Vilawan Suraphongchai, festival director of the upcoming AdFest 2018
Vilawan Suraphongchai, festival director of the upcoming AdFest 2018

How ad industry can harness forces unleashed by disruptive technologies

Economy March 13, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

THE disruption brought by technology is not only changing Thailand’s media landscape but also its creative industry. Vilawan Suraphongchai, festival director of the upcoming AdFest 2018, talks with The Nation on the topic of “Transformation in the Advertising Industry and Creativity People” for insights into how the industry can deal with this challenge.



MAY I HAVE YOUR POINT OF VIEW ON THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY OF TODAY AND HOW CREATIVITY IS SIGNIFICANT FOR ALL BUSINESSES? WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS VALUE CAN BE BUILT WITH THE USE OF CREATIVITY? PLEASE GIVE SOME EXAMPLES.

 Now, more than ever, creativity is crucial for any business to stand out in order to succeed. Gone are the days that businesses talk to consumers. It is an age where businesses have to listen to consumers. The game has changed and it is the consumers calling the shots. They have the power to choose who they want to listen to, where and when they do so, and what they will choose to consume. 

 These challenges also create great opportunities and are a necessity for creativity. Businesses need to stand out, be different, find new ways to break through the messages bombarding consumers. This creates opportunities for creativity in content, entertainment, and relevance. 

Despite popular belief, consumers do not mind advertising. They mind formatted advertising and messages. They want entertainment. If content comes with entertainment, they will seek it. Rises in popularity of pages like Tue Sanit Praew are testament that entertaining content, which will be consumed. 

Business values also play a significantly larger role in consumers’ affinity for a brand. A business’ values and practices in its commitment to social responsibility are more relevant to today’s consumers. Creativity helps businesses explore new solutions to old problems. Creativity drives innovation and pushes boundaries. Unusual Football Field is a great example of how creativity took an existing problem, created a tangible solution relatable to the brand and added significant impact for the business.

WHAT ARE THE KEY CHALLENGES FACED BY THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY TODAY? AND HOW ARE THE PLAYERS ADJUSTING THEIR STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME SUCH CHALLENGES?

The key challenges for any industry, not specific to the creative industry, is the fragmentation of media, consumers, and markets. There is more specialisation and sub-cultures that make it impossible for a ‘one size fits all’ strategy. Consumers are no longer broken down by demographics, but by behaviour. It is the understanding of behaviour that determines how to target consumers. 

Rather than starting with a media plan, strategies must start with the end in mind and work their way back. Start with the behaviour and preferences of the consumers you want to reach, then figure out how to get their attention. 

HOW ARE EMERGING OF DIGITAL |TECHNOLOGIES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS AFFECTING THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY? HOW DOES THE CREATIVE LANDSCAPE CHANGE? WHY DO CREATIVE PLAYERS NEED TO TRANSFORM THEMSELVES TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF THE NEW DISRUPTION AND HOW SHOULD THEY DO SO?

While digital technology and social media open endless doors for the creative industry, it should be mindful that they are merely tools that help spread an idea. 

Despite the changes in tools and platforms, creatives should always remind themselves to always start with the idea in mind. 

Technology should enhance the idea, not cover up for it. The rise of digital technology and social networks also gives rise to influencers, bloggers, vloggers, and such, who also become a new form of media. Creatives can utilise the use of these players, but should be mindful of how such personalities fit with the brand. 

The speed of change of the digital landscape forces brands to be more spontaneous and reactive, but the core value of the business should never be compromised. 

HOW DO YOU SEE THE TREND FOR THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

There will likely be even less advertising in the classical sense, but more social solutions by brand. As consumers look for relevance and connection, brands will need to find more creative solutions to reach consumers. 

The creative industry will take on more a creative solution and consultancy role for businesses. Creatives have to identify the problems that create opportunities for creative solution that are meaningful and tangible for consumers.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUGGEST AS GOVERNMENT MEASURES AND INITIATIVES THAT SHOULD BE LAUNCHED TO PROMOTE THE LOCAL CREATIVE INDUSTRY AND ITS FUTURE EXPANSION?

 More investment in research and development (R&D). For a creative environment to prosper, one of the areas of creativity is innovation. R&D is a key element necessary for future innovations that can potentially create solutions to help society and its people. 

Touchable Ink, for example, was an initiative by an agency for a corporation that makes Braille accessible to almost anyone. 

There is no shortage of creative ideas, but most often a shortage of funds. 

AdFest 2018 will be held from March 21-24 at the Royal Cliff Hotels Group in Pattaya.