Blak Labs does jury duty, the Grand Prix edition. 

Today is “Brexit” voting day in the UK. And after a week of jury deliberation, discussion and impassioned defences, we have just witnessed the effect our votes had on the winners of the 2016 Cannes Cyber Lions awards show. Before we get to the winners, let me take you back over the last couple days of being in the room.

Blak Labs Singapore in the company of inspirational Jury members during a break in our final Lions deliberations. L-R: Blak Labs Singapore, Ignacio from Google Argentina, Ravi from Whyness India, Fred from Mirum NYC, Chloe from RGA NYC, Bob from Host Sydney, Kris from Happiness Belgium.

Total number of entries reviewed. 2800. Total entries judged in Cannes: 1700. Final shortlist: originally 280. After a final prune: 230 if memory serves me correctly. http://www.canneslionsarchive.com/winners/entries/cannes-lions/cyber/

Chloe gives some last minute advice before we head back in.

 

We can award three Grand Prix. But will we?

Of those that made it through, you have already achieved something truly significant. Your work beat some world class crud. Our final list of golds looks like this. Not nearly enough from Asia.

 

 

The game-changing Gold winners. I wish I’d done any one of them. 

And after one round of voting for the Grand Prix, we have eliminated all but two pieces of VR. We pause and take a moment to discuss what that outcome would say about the category and our industry, not to mention our collective reputations. We vote again on just keeping these two exceptional pieces as golds. It is just too early for VR to lead the way. The craft has a long way to go. The experience needs to be more inclusive.

 

After the struggle, and the respectful discussion on our choices, we review, debate and vote on our final Grand Prix contenders. When we’re done, there is a huge cheer and lots of hugging followed by champagne to celebrate.

Cheers to an inspirational jury. Amazing people. New friends.

We realize what we have just achieved. And in record time apparently. So we head out to celebrate.

Prelim celebrations.

 

L-r: Megan from New York, Dirk from Germany, Ignacio from Argentina, Bjorn from Sweden.
A few hours later, we all attend the press conference for the announcement of the 2016 Cyber Lions and the Innovation Lions.

 

At the Press conference. Smile…you’re on Chloe’s camera.

After the intro from Phil Thomas, the Cannes Lions CEO, Chloe Gottlieb, our jury President and a Grand Prix Winner herself, takes the mic along with the President of the Innovation Lions, apparently the ‘fun’ jury…

Chloe kicks off the press briefing with an update of the key trends.

With the new filters that the jury has defined over the past week, we think that the biggest ideas deliver on several levels.

Final category defining filter notes.

They are seamless in how they travel between the cyber or digital world and the real world, i.e., no clunky tech getting in the way of the storytelling.

They’re beautifully crafted and above all, the thinking and approach deliver magic in how they touch people’s lives and move us towards ideas, brands and causes.

We decided to award gold to ideas that are game changers. To achieve a Grand Prix the thinking has to be iconic, enduring, universally appealing and live seamlessly in whichever part of our connected world you experience it in.

The two Grands Prix are quite ‘amaaaaazzzzing’ as Ignacio, everyone’s favourite Argentine from Google, occasionally says.

Jurors with everyone’s favourite Argentine. L-R: Ignacio from Google Argentina, Fred from Mirum NYC, Ravi from Whyness India, Blak Labs Singapore

One of them showcases how tech and AI has helped create a new Rembrandt centuries after his death. It’s brave and beautifully crafted.

 http://www.canneslionsarchive.com/winners/entry/754936/the-next-rembrandt

The other is the unbelievably charming story of Justino. He is the night security guard who engages the staff he never sees with simple beautiful stories and pranks told on Instagram and Facebook. The quality is Pixar-level, and the individual stories just make you laugh, cry and much more. (I am a huge fan, having followed Justino on his Instagram during the campaign.) ICYMI, it’s for El Gordo, the Spanish Lottery. Take a look http://www.canneslionsarchive.com/winners/entry/756159/justino

The team behind Justino. They arrived earlier in the afternoon. So it could only be gold. Little did they know that we gave them the Grand Prix. Lovely bunch. And that’s the lovely Teresa from Shackleton in Madrid in the middle foreground.

