Hearts, minds and bottom lines – Graham Drew takes you inside the Spikes Asia jury room

| | No Comments
Hearts, minds and bottom lines – Graham Drew takes you inside the Spikes Asia jury room

Inside the Spikes Asia jury room with Graham Drew, Chief Creative Officer, Grey, APAC and this year’s Direct and Outdoor Jury President.


Spikes Asia is back…in person! After having three years of trying to stay focused and optimistic in front of a twelve inch screen full of faces trying to do the same, it’s so good to be able to actually be with people.

This is the only time us creatives actually get the headspace to really look at the work, if you’re like me – you constantly see headlines of great work and think ‘ooo, I really need to watch this’ and then either deadlines, teams calls, dog walks or Netflix win instead.

We’re midway through the judging process on Direct and Outdoor and post-pandemic the work is really taking an upswing – the world has got past the excessive use of sad piano and I’m happy to report that the competition is fierce. Now the work is more fun, more weird and more unexpected, often making me extremely jealous. Judging work at this time of year is kind of unique, as we have entries from 2022 that won in Cannes now rubbing shoulders with a whole batch of new ideas. One of my opening comments to the jury was – just because its won before, does absolutely not give it a free pass. Great work is always great, but some new contenders are coming up, the rigorous judging process at Spikes Asia allows juries to judge each piece of work fairly.

The debating and the voting has been made all the easier and effective with the use of I pads, 24/7 caffeine and a great big screen to see the cases in all their proper glory – thank you Spikes. I’m privileged to be leading such a great jury– the mix of countries and disciplines has made the discussions a steep learning curve for all of us. We all have our blind spots and many times I’ve had my mind changed by a point of view or cultural insight from the team.

Some real themes are emerging too – we are learning to use the alternate realities of metaverse and the currencies of blockchain and NFT in ‘actually’ useful ways (instead of ‘and then we made a bunch of NFT’s which sold out instantly’ for no reason that anyone can understand). Equality remains a key challenge across all markets and some genuinely smart and effective means of embracing both tradition and technology to try and redress the balance is coming in from all regions. Finally, wit is back, hurrah! Some genuinely funny work that really works – as they say funny is munny.

Above all the work that’s really shining are the ones that back up their sparkling creativity with a true, cohesive understanding of the brand and what it stands for. When the work that shows the currency of creativity from both sides – to both inspire and to drive business – these are the ones that show the world what we are all capable of.

Onto the really big decisions later today – it’s not going to be easy, but in the best possible way.