A view on ideas and communications from an Asian perspective
I'm an award-winning creative leader with proven experience in creating integrated teams that deliver both creative and business success. Blak Labs is my new integrated micro agency set up late 2010 with friends in Singapore. These posts reflect my thoughts, things I like and work that we develop as we grow...
Gatsby, the renowned hairstyling pomade from Mandom Japan, is known for its off-the-wall style creatives.
So when the Mandom team approached Blak Labs, one of Singapore’s leading independent creative agencies with the challenge to create an out of home campaign that stops people in their tracks, the team needed no further invitation.
Using a mix of crafted illustration and photography from Japan, the creatives tell the remarkable stories of the everyday challenges in the “Art of being a Gentleman” Gatsby-style.
“These posters are not-so little reminders that it’s easy to triumph over everyday problems and look like a Gentleman at the same time. We hope these creatives add a little Gatsby magic to everyone’s day while helping them look their best, ”said Charlie Blower, Managing Partner, Blak Labs.
Bugis MRT provided the location. Moove Media provided the space as well as the buses.
Client: Mandom Corp, Japan
Agency: Blak Labs
Creative Partners: Charlie Blower
Esq, Nick Tan Esq.
Copy: Sir Gatsby, Charlie Blower
Art Direction: Sir Nick Tan, Squire Elliott, Page Leo
According to a recent piece by Mark Wilson in @FastCompany, “Influencers are publishing more than ever. They published 15 times more editorial posts and eight times more sponsored ads on Instagram in 2018 than they did in 2016. Yet consumers are starting to pay less attention to what they post, according to a new study by social media metrics firm InfluencerDB.”
Shurely shome mishtake? Post more = attract less attention. Ironic really.
And earlier this week, the legendary Dave Trott writing for Campaign eloquently explained why so much of this stuff fails. Have a read here.
As he is fond of saying about UK advertising, 20 billion quid is spent a year. Of which only 4% is remembered positively. 7% is remembered negatively and 89% isn’t noticed or remembered. Not sure what the numbers are for Asia.
Here at Blak Labs, we try to create ideas and campaigns that cut through. Some people like ’em and some people don’t. But at least our work isn’t in the 89%.
Blak Labs is delighted to share our latest campaign for our friends at Shashlik in Singapore. As a haven of classic dishes, Shashlik is something of a legend. Now being run by the second generation of Hainanese family members, this Russian restaurant has recently rebooted its menu, decor and its website.
Our campaign celebrates favourites from the menu, by telling the story behind the original dish. Because as we all know nowadays, long copy is dead. But stories? They get devoured.
Writing a will, and figuring out who gets what, is one of those things that we all struggle with. Which is why we’re pleased to announce that Etiqa Insurance Singapore has introduced a new campaign for its Premier suite of legacy planning solutions for high-net-worth individuals, courtesy of you know who. (Not that we’re in that category ; )
Using Harry Potter-style living portraits, this omnichannel launch takes an amusing look at the grave topic of bequeathing one’s wealth upon passing on.
“Legacy Planning is an important consideration when developing a sound financial strategy. However, most people don’t think about what they’d like to leave behind, or how they can do it effectively” explains Simon Ashton, Executive Vice President and Head, Partnerships Distribution at Etiqa Singapore. “Our ad campaign highlights the unfortunate outcomes of not having appropriate succession plans in place using a more light-hearted approach than is normally seen for this important subject.”
The integrated campaign breaks mid-April across print, digital, out-of-home and free-to-air TV. A new website offers detailed illustrations of the various legacy planning solutions available. This will be followed by personalised marketing initiatives and events targeted at high-net-worth individuals.
Great work from Liang and Prav (art and copy), lead by Justin and Elsa. Hats off to Caleb for bringing the idea to life. Thank you to our wonderful clients at eTiQA for giving us the opportunity!
Finally, a big shout out to Ad Nut at Campaign Asia for picking the story up. #CampaignAsia #AdNut
Client: Etiqa Singapore
Brand: Premier by Etiqa
Agency: Blak Labs
Director: Caleb Huang
Film Production: Smallshop Communications
Protecting customers since 1961, Etiqa is a licensed life and general insurance company registered in the Republic of Singapore. We are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and governed by the Insurance Act.
With a comprehensive suite of protection, savings, retirement and legacy
planning solutions, we are committed to helping our customers plan for a better
future. Rated “A” by Fitch in April 2019 for our financial strength and stable
outlook, we humanise insurance by placing people over policies.
Etiqa is owned by Maybank Ageas Holdings Berhad, a joint venture
company that combines local market knowledge with international insurance
expertise. The company is 69% owned by Maybank, the fourth largest banking
group in Southeast Asia, and 31% by Ageas, an international insurance group
with footprints across 16 countries and a heritage that spans over 190 years.
Here’s Blak Labs’ latest seasonal work for our friends at Shashlik.
We’ve recently redesigned and launched the website. Now mobile-optimised, the site tells the story behind the new Shashlik 2.0, while showcasing the restaurant’s heritage, family favourites and instagram-worthy dishes. Photography was by John Heng, Da Photographer
Recently Blak Labs was invited to speak at Clear Channel’s Idea Seminar held at the Projector in Singapore. It was a privilege to be able to share our learnings about opening in a new market and delivering creative excellence there.
You can view the presentation here
Be sure to read the notes for the full flavour. And here’s the clip that introduces the car.
For the full presentation of this and other case studies, drop us a line at email@example.com
Last Friday at the Gong Show, Singapore’s Creative awards, our Chinese New Year film for Maybank scored well in the craft categories.
Two Bronzes, a Silver and Gold in Film and Branded content. Congrats to all involved especially Director Caleb Huang and his team at SmallShop Communications for bringing this story to life. And to our clients at Maybank for having something to say about the meaning of relationships. Thank you for the opportunity.
When we first started Blak Labs back in 2010, we couldn’t afford an office. Our workspaces were coffee shops in Dempsey and dining tables in our homes.
We didn’t know what the future would hold, or if we would be in business long enough to have our own address. So our first business card just featured mobile and email.
As luck would have it, things started to happen for Blak Labs. Clients took a chance on us. From Maybank to PayPal, we picked up projects and started growing the team. We needed somewhere central to meet and were lucky that a mate had some desks free – which we willingly borrowed.
And while they were at the top of three flights of stairs, those desks and facilities were invaluable until we needed space of our own.
Finding the right place for your gang can be tricky. Especially when each place on property sites can be so misleading.
What one person likes, another finds inconvenient. And what pictures online fail to show is actual size and usability. When we eventually found Pahang Street near Arab Street, we all agreed it was a space to try. Simple – wood floors, shophouse location, an upstairs unit with a mezzanine floor, tiny kitchen and a single loo. It was perfect – a space we could all live with. Until we outgrew it once more.
Our next space on North Bridge Road was twice as big. Two shophouse upper levels side by side. Meeting rooms, a pantry and dining area. Chill spots and workbenches. Plenty of room for growth. Until we were almost sitting on each other.
Luckily for us, the partners had put a deposit on two adjacent units at a new development. We’ve invested in comfort and utility. There is still room for growth. And experimentation.
How will we perform in this new space? Will it be filled with ground-breaking ideas? Will clients be clamouring to come through the front door? Will they like the vibe?