This is where ‘Cyber’ has its true strengths. As a means to connect and unite people behind a single possibility over a variety of digital and ‘real world’ channels. Which of course is the point. The category has evolved so much that the best work is alive wherever you experience it.
We hope you’re happy with our votes. It was exhausting, exciting and eventually extremely rewarding. Thank you to my wonderful fellow jurors, thank you creativity and thank you Cannes Lions and Mediacorp.

And congrats to Team Singapore for winning the Young Cyber Lions!

 

 

Blak Labs does jury duty

Well hello Cannes. What a pleasure to be here. It’s my first time – so a quick thanks to MediaCorp for putting me forward to judge the CyberLions. And thanks to the organisers for the lovely welcome kit. The welcome drinks were welcome too as I caught up with my fellow juror from Spikes, Kazu from Japan. 
The preliminary judging has reduced our task…slightly. So far we have collectively viewed over 2800 pieces of work. Individually we have gone through more than 500 entries online during the prelim round a few weeks ago. We’re still in our judging groups, which means no one has seen everything yet.

In the jury room, the shortlisting takes place in silence, which is occasionally broken by snorts, giggles, guffaws and sighs.  We view the work on desktop workstations with earphones listening intently to the carefully crafted case studies…which by now are all beginning to blur into one.

It’s a bit like being in a call centre. Except we’re not solving customers problems…There’s absolutely no chance of help if your idea is woolly, your case study not sharp enough, your objective irrelevant, your results less than convincing.

At the breaks and meals, there’s a fair bit of discussion about what exactly we have just seen. Is it a data idea? Who makes microsites any more? Why? Where are the Asian entries?

Each day, Chloe our president and previous winner, captures a new set of filters which we will use to define this year’s CyberLions.

Every now and then jurors get the chance to check out new tech. One bunch went to try the VR experience from the movie the Martian. I got to have a virtual knock up with Marina Sharapova.


We’ve had a couple of lovely dinners. At the first, the waiter was superb. His description of veal as baby lamb had everyone stumped. He could be the French equivalent of Borat.


That’s it for the time being. Tomorrow we do a final cull of the shortlist, before we get down to the real business of awarding the Lions.

Quick shout out to my long-suffering wife and partners for looking after things back in Singapore @blaklabs while I do this. Love you all!

Another historic campaign from Blak Labs?

Blak Labs new campaign for National Museum of Singapore rewrites history for today’s social audiences

It gives me great pleasure to share Blak Labs’ most recent campaign for “Treasures of the World from the British Museum”. It’s the latest blockbuster exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore and if you’re in the city and you have some time, you really should go and see it.

A knight at the museum
A knight at the museum. One of the Lewis Chessmen from the British Museum’s Treasures of the World exhibit.

It’s only taken a couple of million years to pull together. With an extensive collection of over 200 stunning artifacts from around the world, we thought we’d have some fun with it.

Thankfully, our client at the National Museum prides itself on keeping history relevant. They like to present things in a way that connects with audiences today.

FB Post for PR

Judging by the fact that the show has been extended by a couple of months, it’s good to see that the content is clearly connecting. The campaign runs across key outdoor sites in town, together with strategic social media initiatives. Blak Labs won the project via government tender last year.

So is the ancient art of copywriting alive and well at Blak Labs?

We like to think so. Because it sure as hell isn’t in our blog posts!

If you’d like to see other executions in the campaign, leave us a comment below. Hey, leave us a comment even if you don’t!

Always happy to get a response. Thanks for reading.

