Ogilvy and Grey networks.

Ultimately, I'm proud to say, the Executive Jury acted as boldly as those brands leading the charge. We arrived at a clear decision that, as good as the Grand Prix winners were, and strong in the context of now, there wasn't one that emotionally grabbed us, and we felt would continue to inspire us in the future, in the way we expect of a beacon campaign. Consequently, there was no Platinum winner this year.

As I leave the Philippines, I walk away celebrating this industry's 'Thrilla in Manila', seeing APAC Tumbali as a twelve-year-trend-setter that's seeing a bunch of other shows beginning to embrace similar themes.

What the others don't have is Tambuli's powerful core mission, it's accompanying conference and the rigor (all entries are audited by PWC and graded for how well they achieved their stated objectives as well as being judged on creative merit) to shine a light on the brands that genuinely are "doing well by doing good".

To the point where not participating says as much about a brand and its agency as winning does. Maybe that's why I saw several CEO's of leading global brands who attended Tambuli for their first time commit to returning next year with the goal of winning.

Hats off to Dean Jerry Kliatchko of the University or Asia and The Pacific's School of Communications for establishing and pursuing what could just be the most contemporary and meaningful of industry awards today.

Pictured above top: Winn Everhart (CEO Coca Cola), Malcolm Poynton and Angel Guerrero (Publisher Adobo Magazine).

Pictured below: 2018 Asia Pacific Tambuli Awards Overall Executive Jury - (L-R seated) Yasuharu Sasaki, ECD Dentsu Japan, Margot Margot B. Torres, SVP & MD McDonald's, Gina Lorenzana, Global VP, Unilever, Rupen Desai, Vice Chairman APAC Edelman, (L-R back row) Ken Lingan, Google, Kevin Lee, Samsung CEO, Arvind Sachdev, Colgate Palmolive CEO, David Guerrero, Creative Chairman BBDO Guerrero, Malcolm Poynton, Global CCO Cheil Worldwide & Overall Jury Chairman, Chris Foster Y&R Asia President, Melvin Mangada, CCO TBWA SMP, Winn Everhart CEO Coca Cola, Pat Baron, Chair Creative Council APAC & CCO McCann Australia.

Tambuli Jury.jpg

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