Sunday, March 05, 2006

Thailand: the next advertising powerhouse?

China has become the world's manufacturer, India the world's high-tech outsourcing centre. But in both cases, the creative work that provides the foundation for all these activities is still firmly rooted in the West.

How long will it take for conceptual and design work to be outsourced to the Far East as well?

This is what occurred to me when I saw Media Magazine's annual creative ranking. Of the Creatives' Top Ten nothing less than the Top 8 are occupied by creatives from Thailand. Media compiles its annual list on the basis of award wins at 15 selected award shows in the past year. The award festivals include world class shows like Cannes and Clio, regional ones like Media's own Spikes, and national shows from India to New-Zealand and practically everything in between.

This is not an overnight phenomenon: Bangkok has been an Asian advertising hotspot for quite a while. Many campaigns are designed and produced in Bangkok, to be rolled out over many other Asian countries subsequently.

The question is, how long will it take Western advertisers to realize that all they have to do for top quality campaigns for lower costs is go to Thailand? Media's list of prize winners (paid access; registration required) Their only problem is having to learn to pronounce Thai names.

For interested would-be outsourcers, here's the complete list:
  1. Prangthip Praditpong, Creative Juice/G1 (picture shows her work for Tamiya, 2005's most-awarded print campaign)
  2. Nutchnanun Chiaphanumas, Creative Juice/G1
  3. Kittitat Larppitakpong, Saatchi&Saatchi (previously Creative Juice/G1)
  4. Passapol Limpisirisan, Euro RSCG Flagship
  5. Wiboon Leepakpreeda, Euro RSCG Flagship
  6. Jon Chalermwong, Creative Juice/G1
  7. Nucharat Nuntananonchai and Taya Sutthinun (ex aequo), Euro RSCG Flagship
Personally, I think it's about time that Asia shows it can make a significant contribution to global creativity, instead of merely executing other cultures' concepts.

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