FB Post for PR

 

FB Post for PR

 

Blak Labs takes Liberty

 

Liberty-Logo-Web-1600pxLiberty Insurance Pte Ltd has awarded the launch of its brand campaign to independent creative agency, Blak Labs, after an intensive three-way pitch.

“As a top ten general insurer in Singapore, we have been steadily growing our presence in the market,” says Teo Ser Foong, Vice-President, Marketing & Analytics at Liberty Insurance. “With this new campaign, we want to bring Singaporeans closer to our brand, as well as our range of innovative products.”

“In the United States, Liberty is a big name in insurance. Here in Singapore, they’re a challenger brand. Being an independent, we face similar business challenges,” adds Charlie Blower, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Blak Labs. “We are delighted that they see the benefit of working with like-minded people.”

The new campaign for Liberty Insurance breaks across print, digital, radio and prime outdoor sites in the coming weeks.

Congrats and thanks to everyone at Blak Labs for making it happen!

 

Blak Labs has a love affair with Gold

Degussa Happy Valentine_R2-02Love is golden in 2016. This Valentine’s Day, Degussa, Europe’s leading precious metals trading house, celebrates the season with a fine selection of gold coins, bars and jewellery – allowing you to select the most exquisite gifts for your loved ones.

“Just like love, gold stands the test of time,” says Bunnarith Lo, Marketing Director for Degussa Singapore. “With the opening of our flagship store on Orchard Road, Singaporeans have the unique opportunity to present a precious and timeless gift to someone special.”

With the help of boutique agency, Blak Labs, Degussa has launched a witty campaign that puts you in the mood for love – and gold! The campaign runs in key print publications and digital media this month.

Gold Rose

“Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than the gift of gold.” says Charlie Blower, Managing Partner of Blak Labs. “It lasts much longer than traditional Valentine’s gifts and like love, it appreciates over time.”

Degussa Happy Valentine_R2-03
About Degussa

Degussa as a brand is a synonym for quality and reliability in the field of precious metals. Degussa Goldhandel AG, Switzerland, has been active in the market since 2012. The head office of Degussa Goldhandel GmbH is located in Frankfurt. Degussa products and services are available at branch offices in Stuttgart, Munich (2), Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin, Nuremberg, Hannover and Pforzheim as well as in Madrid and at Degussa Goldhandel AG in Zurich. The comprehensive portfolio of Degussa is completed by an online shop, available to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which offers constantly updated prices, high availability and fast processing. In August 2014, Degussa Group acquired its own precious metals refinery in Pforzheim, Germany. The refinery is active in the reprocessing of scrap precious metals as well as the production of upstream products for the jewellery industry.

Products and Services
Apart from its worldwide renowned precious metal bars made of gold, silver and platinum with the characteristic diamond-shaped Sun / Moon logo, Degussa also offers a wide range of bullion and collector coins. Top-class experts are available to customers in the field of numismatics for the assessment as well as for sale and purchase of historical coins ranging from antiques to those of recent times. Clients have the possibility of storing their precious metals stocks at Degussa’s high-value storage facility and at certain branches Degussa offers safe deposit boxes. Furthermore, Degussa has a “VAT-free” storage facility, which is also available to its customers.

Gardens by the Bay deepens roots with Blak Labs

Cloud Forest Gardens by the Bay recently re-appointed independent Singapore agency, Blak Labs, following a tender.

The appointment is for 2 years with the option for the client to extend for 12 months.

Blak Labs continues to create all local and international branding efforts for the People’s Garden and works hand in hand with the client’s media, digital and PR agencies.

On the appointment, Charlie Blower, co-founder and Managing Partner of Blak Labs said:
“From day one, we’ve grown our relationship with Gardens by the Bay by delivering great creative with our proprietary Creative Care®. So to be reappointed yet again, especially when we were up against some of Singapore’s top agencies is particularly rewarding.”

This is the third time that Blak Labs has successfully tendered for Gardens by the Bay. The Singapore boutique pitched for the launch in 2011, followed by another tender for a further 2 year appointment.

