Having spent the past year building up its creative and strategic firepower in Asia-Pacific, Edelman is on a high after the network was named the Cannes Lions Independent Agency of the Year in the Entertainment track and also won a Grand Prix at the Festival.
Over the past year, Edelman has been working with former Leo Burnett creative lead Tim Green (pictured left) in Asia-Pacific to establish hubs of creative talent in Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. Green, in the newly created role of Chief Creative Officer for the region, is tasked with injecting creative thinking into every practice and sector, across every communications brief. Just last month, Wendy Chan (pictured right) came onboard as Chief Creative Officer for China from McCann Health in Shanghai, and Cheil’s Pully Chau was named as Edelman’s President for Greater China, bringing over 33 years of integrated communications experience to the role.
Additionally, Huw Gildon (pictured middle) joins the growing team from WPP’s Red Fuse this week, becoming the network’s Chief Strategy Officer for Asia-Pacific. Gildon will partner with Green and the firm’s digital and data capabilities to drive the ideation and execution of truly integrated work for the firm’s earned communications solutions. Gildon will lead Edelman’s growing network of industry renowned strategists across the region, including Phyllis Yip who joined the agency as Head of Strategy for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand from Walmart China in March, as well as Nisha Sivanandan, Head of Strategy at Edelman Singapore.
The integration of creative and strategy skillsets into its product mix of corporate, public and brand solutions in the earned space will enable the firm to make “pioneering moves in tackling the unique challenges faced by today’s marketers,” says Edelman’s Vice Chair for Asia-Pacific, Michelle Hutton. Such challenges include shrinking marketing budgets, the higher cost of attention, the rise of adblockers and ad-free channels, and a general mistrust in media, according to the network’s proprietary research on Brand Trust.
“As brands are increasingly expected to take a stand on societal issues and serve as agents of change in their consumers’ lives, earned media has become the new battleground for building trust,” says Hutton. “By bringing creative and strategy to the table in addressing our clients’ challenges, independent of structures and siloes, our teams are able to unlock even more powerful ideas and experiences for positioning our clients at the heart of culture and what’s taking place in the world in the moment. This ultimately enhances the effectiveness of earned elements in our traditional solutions.”
This approach of creative-led earned messaging can already be seen in the firm’s work on:
• Airbnb’s Lost & Found campaign in China, aimed at matching millennial travellers with the masters of ancient trades in China in a bid to preserve cultural heritage.
• The Test, a brand film for the Singapore Prison Service that showcases the key role of prison officers in the rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates and the positive ripple effect on their families.
• Sunkist’s integration with popular online game Animal Crossing to create Sunkist Island, developed by the firm to invite players from Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan to experience and learn more about the Sunkist groves of California – in the digital world.
• HP’s Escape Therapy campaign in Australia, which used the original voice of Apple’s Siri to illustrate a breakdown in consumers’ relationships with their former laptop.
• The Perfect Voiceovers campaign, on behalf of Causes for Animals Singapore, aimed at shifting perceptions of shelter and rescue dogs from negative associations of abandonment and illness to positive ones, such as loyalty and unconditional love, thereby improving adoption rates.
Hutton continues: “Coming out of 2020, we have proven that the borderless creative model works for clients in APAC. We have the best of the best, working on the creative and strategy for our clients, ultimately delivering bolder, more disruptive work in this new environment.”
Green said: “There has never been a more relevant time for businesses to embrace creativity as a more effective way of solving business challenges. By integrating creative thinking into Edelman’s offerings, and letting PR and digital practices bring the creative idea to life, we’re enabling our clients to stand-out as distinct and truly relevant to their audiences.”
Gildon said: “The brand is one of the most important and powerful ideas in the history of business. The strongest are both trusted and talked about. Given Edelman’s strong heritage in studying trust, I’m really looking forward to working with their incredible portfolio of clients to help them grow and strengthen their brands with the power of creativity and innovation.”