Charles Cadell and David Guerrero on why more agencies and top clients should support and enter the Asia Pacific Tambuli Awards

Charles Cadell McCann_2016.jpgEarly last week MullenLowe Group were crowned Network of the Year at the 10th anniversary of the APAC Tambuli awards ceremony held at the Grand Ballroom of the New World Hotel in Manila.

The major Grand Prix award went to Unilever's Lifebuoy "Future Child" campaign out of MullenLowe India.

The focus of the Tambuli Awards is on mainstream brand campaigns that celebrate humanity, inspire purpose, and deliver results. It honors brands that do good and do well - the seamless integration of creativity + human good + results.

The jury members consisted of a good mix of agency network leaders, top creative directors and Asia-Pacific client CEOs and marketing heads. The executive jury was lead by Charles Cadell, APAC President McCann Worldgroup (pictured above) and the Creative Jury was lead by David Guerrero, Chairman and CCO BBDO Guerrero Philippines.

Campaign Brief Asia spoke to both jury presidents about the show and it's importance in Asia-Pacific. 

Cadell said Tambuli was prescient in Asia in understanding not just the importance but also the power of brands campaigning on a platform of social good over ten years ago.

"This was long before other shows and even before those in the profession itself really understood its significance to the networked generation. As a not for profit organisation, with its roots firmly entrenched in Filipino culture and seeking to promote Asian values, it's purpose is a noble one and deserves everyone's support," said Cadell, who has been part of the Tambuli judging panel for the past 4 years.

Tambuli Logo.jpg"Judging creativity and business effectiveness is a challenge. Adding a third leg of social effectiveness makes judging that much harder - especially since one must seek to retain a subjectivity around what are usually highly emotive subjects.

Cadell explained: "When judging results, should a brand that saves 10 women from acid attacks be less merited of consideration for a Gold than a brand that saves 100 children from an early death? Retaining a perspective is hard but leads to good debates and a thorough examination of the cases."

Cadell said what is refreshing about the Tambuli judging is the appreciation by jury members that there can be no place or regard for anything in these awards that even hints of scam, greenwashing or jumping bandwagons and the push to ensure that great ideas are maintained over a period of time and not just one year wonders.

David Guerrero sml.jpgGuerrero (pictured left) has had a long history with the Tambuli Awards and witnessed it's growth over the past decade: "The Tambuli Awards were born of a long-standing tradition in the Philippine marketing community to encourage 'values-based' advertising. And thus became the first show globally (to my knowledge) to link the idea of 'social good' and 'effectiveness.'

"And while 10 years ago this focus seemed unusual, eccentric even,  it has been interesting to see the world come round to this way of thinking. Over the last decade the consensus has become clearer that we must deal with scarcer resources, abundant information and strict accountability. So brand owners are increasingly paying us to develop long-term, sustainable relationships with people. And if you can get to a level of creativity, effectiveness and good outcomes then you are offering clients sustainable profits and not just short term reward," said Guerrero.

He says this is precisely the kind of work that Tambuli seeks to recognise and because they are based in the Manila-based University of Asia and the Pacific they bring an academic objectivity to the process. 

"For the recognition of effectiveness, for example, they require fully written up papers to back up claim. This in turn helps attract top-level client interest. This year we saw the local heads of Nestle, Coca-cola, and Colgate join the discussions. As well as regional heads of Dentsu, JWT, McCann and OMD for example. As well as creative heads from Leo Burnett, BBH, JWT and Google. This leads to some interesting conversations on what genuinely constitutes 'effective' and some good consensus on what qualifies as 'creative'."

Both Cadell and Guerrero believe all networks and clients in the Asia Pacific region should look at entering work into Tambuli. Particularly they would like to see more work from Australia and New Zealand.

"The Unilevers, P&G's, Cokes, Mondelez and Nestles of the world are perennial winners at Tambuli," said Cadell. "They do great work and social good is firmly entrenched in their operational ethos. However, we should not the multinationals become overweight in the awards given. That means more entrants from local brands from across the region. This work certainly exists and is having a tremendous impact - but it is not being written-up or entered. As Tambuli goes into its second decade and their platform and power of it is more fully recognised, I am hopeful this will change."

Lifebuoy.jpgLIFEBUOY.jpgA consistent winner at Tambuli is Lifebuoy's "Help a Child reach 5" campaign out of India and Cadell believes Lifebuoy is a near perfect example of what Tambuli stands for.


"It is ultimately driven by Unilever's core beliefs of community value; the product benefit is perfectly suited to the platform of child mortality that it supports; this platform has clearly helped educate rural India and so saved countless lives through the benefits of handwashing; it has retained the platform across many years (and now many markets of the world) and it has done all this while driving its own business forward significantly," said Cadell.

"Frankly it would be good to see more work of all kinds entered here," agreed Guerrero. "Because it would mean that we are doing a better job on this front."

"This year 'Dumb Ways to Die' was uncontroversially named Best of the Decade ahead of Lifebuoy, Philippine Tourism, Smart Txtbooks, Liter of Light and Not a Bug Splat - which were all nominated in this category by the jury.

"Perennial winners Lifebuoy India have managed have established a long-term brand platform that continues to spread the word about hand-washing. Leading to its inclusion in the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. And it's this kind of long-term thinking that is the real reward to be gained by thinking this way."

Guerrero concluded by saying in an industry where taglines can change with every marketing director it's good to see long-term sustainable platforms build long-term sustainable relationships.

"And while short-term impact is vital it's good to raise our sights to think about the long-term effectiveness of the work we do".


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