For more information about Blak Labs, please contact Charlie Blower at charlie.blower@blaklabs.com

Blak Labs helps Phillip Capital Management define its Investment Phillipsophy

Blak Labs latest campaign.

Phillipsophies_Prudence

Local fund management company, Phillip Capital Management, has launched a new advertising and marketing campaign via boutique creative agency, Blak Labs, after an intensive 3-way pitch in July.

The campaign introduces key ‘Investment Phillipsophies’ that underscore Phillip Capital Management’s success over the last two decades in providing financial guidance and relevant strategies to navigate changing markets.

“When it comes to fund management, every firm has its own house rules. We apply a good dose of prudence, due diligence and strong local knowledge in selecting companies we feel will deliver results over the long term,” says Vivien Lim, Manager, Investment Solutions. “Blak Labs has distilled our unique approach into a memorable mantra that demonstrates the way we operate.”

Phillipsophies_Contrarian

“To bring each Phillipsophy to life, our writers spent hours with fund managers, understanding how they evaluate opportunities against risk or reward,” explains Charlie Blower, Managing Partner of Blak Labs. “The result is an insightful campaign that demonstrates the rigor behind every investment decision.”

The campaign breaks this month in The Edge magazine in Singapore, specifically targeting the investment community. Product ads for popular funds, such as the Phillip Real Estate Income Fund and Phillip Income Fund, will follow in conjunction with roadshows, seminars and a refreshed corporate website.

 

Phillipsophies_Due Dilligence

Client: Phillip Capital Management

Marketing Manager: Bhuiyan Avimanyu Kishwar

Agency: Blak Labs

Writers: Elon Law, Justin Lim

Art Directors: Regina Lee, Nick Tan

Project Manager: Ken Tam

 

Blak Labs likes Myanmar…

If you haven’t already heard, Blak Labs is now open in Myanmar. The folks at Marketing Interactive asked a few people for their thoughts…we were happy to contribute.
Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 9.55.10 pm

http://www.marketing-interactive.com/myanmar-good-match-singapore-brands/

Blak Labs opens for business in Yangon, Myanmar

Our latest experiment is building a business in a new market. And here’s our new office at Hotel Yangon, complete with wifi, table, chairs and our team. Our first work is now in the market and making the competition nervous – our clients’ competition, that is.

If you have a project you’d like to discuss, please contact Charlie.blower@blaklabs.com.mm Ruth.goh@blaklabs.com.mm 

Or if you prefer to connect in the local language, please connect with 

Sett.kaung@blaklabs.com.mm

And cc us all. Thanks!

   

  Early days but exciting times. Watch this space…!

Blak Labs grabs new talent off the street

Pictured left to right: Alicia Tan, Fin Guo, Steven Koswara
Pictured left to right: Alicia Tan, Fin Guo, Steven Koswara

Starting 2015 on a strong note, our little shop beefs up its creative-focused model with three new hires. Here’s an extract from the press release:

“Joining Blak Labs are Steve Koswara (Designer), Fin Guo (Art Director) and Alicia Tan (Copy).

Steven recently graduated from NAFA and his design excellence is already making an impact for clients such as Gardens by the Bay.

Fin joins from a local independent agency and has already delivered on several key accounts.

Alicia, an Ogilvy Fellow, joins us from Geometry Global. A self-published author whose work has been showcased in Japan, Alicia has quickly demonstrated her capabilities on new business pitches and existing clients.

“Finding new talent is never easy. So it is a pleasure to welcome Steven, Fin and Alicia. We’ve been through a long process of candidate screening, using our proprietary Blak Labs interview technique and each fits with our desire to provide clients with an exceptional degree of Creative Care,” said Charlie Blower, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blak Labs.”

And guess what? Living in this world that operates at the speed of e, one publication picked this up and published it less than an hour after we sent out the news. Congrats to @cbasia for being first with the news. And thank you!